9 January 2014
Ideal in the Eyes of Society
Humans have constructed a society where perfection is idolized. Individuals attempt to reach this farfetched ideality yet they fail to acknowledge that it is not within arm’s reach. People, as civilized as they are, crave aspects of structure. The absence of set rules and guidelines leave the citizens of this world clueless. Expectations differ from culture to culture and that is what results in a diversity of norms, morals and desires. Cultural expectations influence the way the citizens of that society think, talk and act. In Douglas Coupland’s novel, Generation X, he uses a variety of diverse characters to represent different groups of people born in the time frame of the late 1950’s to the early 1960’s. The novel follows three main characters Andy, Dag and Claire who are experiencing hardship at this time in their lives. They all struggle to find themselves in a society that is constantly trying to mold them into a set perception of the “ideal” individual. To be yourself in a world is constantly trying to change you is the greatest accomplishment. Society places these unrealistic expectations on its citizens resulting in a loss of identity, fear towards the future and a string of obsessive actions.
Humans are unique because they acquire this unique ability to distinguish themselves from everybody else. Individuals use personal taste and creativity to form themselves. Since the beginning of time, society has managed to paint a picture of what the perfect individual is like in regards to beauty and success. As a result, people are motivated to strive for a lifestyle that fits society’s definition of beautiful or successful. However, as people are trying to be the ideal individual, they lose a sense of who they really are. In Coupland’s novel, Claire and Dag experience this for themselves. Dag is the ideal man who attends a post-secondary institute and receives a degree...
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