The idea of following societal norms and fitting in is a very universal concept that many people continuously feel the need to conform to. As Rick Warren, author of “What on Earth Am I Here For,” said, “Those who follow the crowd usually get lost in it. ” Unfortunately, society tends to criticize those who do not stick to the norms, but positive outcomes can be achieved when one chooses to defy them.
Although many examples of individuals breaking free of what society considers normal can easily purport the logistics of this idea, there are some considerable events where not doing what seems right has caused highly negative consequences.
In 2002, a man named Ariel Castro did something that completely goes against what any sane society would consider normal. He took 3 young girls, kept them hostage for 11 years, and did many sickening things to them that they will never be able to forget. In the end he was admittedly found guilty on 937 counts and wound up no longer living because he took his own life.
Kidnapping innocent people is not exactly accepted in society, so this was Riel’s way of breaking free. The girls involved in this case were negatively affected by his actions because they will never be able to get those 1 1 years of their life back. With the death of Castro, he and his family were, in a way, negatively affected by this event as well. Though it’s clear the outcome of this event was not a positive one, even history can back-up the idea that breaking free can be a good thing.
In 1955, an African American woman by the name of Rosa Parks broke free Just by riding a bus. In this time period, society believed that white people were superior to African American people, and that they had to ride in the back of city buses. Though many people back then felt that this was a degrading rule to follow, not many did anything about it, but Rosa did. When told by a white man to get up and go to the back of the bus, she Just simply sat there and did not move. She was asked again multiple times to move and she still stood her ground and remained put.
Eventually authorities were called on her and she was arrested. This simple task reparsed the boundaries that society then had set and began a revolution. Although Rosa was arrested and faced consequences for her actions, she gave courage to multiple people to stand for their beliefs and in the long run, they won. Rosa Parks’ action may not have been a direct line to integration, but it certainly was a key factor to that final, positive, outcome. Not only can history show occurrences of positive outcomes when breaking free, but literature can too.
In Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451 , Guy Montage secretly goes against his society by stashing books in a .NET at his house. This is considered very wrong and if anyone had found out, Montage would be punished; especially because he was an enforcer of this rule. Montage breaking the law proves to be positive for him because he gains more knowledge about how life used to be and because knowledge really is power, this helped him out in the long run. On a personal level, I have discovered that going along with the crowd won’t do anything for me.
In 5th grade, there was a girl at school who always insisted on having different people serve her every day; whether it as by sharpening her pencil or buying her lunch. She basically controlled our whole n grade class, Ana no one could stop near. Eventually I got taller AT near pushing everyone around and I knew others felt the same, so one day at lunch, we all banned together and refused to pay for her lunch. I know this feat seems very minimal, but in 5th grade, it seemed like a big accomplishment. After that, she realized that she could no longer control us, and she stopped.
She also ended up moving to Wisconsin, but I really don’t think it was because of that. By standing up to her, we did not have to deal with her overpowering ways anymore, and the greatly affected our class in a positive way. So, when bringing it back to Rick Warren’s quote, being lost in a crowd really won’t do much in life. Even if there are risks of consequences for breaking free of the norms, that should not stop anyone from doing it. As many people throughout history and literature have shown, sometimes breaking away from the natural flow of things will create very positive outcomes in the long run.
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