Conformity and Rebellion Comparison Essay by Neatwriter

Conformity and Rebellion
This paper discusses the concepts of conformity and rebellion in works by Amy Tan, Martin Luther King Jr., Herman Melville and Shirley Jackson.
# 61110 | 1,250 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2005 | US
Published on Sep 19, 2005 in Literature (American) , English (Comparison) , Literature (Comparative Literature)

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This paper explains that the dilemma of conformity vs. rebellion is common in both life and literature as demonstrated by Amy Tan's "Two Kinds", Martin Luther King's "Letter from Birmingham Jail", Herman Melville's "Bartleby the Scrivener" and Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". The author points out that rebellion may be not only personal as Amy Tan writes but also societal, as Martin Luther King wrote while imprisoned in the Birmingham, Alabama jail in 1963 for leading a civil rights protest seeking equal rights for African-Americans. The paper concludes that all four pieces illustrate that rebellion -- personal or societal -- is integral to the human condition; moreover, rebellion has its risks, benefits, drawbacks and rewards, based on time, place and circumstance.

From the Paper:

"In Amy Tan's story "Two Kinds" (424-32), Jing-mei's Chinese mother wishes for her to conform to her own high standards of persistence and achievement in music, though Jing-mei lacks motivation. Her mother: "believed you could be anything you wanted to be in America" (424). If Jing-mei is "Not the best" it is "Because you not trying'" (426). Jing-mei's mother decides, since anything is possible in America, her daughter will become a child prodigy. Seeing a Chinese girl playing piano on the Ed Sullivan Show, she determines that Jing-mei will become a piano prodigy."

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"Conformity and Rebellion" 19 September 2005. Web. 08 December. 2023. <>