Essay about `` Shut Up, I Can 't Hear You, By Tom Vanderbilt

Essay about `` Shut Up, I Can 't Hear You, By Tom Vanderbilt

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In a large college lecture hall, the level of anonymity of students is seemingly in accordance with their physical distance from the professor. The students that sit in the front rows establish their identities as academically driven while those who sit in the last row are seen as unmotivated. By choosing to sit in the back of the class, the students submerge themselves in obscurity; wholly secluding themselves from the classroom community. (line explaining what this means)). In “Shut Up, I Can’t Hear You…,” Tom Vanderbilt delves into a common phenomenon of traffic and explores the influence that anonymity, the condition of being nameless or unidentified, has over identity, the sense of self. Extending his argument to everyday life, anonymity contributes to identity both positively by creating opportunities for self-expression without social constraints and negatively by the lack of intimate relationships with others and by invoking aggressiveness.
Often people are bounded by the expectations that society holds for them. Even if following the social norms means changing their values and behaviors, which make up their identities, they are likely to be influenced by their surroundings rather than their own judgments. Tom Vanderbilt is well aware of the power of public eyes over individuals. He examines that cars become safe havens where people can truly be themselves with freedom from the shackles of social expectations. He states that “because we feel that no one is watching, or that no one we know will see us, the inside of the car itself becomes a useful place for self-expression” (Vanderbilt 491), explaining the difference in people’s behaviors in public and private space. When unseen, people take actions that they would normal...


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...accepted right of young adults of making mistakes all due to his recognition.
Hulk is an exemplary model of possessing a supernatural ability that is both a source of power and a curse. Normally a regular man, Hulk becomes destructive when his anger consumes him. With his immense strength, he can defeat his enemies and establish himself as a hero, but loses his real identity as an ordinary human being to its superpower. Similarly, anonymity is such a superpower that reaps two opposite results. With it, people can exercise their identities through unhindered self-expression. At the same time, however, people can be excluded from developing their identities due to lack of socialization with others and become injurious while overwhelmed by the sense of invisibility. As Tom Vanderbilt states, “Anonymity…acts as a powerful drug, with several curious side effects” (491).

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