Essay on The Dangers of Conforming to Someone Else's Mind-Set

Essay on The Dangers of Conforming to Someone Else's Mind-Set

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Going along with someone’s beliefs is costly. When someone is open-minded, it is considered a positive investment in one’s growth. Removing one’s self from one’s ideas and way of life is another type of investment, one yielding high risk and little rewards. The incentive of being a part of something is very much worth the risk to many people. In the stories, “Just Walk on By” and “Happy Endings,” the tone is shared between Brent Staples and Mary B. who both conform to someone else’s mind-set for a sense of belonging.
Whether a healthy love life or acceptance amongst peers, almost everyone is capable of falling victim to a very familiar vibe: nurturance. Insert respect to the equation and being treated fairly without ridicule and prejudice becomes immediately significant in what individuals want for them. There is always a decision to be made in going after what one wants. The choice begins with a wager bearing unknown results. One essential item a majority of people consider; life without progress is one not worth living.
Mary gave in to John’s notion of faking a relationship for sexual gratification, when she was faking sexual enjoyment for a relationship. Mary invested her time and body into John, hoping she would be compensated with the title “Mrs.” Mary auditioned for the role tirelessly. She cooked whenever he came over, although he never showed any gratitude in return with an evening dinning out. Mary cleaned up after John while he slept, so he would be assured that she is not regarded as unkempt. This woman even kept herself unbelievably presentable when he wakes up the next morning, only to have him ignore her metamorphosis.
Mary grows emotionally fatigued from giving herself to a man that does not care. With an exc...

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..., yet agreeable tenor whenever pulled over by police. Brent also showcases his whistling talents with others during those late evening walks. He whistles numbers from Beethoven and Vivaldi, to alert others in the area that he is a safe, law-abiding, tax-paying citizen just like them.
Brent wanted to be looked at as plain and not menacing in his environment, so he adopted some irregular habits to fit in. He molded himself in the image of what others thought a safe black man should be. He conforms just like Mary B., but the major difference lies in Brent changing with his personal survival in mind. Mary B. was willing to do anything even if it cost her own life.

Works Cited
Atwood, Margaret. “Happy Endings.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. 11th ed. New York: Longman, 2010. 482-85. Print.

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