Essays on individual vs. society

Individualism vs. Collectivism

Benedict combines cultural influences towards the individual and considered culture differences. Also, she brought in individual psychology and social construction. On the other hand, Emerson raised an important idea: self-reliance. He thinking every one of us is a genius and that we only need to trust ourselves.

Essays on individual vs society

The conflict between society and the individual is a theme portrayed throughout Twain's Huckleberry Finn. Huck was not raised in accord with the accepted ways of civilization. Huck faces many aspects of society , which makes him choose his own individuality over civilization. He practically raises himself, relying on instinct to guide him through life.

As portrayed several times in the novel, Huck chooses to follow his innate sense of right, yet he does not realize that his own instincts are more moral than those of society. I got into my old rags and my sugar hogshead again, and was free and satisfied" Twain, 2. Miss Watson lives with Huck and she is always picking at him, trying to make him become conventional. According to the essay, The Struggle to Find Oneself Huck has become so used to being free that he sees the Widow Douglas' protection solely in terms of confinement.

She doesn't let Huck smoke when he wants and she is always nagging.


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We get the An individual's role in society can vary with the number themes the characters exhibit. When there are signs of fate, cruelties, weaknesses, and desires for justice and catharsis the role of an individual becomes more complicated. In Antigone, most of those themes are shown thus a single person's influence or role on society is very small and complicated to attain.


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However in The Lottery the society has most of the control and there is not many signs of those characteristics so the role of a person is simplified because they are nothing compared to the society combined. Finally, in The Penalty of Death, there are signs of many of the themes but since it is the societies influence against that of an individuals , it is simplified because they have to work together. Out of the three readings, I believe that Antigone exhibits most of the characteristics that complicates an individual's role in society. There is a considerable amount of fate shown in this story.

For example, the most evident is that of our main character Antigone. Her fate is shown from the Prologue where she makes her decision to bury her brother Polyneices. Will you come? According to Protestant tradition, purgatory did not exist and any such spirit, even if it took the form of his beloved father, who claimed so were to be regarded with suspicion.

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Thus Hamlet responds to the command of revenge not in the form of immediate action, but in the form of decrying the corruption of individuals Roles of Individuals and Societies The early twentieth century marked a period of rapid industrial and technological change in a society which began to redefine the roles of the individual and society. Max Weber and Sigmund Freud were two revolutionary thinkers of the time who recognized the importance of this relationship and tried to determine whether the power balance between society and the individual was tilted in one particular direction or the other.

A world becoming an increasingly complex and restrictive forced these thinkers to ask themselves if society had indeed finally become a force too dynamic for the individual to manipulate; that if in fact it was society that had mastered the man. Although both thinkers provide radically different views of culture and society they are both essentially trying to answer the same question: does the individual control society or does society control the individual?

Aldous Huxley

The relevance of such an argument might first be debated, for one might first respond to this question with some doubt; surely we have control of ourselves, do we all not have control of our own faculties at this very moment? At this moment you are reading or being subjected to a reading of this paper, therefore if this indeed is not fufilling some Sign Up. The gossiping, ghostly voice of the town is left outside the premises of the house where the woman isolates herself. Her refusal to pay taxes as well as all her other whims and peculiarities are accepted by everyone without argument, merely because she is part of the upper, aristocratic social class.

When she dies however, the same community is shocked when they realize Miss Emily had entertained a perverse obsession during her secluded life, and had slept with the dead body of her former lover, whom she had poisoned herself. Therefore, Emily violates all the basic principles of her community, beginning with the laws of social interraction—she isolates herself and rejects all human contact- and continuing with tax evasion and even with the concealment of the corpse of her lover, Homer Barron in her own room.

She is therefore a murderer or in any case an obsessive or mad individual who nevertheless manages to evade social punishment. Through her, Faulkner draws a vivid portrait of madness and the way in which an individual manages to literary live out the most psychotic fancies in the middle of a normal small-town community.

By definition, madness is characterized as a serious deviation from the accepted human behavior. Without being openly irrational or incontrollable, Emily Grierson has a definitely obsessive mind which leads her to react against the laws of society. Her purposeful self-incarceration in her own house and her obvious withdrawal from the normal life of the community points to the conflict between the individual and society.

Emily revolts against social norms and chooses to live in her morbid dream instead. She prepares for a ritualistic marriage that she feels she cannot fulfill otherwise than through death. Her seclusion from society is also significant, as she withdraws in the safety of her own fantasy and rejects the assumption of a pre-established social role.

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The morbid gesture of violence that Emily performs is a poignant rejection of social conventions related to gender and marriage. However, her rejection of social existence does not point merely to the ongoing tension between individuality and community: Faulkner represents here the gap between the individual consciousness and the collective voice.

Although the impersonal narrator would seem to forbid psychological inquiry in the story, the voice of the community itself creates psychological tension.

Stress in Modern Society

The author emphasizes the obsessions that consume Emily as part of her response to social pressure. While the woman lives her obsession is silence and solitude, the society watches all her movements keenly and with undiminished interest.

Collectivism and Individualism

The most curious phenomenon in the text is actually her existence as an individual among the other ordinary people of the community, and the way in which she manages to evade the control of society over her own life. The community described here by Faulkner has a gossipy and even haunting voice that hovers over the household where Emily lives in complete isolation. As the story is told from the point of view of this inquisitive and restless community, the reader gets a glimpse of the way in which Emily Grierson moves quietly on, from one generation to another, closely watched by the members of her social environment.

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