Realisms View On Reputations Essay

965 words - 4 pages

Realists believed that the reputation took too great a role in society. The reputation was held to be the deciding factor of a person's social status and this placed tremendous pressure upon the people. Bret Harte believed that the reputation of a person, if not viewed favorably, was a reason for a person to be removed from society. This removal was based solely upon the reputation that the person had and how it reflected upon the town. Ambrose Bierce believed that in order for one to retain a good reputation, a person would make rash decisions and would take actions that in the norm the person would not do. Stephen Crane believed, like Ambrose Bierce, that a reputation could have a negative effect upon the person and lead to decisions that would normally be frowned upon. Realists applied their beliefs to the masses as well as the individual. They viewed the reputation to be one of the major causes of the Civil War.Reputations played a great role in society. They were the deciding factor in one's social status. The reputation was decided solely based upon on what others thought of you. The decision could not be reversed. The society often looked for a scapegoat upon which to blame societal problems. The scapegoat was often one that harmed the people (i.e., a gambler). The need for a good reputation placed a considerable amount of pressure on a person to achieve social perfection in fear of receiving an unfavorable reputation.The fear of an unfavorable reputation often led to the making of rash decisions. These decisions could lead to death or near death experiences. In Mystery of Heroism, Stephen Crane depicts a young man looking to earn the reputation of a brave youth. He has, however, been cursed with the reputation of a coward. His comrades on the battlefield jeer and mock him when he is complaining about an unquenchable thirst. In order to gain a favorable reputation, Fred, the youth, makes a reckless decision to go out onto the battlefield in search of water to slake his thirst. Once on the battlefield, Fred realizes his mistake and is trapped into making even more rash decisions. When passing a dying officer, Fred, who would have normally stopped and given the man water, ran past because he had "no room amid his emotions for surprise." Only after he had made his decision did Fred turn back. This was a near death experience caused by rash decisions. The need for these decisions was only caused by the desire for a favorable reputation.This desire for a favorable reputation could be a precursor to death as well. In many cases a society would reject those without a favorable reputation and deem them outcasts. They would be removed from the town and distanced so that the town would no longer be susceptible to the evil...

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