Prejudice in “Dry September”

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Writer and philosopher Joseph De Maistre once accurately portrays prejudice in society by saying that “false opinions are like false money, struck first of all by guilty men and thereafter circulated by honest people who perpetuate the crime without knowing what they are doing.” False opinions are dangerous because they spread like a disease among people. Prejudice is a sickness in the world that is difficult to prevent due to human nature of grouping against the others and the minorities, and it is often used as a manipulation tool to rule or act against certain groups of people. Moreover, it is extremely hard if not impossible to cure once the prejudicial ideas are introduced and circulated like false money in society.

According to the analytical essay “Causes of Prejudice” written by Vincent N. Parrillo, prejudice is the product of both sociological and psychological issues. Some sociologists have suggested that an individual is merely conforming to the social norms of one’s culture by “learning and automatically accepting the prevailing prejudices”(559). People naturally tend to trust the authorities, look for acceptance from the majority, and imitate each other purposefully or unconsciously. As a result, they hold on to their prejudicial ideas and even perform discrimination on other groups in order to fit the expectations of their society. In some psychologists’ perspective, prejudicial attitudes may arise from the feelings of frustration that is “the result of relative deprivation in which expectations remain unsatisfied”(553). A number of experiments have suggested connection between frustration in people and their aggression toward others. Oftentimes when the true source of frustration cannot be identified or opposed by the individuals, they tend to scapegoat others as an expression of dissatisfaction and anger.

The evil consequence of prejudice is the core message in William Faulkner’s short story “Dry September”. The incident in the story...
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