Express Yourself, but Don't

Topics: Individual, Person, Sociology Pages: 3 (959 words) Published: February 27, 2013
Express Yourself, But Don’t
As human beings we all feel the need to express ourselves. Each one of us desires the ability to act as individuals, pursuing our own endeavors that lead our lives in different directions. No matter where we choose to take our lives, there will always be people who have differing opinions. How one man’s right way to expresses himself can be the wrong way to another. No one person can determine whether the means to express oneself is the right or wrong way. Society has the power to decide if an individual should not be expressing themselves. This appears to be a detriment to these individuals; however it is a benefit to these individuals as a whole.

The author, John Updike dives into the issue of expressing oneself in his short story “A&P.” Updike has a straight shot of the issue through sexuality; how it can be appealing, or out of line. Updike manifests society’s standards and what happens when they are disrupted. The way people dress can be a means to express their individuality, but if they do not coincide with the societal standard it will not be accepted.

Societies have their own way of working themselves out. They are made by the people who live in them; they should be a representation of all of the people. However societal standards are enforced by the majority. As long as your expression of individuality fits in with these standards, you are free to express yourself. The unspoken permission from society to express yourself comes with the expression fitting in with the majority’s view. Updike writes, “the girls were walking against the usual traffic (not that we have one-way signs or anything)” symbolizing that the girls were already going against the majority’s flow (Updike 386). This introduces the thought of societal norm, and brings attention to how it is being broken. When the standard is broken people will react, causing the expression to vanish.

Usually when people are expressing themselves they want it to be...
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