Essay about Community Forging

Essay about Community Forging

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A need for both socialization and a sense of identity forge tight community bonds that many maintain throughout their life. Their life may center on religion, race, or even which socioeconomic class he or she falls in. Communities reflect these aspects by grouping individuals in similar situations and beliefs together. Pang-Mei Natasha Chang’s Bound Feet & Western Dress expresses the importance of tradition and culture in community identification by detailing the life of the traditional Chang Yu-i and her relationship with a westernized Hsu Chih-mo. Susanna Kaysen depicts her personal struggles with finding the community that she belongs to in Girl, Interrupted. Both Yu-i and Kaysen learn that community is not assigned, rather it is chosen by a self motivated individual wanting inclusion.
A community is comprised of a group of goal oriented individuals with similar beliefs and expectations. Currently the term is used interchangeably with society, the town one lives in and even religion. A less shallow interpretation suggests that community embodies a lifestyle unique to its members. Similarities within the group establish bonds along with ideals, values, and strength in numbers unknown to an individual. Ideals and values ultimately impose the culture that the constituents abide by. By becoming part of a community, socialization and safety increase. Discussion replaces debate when two members with similar mindset communicate. With time, trust grows within the community and gaps slowly expand with the outside. The divide, whether it is values in Yu-i’s case or sanity in Kaysen’s past, create communities that oppose and often come in conflict with another. Kaysen’s opposing communities are the sane and the mentally...


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...d a western sense of identity. Once Yu-i notices the dilemma, she understands that identity and the community you belong to are not decided by others like the bound feet, rather they are an embodiment of self image.
Kaysen shows that it is impossible to change identity by revealing Daisy’s past and attempt at escaping her old mentally ill community. At the ward Daisy is given special treatment and often tries to exclude herself from the mentally ill even though she is part of the community. When she gets out for the final time and moves into an apartment, the stress of joining a new community leads her to her suicide. Daisy, although in a depressive state, finds that simply changing community doesn’t change the fact that a new identity is unattainable. The goal of building a community should be to maintain culture and not simply to oppose another community.

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