“Too many people in the society conform to what the government says is right and moral, when the true meaning of right or moral comes from what each individual holds to be what is right” Henry David Thoreau. (Nina et al, 983)
In this quote, David Thoreau acknowledges there are many things in the contemporary society that can change the character of an individual. Notably, people do not question directives from the government regardless of the morality or the correctness of the issue at hand. Thoreau states that people should examine the morality of an issue depending on what they hold to be right.
Gary Ross’s 2012 American film The Hunger Games perfectly elaborates the meaning of non-conformity in popular culture. In the film, Katniss Everdeen, the main character does not conform to her society’s expectations. She faces a friend in a fight-to-the-death situation and refuses to conform to the rules that required the winning person to kill his/her opponent. Katniss and her friend later commit suicide rather than face death in the hands of the local authorities.
The film The Hunger Games shows teens faced with the scariest ever-death. However, the death threat does not cause the main character to conform. It is a classic example where someone defied the authorities and societal expectations to do the right thing.
“To believe your own thought, to believe that what is true for you in your private heart is true for all men, that is genius” Ralph Waldo Emerson (Nina, et al, 1112)
Emerson implied confidence in this quote. “To believe your own thought” is to have self-confidence. Further, a person should be confident enough to speak and act in accordance with the self-conviction of what they know to be the truth or the best way to act in some given circumstances.
This quote compares to the survival television series called Born Survivor: Bear Grylls. The series shows how Grylls is always left stranded in a remote place and he has to find his way back to civilization. He has to use his wits, trust that he is making the right decisions, and take bold steps in order to get to safety and civilization.
Absent the self-confidence and the conviction that his choices equal or surpass those of other people, Grylls would never find his way out of the jungles and hard terrains. As such, believing and acting on his thoughts causes Grylls to emerge from the hostile conditions as a genius.
“Simplicity, simplicity, simplicity! I say, let your affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand; instead of a million count half a dozen, and keep your accounts on your thumb nail.” David Thoreau (Nin et al, 1067).
In this quote, Thoreau urged people to avoid dealing with multitudes and large figures as this complicates matters. He urged people to concentrate on a few things at a time. As such, people will be in a position to monitor those things in a better manner as compared to those who engage themselves in many things.
Jay Z's Bonnie & Clyde lyrics "All I need in this life of sin is me and my girlfriend" are a perfect example of simplicity. The artists assert that having that once beloved person close to them is the most important thing in the world.
In the song, the artists dismiss the notion that happiness comes from having many people close to them or owning lots of properties. This song therefore, conforms to Thoreau’s advice that “affairs be as two or three, and not a hundred or a thousand”.
Nina Baym, et al, The Norton Anthology of American Literature (Eighth Edition) (Vol. Package 1: Vols. A & B). 2011. Print.