Ideas and Values Shape Who You Become in Society

Topics: Working class, Social class, Middle class Pages: 4 (1152 words) Published: November 29, 2014
Amanda Farmer


English 2

10/20/14 Ideas and Values Shape Who You Become in Society

Most people strive to have a good social standing and the ideas and values they hold on to can often influence their place in society. Society dictates which ideas and values will be accepted and which will be rejected. The values that stick with us the most are usually taught to us as children and help to influence who we become. In "Girl" and "Good People", the characters were raised to have religious values and to behave in a way that will make it easy for them to fit into their society. The main characters in these stories had their values imposed on them at a young age, and helped to shape who they've become and how they behave in society.

Religion is a cornerstone for the characters in both stories. They are taught what is acceptable in their religion, in this case Christianity, and realize certain actions could alienate them from their social groups. In "Girl", the girl is given specific instructions on how to behave, including "don't sing benna in Sunday school" (Kincaid, 120). She is taught that singing folk music on the Lord's day is improper, and even though she "doesn't sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school" (120), she is explicitly told a few times not to do it. There, it is important for her to be on her best behavior. On Sundays she is shown she must "try to walk like a lady and not the slut you are so bent on becoming" (120) because how she is perceived on Sundays can be detrimental to her public image. In "Good People" Lane A. Dean Jr and his girlfriend Sheri's values weigh heavily on their thoughts as they consider their options when making a momentous decision. The two are very religious and "they'd prayed on it and talked it through from every different angle" (Wallace, 152). They are worried about how their society will perceive them and if they are still good people if they go through with having an abortion and never...

Cited: Mays, Kelly J. ed. _The Norton Introduction to Literature._ Portable 11th ed.
New York: Norton, 2013. Print.
Kincaid, Jamaica. "Girl." Mays 119. Print.
Wallace, David Foster. "Good People." Mays 149. Print.
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