Finished Essay (2) - Status Quo

Finished Essay (2) - Status Quo - Jacob McMillen 2111...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Jacob McMillen 2111 English 1102 Status Quo Today’s society is about norms; it’s about following the crowd and not standing out in a way that is socially unacceptable. As a general rule, we do what we see others do. Why? Because it seems to work for them, so it must also work for us. Occasionally, mavericks arise who challenge the status quo and in course, change the norms. These individuals are often remembered by history as heroes. There are also, however, those who break the norms of everyday life for simple and positive things: people who bend the rules in order to be helpful. To some, this is humanity; this is what separates us from animals or machines. To others, this is cause for concern and even grounds for removal from society. The question becomes, “Is it better to be a maverick or to stick with the norms?” One piece of literature that deals with this issue is Oleanna by David Mamet. In this play we can see a theme that declares it is better for a well-meaning individual to stick to the norms of society because breaking those rules exposes him or her to unnecessary risk. The “individual” in Oleanna who is breaking the rules is John. John is a teacher, father, and husband who is in the process both of receiving tenure and buying a house. At the start of the play, he is approached by Carol, one of his students. Carol is apparently having trouble with the class. She says that the class is “difficult” and that she has trouble understanding “lots of the language” (Mamet 1252). At this point, John is playing the role of the unconcerned teacher who just wants to “get on with it” (1251). He dutifully informs Carol that he has “no desire other than to help her. But. ..” (1252). He is very occupied with the process of buying his house as we see from the extensive phone call which opens the play. Carol is somewhat of an inconvenience, and John is hoping to quickly send her on her way. When Carol repeatedly and frantically states, “I have to pass this course.” John replies that there are “certain arbitrary. ..certain institutional” policies that they both must follow (1253). He is sticking to
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
the norms, to that which is safe and institutional. There is no penalty for failing a student – it happens to thousands of students every semester – it's normal. This does not mean, in many cases, that it is necessary and unavoidable. In some cases, a teacher will go the extra mile to help a student, who perhaps has a unique way of learning, learn the material and pass the class. These teachers are the aforementioned mavericks, the caring individuals whose actions make an immeasurable difference in the lives of the individuals they help. Carol pleads “Teach me. Teach me.” She states, “There are people out there. People who came here. To know something they didn't know. Who came here. To be helped. To be helped. So someone would help them” (1254). And yet, John remains unmoved. He
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 7

Finished Essay (2) - Status Quo - Jacob McMillen 2111...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online