Teen Conformity in Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt and in Society Today Essay

Teen Conformity in Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt and in Society Today Essay

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Teen Conformity in Babbitt and in Society Today

 
   In society today, people feel the need to belong. They feel as though they have to be a part of something in order to feel special. At times, they will go so far as to lose their individuality and submit themselves into complete ignorance just to be able to know that there is someone or something to which they can always fall back on. Conformity is one of the most common and most apparent forms of Babbittry in the twenty - first century. First, the question must be answered: "What is conformity?" The answer, of course, is very simple. Conformity is a person changing their attitude or behavior on their own in order to fulfill certain social norms (Ferguson). Conforming to social norms can mainly be seen in peer pressure with adolescents. "Peer pressure is the influence that people in your age group exert on you." (Kowalski 6). Every day on television, there are advertisements for cars, beauty products, music, and clothes. Peer pressure can also be seen with drug use, types of music, clothes, and the list goes on. People feel as though if they give into these peer pressures, then all of their problems will simply go away. They will no longer be picked on for listening to the wrong music or wearing the wrong clothes. It is certainly much easier than resistance (Ferguson). This of course would result in confrontation and leads to isolation.

 

The novel Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis certainly demonstrated the need for an individual to conform to social norms. The main character's son, Theodore Roosevelt Babbitt, or Ted, accurately represents how teenagers conform in order to feel a part of something. Ted often demonstrates the need to be different tha...


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    Current Health, A Weekly Reader Publication Sep. 1999: 6.

Lewis, Sinclair. Babbitt. 1922. New York: Signet Classics, 1998.

Maxwell, Kimberly A. "Friends: The Role of Peer Influence Across Adolescent Risk Behaviors."

    Journal of Youth and Adolescence Aug. 2002: 267 - 311.

Rhoads, Kelton. (1997). "What Can Social Influence Do?"

    Working Psychology Website. Retrieved November 8, 2002: http://www.workingpsychology.com/whatcan.html

Wesley, Valerie W., et al. "Raising Kids Strong; A Guide to Giving Children Values They can Lean On."

    Essence Dec. 1989: 73 - 76.

 

"Who's Cool in School?: Athletes, Cheerleaders on Top; "Dorks" are a Social Flop."   (1996, September 20). University

    of Virginia News. Retrieved November 22, 2002:

    http://www.virginia.edu/topnews/textonlyarchive/September_1996/nerd.txt

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