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You Can’t Change The World Essay

1759 words - 8 pages

Countless individuals in American history have noticed flaws in society and decided not conform to social norms. In order to remain nonconformists, these individuals face pressures of society. Thus, single persons to remain nonconformists and create because society kills their individualism. This idea that one person cannot win a battle against society is ingrained in the foundation of America. The strength of the American societal mob is the major reason for the rarity of rapid social change. When individuals refuse to conform to social norms, society forces them to change.
Throughout history of American literature, the protagonist is often a character that refuses to conform to certain flawed aspects of society. For instance, in Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger Holden lives his life differently than many of his peers. Holden refuses to give effort in school and is “failing in five classes”(Salinger 13). When his English teacher attempts to guide him, Holden says that his teacher “wouldn’t understand” that the reason for his lagging work ethic was the fact that all of his peers “were phonies” (Salinger 13). Since he believes that everyone has a poor character, Holden refuses to excel in his classes. Holden shuts out any guidance from his teacher because he does not want to conform to the character of his peers in the institution. Similarly, Hester Prynne, from The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, acts as “an offender” against the “Puritanical code of law” (Hawthorne 79). Following her passionate sentiments, Hester does not abide religious codes that govern the society. She commits the crime of adultery acting against the laws in the small puritan village. On a more passive level, Nick Carraway, from The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald, rises above the materialistic nature of the people during prohibition. Nick always makes sure to “remember that all the people in this world” do not have “all the advantages” and therefore, he feels “inclined to reserve all judgements” (Fitzgerald 1). Nick Caraway, notices the immoral character of many people in New York and passively non conforms by keeping an open mind and trying not to judge others. His open mindedness and down to earth personality makes him different than every person residing in the money-driven neighborhoods. During the prelude to the civil war, John Brown, a white radical abolitionist is considered crazy by many United States citizens. Brown sees the hypocrisy in the fact that “Americans sanction slavery and yet proclaim their [country] the freest and most enlightened” (Oates 330). After attempting to abolish slavery through peaceful movement, Brown realizes “The only way to destroy this hellish institution was to annihilate in by revolutionary violence” (330). He refuses to allow the unfair treatment of African Americans and takes his views a step further than other peaceful abolitionists. John Brown choses not to conform to social norms and protests the injustice in a...

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