“Breaking Free” from Society’s Constrictions

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Disney Channel Movies: the baseball player who also enjoys cooking but is afraid of what his father will think; the boxer who likes to Double Dutch and cannot decide on doing what he loves or doing what his father loves; the basketball player who wants to be more than “just Troy, the basketball guy.” The list is never-ending. Obviously, Disney has spent millions of dollars creating essentially the same films, stressing the importance of being true to one’s own self. Contrary to Disney’s efforts today, the 1900s were all about abundant jobs that required no personalization, particular skill, or quality––mainly a result of Henry Ford’s modern assembly line. One person’s job may have consisted of tightening a screw and that only; clearly, his (or rarely her) position at said factory was not secure as anyone is able to perform such mindless work. The workers did not display any outward personality, as their jobs did not require any input; they were merely a work force. Robert Frost’s “Out, Out––,” W.H. Auden’s “The Unknown Citizen,” and e.e. cumming’s “anyone lived in a pretty how town” are collectively cohesive by addressing and exploiting the isolated incognito experience of mankind.

Frost’s “Out, Out––” summons a very somber attitude towards the value of an individual’s worth. The main character, while destroying life, ultimately destroys himself when he accidentally lops his hand off––a result of his sister announcing “supper” (the final meal of the day) at the “sunset” of his existence. The “life...spilling” causes him to die, yet, though he is the protagonist, his family turns back “to their [own] affairs” because they are “not the one dead.” Death normally causes grief within a family, but here, Frost states that death is an inevitable portion of life’s droning cycle. His view on life seems almost reminiscent of a totalitarian government where the individual does not matter. Perhaps, Frost is even referencing the disposability of humankind...
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