• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Many important issues may be seen as varieties of the problem of the balance between the individual's freedom and rights and the stability and well-being of the group. Discuss this problem with reference to literature or topics studied.

Extracts from this document...


English Essay Paper 2, November 1997 Many important issues may be seen as varieties of the problem of the balance between the individual's freedom and rights and the stability and well-being of the group. Discuss this problem with reference to literature or topics studied. The problem of the balance between an individual's freedom and rights and the demands and claims of the group or bigger entity that the individual is part of, is pervasive in all different levels of society. It can be observed in the smaller unity of problems within the family, but as well in the relationship between state and individual. In two of the works I have studied, "All my Sons" by Arthur Miller and "Native Son" by Richard Wright, this problem is clearly expressed. In Richard Wright's "Native Son" the tension exists between Bigger Thomas, a black American in the Chicago of the 1930s and the society that surrounds him. He suffers from the suppression of blacks by the white majority in the USA, which does not give him the freedom to fully develop and realize his dreams. Instead, he is restricted by the society's expectations and the prescribed roles that everyone is supposed to fulfil. ...read more.


Richard Wright very effectively expresses the individual's inner conflict when trying to find a balance between the own prospects and goals and the society's expectations and restricting forces. In Bigger Thomas' case, this inner conflict expresses itself in a destructive and not acceptable way, but it brings the reader to reflect about the balance between individual and society that seems to be so difficult to achieve and about the kind of society in which such intense pressures are created. In his play "All my Sons", Arthur Miller takes a different approach on the topic. Here it is the individual's struggle with the family as a group that determines the course of events. As in "Native Son", the setting is the USA, but the happenings take place about 20 years after the Second World War. The main character Joe Keller has illegally sold cracked cylinder heads to the Air Force during the Second World War, which lead to the subsequent crashing of the planes equipped with those cylinder heads. Tragically, Joe Keller's own son Larry was among those pilots who died as a result. For twenty years, this has been hushed up in the family, the topic was not talked about, in order to preserve the obligatory harmony in the family. ...read more.


There are on the one hand the family members who have to surrender to the society's expectation of forming a perfect, harmonic family in which conflicts are not allowed, which prevents them from getting to know about the truth and their own past (as in the case of Chris). On the other hand there is the individual, represented by Joe Keller, who has to realize his liability towards his family, the community he lives in. In conclusion I can say that from the two works I have analysed here, it becomes clear that the struggle between the individual and the group can be the source of various problems, even as grave as murder as is the case in "Native Son". The position of the individual towards the group and its role in it have to be constantly redefined and cannot be conserved, as "All my Sons" shows, because even after 20 years, an underlying conflict will inevitably express itself. However, as Arthur Miller shows, the relation between individual and group is a mutual one, rather than one-sided. It is often easy to criticise the society for creating pressures on the individual that restrict its rights and freedoms - something which is certainly important. But one should not on the other hand forget the individual's responsibilities towards the community it is living in. 09/01/03 English A2 Higher Level ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Choose a group which faces barriers in terms of participation in sport and leisure ...

    Marxists tend to lend their support to Marxist feminists. They see 'hegemony' as a key reason for lack of women's provision. With regards to future developments, the way forward seems to indicate that changes are essential, essential for increasing women's participation levels in sport and leisure. If participation rates show an increase, more provision will be necessary.

  2. The 39 Steps: Richard Hannay as an individual in conflict with society

    He makes living in London sound dreary. Tired of sightseeing and with no real friends he described himself as "best bored man in the United Kingdom." The bleak image that is Hannay's life is highlighted in his description with the use of alliteration, which emphasises the word bored.

  1. The issues of ethnicity and race is so pervasive in our world that they ...

    Race as it is now is very general in its terms and not meant to take into account cross-racial relationships. If it did, then the census would have thousands of categories. But to say race isn't biological is to say that there are not different breeds of dogs or cats.

  2. 'Conservatives are more concerned with the Preservation of Stability and order than with Freedom' ...

    put it, is 'boundless and bottomless'. The concept of human imperfection is therefore a worry of conservatives, who see human imperfection as a great risk to a civilised and safe society. Human imperfection then becomes a greater problem and risk for the benefit of society if freedom is allowed to grow or to become overwhelming.

  1. From a reading of Hardy's short stories, discuss how Hardy brings out the aspects ...

    We can see the simple life the lower class were subjected to and the rough work the lower class were faced with, and this can be seen in the two quotes, 'It was an eighty - cow dairy, and the troop of milkers, regular and supplementary, were all at work',


    Determining the essential relationships quantitatively, however, requires ? great deal of data collection and statistical analysis that has yet to be undertaken for the social worker labor market. (Kevin, 1995) Demand Affect Firms and Workers Firms and workers are unable to quickly adjust real money wages to changes in aggregate demand.

  1. Lord Of The Flies

    Ralph says, "He's not Fatty, his real name's Piggy." Ralf means well but further embarrasses Piggy; there is more laughter, louder this time. To maintain social order, the children decide to select a leader using democracy, something which they have also learned during secondary socialisation. They vote to give somebody the higher status as leader.

  2. bloomsbury group

    Each member felt free as there were no adults correcting their behaviour. Each member of the Bloomsbury Group had had a better education, many of which were Cambridge Graduates which would involve them being educated in art and literature. Although today, the behaviour of the members in the Bloomsbury Group

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work