Obey Essay

959 words - 4 pages

I used Kurt Vonnegut's "Harrison Bergeron" and Etheridge Knight's "Hard Rock..." to exemplify how society standardizes all cultures to fit what just the "majority" deems acceptable and the price that is payed when people stand up for their individuality. Two other essays are cited as support.ObeyLaw, whether divine law or governmental, is needed in human society if order and structure are to be kept. In democratic America, the majority rules. Therefore, it has the power to standardize any belief. Those in the minority often slowly convert to the majority's opinion, because refusal can mean punishment or death. For some, that is not a large price to pay in exchange for personal freedom. But some refuse to make that exchange, so they rebel, and occasionally the beliefs of these rebellious individuals are recognized as right and become accepted. These then become the people we celebrate historically because of their courage. But more commonly they are considered dangerous to society and are disposed of. Etheridge Knight's poem "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane" and Kurt Vonnegut's short story "Harrison Bergeron " exemplify the extent of punishment when individuals stand up and declare their freedom.It is hard enough for a government to maintain control over all when it is right, but when it is wrong it usually has to resort to brute force to quell rebellion. Etheridge Knight exemplifies this in his poem "Hard Rock Returns to Prison from the Hospital for the Criminal Insane". Hard Rock is a black inmate in a racist and brutal prison. Before he was taken away, he had had to battle daily against the prison guards as well as his fellowWallace 2inmates "and he had the scars to prove it" (Knight 1). Hard Rock never allowed anyonebut himself to control his life, and refused to "accept the corrupt structure and regulations of his 'community'"(Nimroy). Therefore, he had become "a hero to those who would not 'take a stand'"(Nimroy), and who had long ago yielded to the authority of the prison and its guards. Though Hard Rock was imprisoned, he was "his own person-a free man"(Nimroy). But Hard Rock is used as an example to his fellow inmates, who had looked to him as inspiration. "[T]he doctors had bored a hole in his head, / Cut out part of his brain, and shot electricity/ through the rest" (Knight 8-10) as punishment for his insubordination. In this way, the inmates were given a warning against nonconformity. Hard Rock, who was once the inmate's messiah, was now just a shell of a man, with "eyes empty"(Knight 28).Equality can never exist if only a majority of the population sets the paradigm. True equality is impossible because no one set of standards can ever fulfill every individual's wants and needs. In his short story, "Harrison Bergeron", Kurt "Vonnegut makes a great point of where our society is going if people do not just realize that there [is] bias in the world"...

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