Individuality In The Minister's Black Veil

902 Words4 Pages
Everyone says it. Your mom, your teachers, even your friends. Everyone encourages you to just be yourself, but if you think about how individuals are shunned, does anyone actually want you to be different? While society claims to encourage individuality, in reality it compels people to conform, causing most people to sacrifice their individuality to fit in.
Everybody is unique in their own way, but society tries to make clones of people to cover up their differences. In “The Minister’s Black Veil,” Mr. Hooper, a parson, decides to wear a black veil. His wife Elizabeth exclaims, “‘...there may be whispers, that you hide your face under the consciousness of secret sin. For the sake of your holy office, do away with this scandal!’” (Hawthorne
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Emily Dickinson’s “The Soul selects her own Society” is about how we choose our friends and influences. We can ignore society when it comes knocking on our door: “Unmoved-she notes the chariots-pausing- / At her low Gate- / Unmoved- an Emperor be kneeling” (Dickinson lines 5-7). Emily Dickinson tends to write about radical ideas, such as being a nonconformist in society. In these few lines, she talks about how society will try to get you to conform, but you have the choice to ignore them. There are very few non-conformists in society, since most people submit to the pressure of society. Society claims to encourage everybody to be unique, but then it wants everybody to share the same beliefs, trading their individuality for acceptance. In the poem “Song of the Open Road” by Walt Whitman, he warns against society: “You shall not allow the hold of those who spread their reach’d hands toward you” (Whitman line 148). Whitman is talking about how society is trying to get you to conform to them and how you shouldn’t let society determine your opinions. The majority of the poem has a very carefree tone about how joyous life is, but it becomes darker when he brings up society and its influence on individuals. Whitman uses this shift in tone to emphasize the positivity of individuals, which is a stark contrast to his tone when he brings up society’s hold on you. Whitman stresses the importance of remaining an individual despite society’s constant pressure to
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