Essay on control in literature

Submitted By lindsayleskanic
Words: 842
Pages: 4

Control in Society
Everyday that we wake up we have the ability to decide what we say and how we act; nobody has the power to decide for us. However how much control does an individual truly have over his or her own life? Freedom and individuality is often shaped by outside forces, which attempt to control and pressure us to fit in. The pressures of society and the expectations of others alter our perception of our lives and change the decisions we make. The control of others is portrayed in literature including “A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen, and “The Stranger” by Albert Camus; and is seen in everyday life as portrayed in David A. Wolfe’s journal of research “Observations of Adolescent Peer Group Interactions”. Control is present in every aspect of our lives, and is regularly dependent on society and on others. In the world we live in today, expectations of both men and women are higher than ever. Society expects everybody to fit perfectly into the stereotypes they are given. Men are required to support their wives, and families, and be able to provide whatever they need. As a result, they often make decisions in hopes of living up to the expectations others have of them. In “A Doll House” by Henrik Ibsen, both Torvald Helmer and his wife’s decisions are based on expectations. Helmer works hard, even after he is hurt, to provide for his family, but would never sacrifice his place in society. He says, “would gladly work night and day for you, Nora— bear sorrow and want for your sake. But no man would sacrifice his honor for the one he loves” (Ibsen 78). Nora also has to think about her decisions based on the pressures put on women to listen to their husbands. When she borrows money to help cure her sick husband, Mrs. Linde tells her “a wife can’t borrow money without her husband’s consent” (Ibsen 53). The amount of control both Nora and Torvald have over their own lives and their own decisions is altered by societal pressures and what is expected from both men and women. Control comes in many different shapes and forms, but the amount of control one has over his or her own life often depends on the people that surround them. In “The Fat Girl” by Andres Dubus, Louise’s eating habits and choices are controlled by her roommates and friends in both high school and college. Louise describes her friends in high school as “thin, gangling, and flat-chested” (Dubus 303) as compared to Louise who was “destined to be fat” (Dubus 304). Louise refuses to eat in front of her friends, for fear of not fitting in or embarrassing herself. Later, Louise’s college roommate also influences her decisions regarding her weight, as she doesn’t act like herself or eat anything she wants in front of her roommate. Along with in literature, in life most people’s decisions are affected by their peers. As demonstrated in the article “Observations of Adolescent Peer Group Interactions”, ones popularity and status among others determine the amount of control they feel they have. It explains, “More popular youth engage in bullying behaviors, the associated and negative social outcomes.” (Ellis, Observations of Adolescent Peer Group Interactions). Someone can have control over another…