Throughout life there are sets of standards that people live by both socially and morally. In life people are given a choice to make their own decisions and deal with any consequences that come along with these decisions. There are three stories in the Longman Anthology World Literature that discuss a rejection of social standards. The first story is Candide by Voltaire, the second story is The Lady’s Dressing Room by Jonathan Swift, the third and final story is Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe.
Each of the stories listed above discuss a rejection of social standards of one type or another. Candide by Voltaire is a story in which Candide, a man, while in the army runs into a woman who dresses his wounds. This woman that he meets is named Cunegonde. This woman deals with things that in society that are considered a rejection of social standards. This woman endures things such as being a sex slave, she is raped, and she also endures cannibalism and enslavement.
In society such things as these are morally and ethically wrong and rejected by society and are punished. The Lady’s Dressing Room, a poem written by Jonathan Swift is a tale of a man in the dressing room of a woman. The man in this tale enters the dressing room of a woman while she is not in there and looks around looking at all of her belongings. The man discusses how a woman is unnatural in all of the powders, creams, perfumes and makeup a woman uses and how much time she puts into “making herself up. He believes that a woman who spends so much time getting ready and using so many different products makes her fake, so to speak. In his eyes people should be true themselves and not be something or someone that they are not. Socially this story of The Lady’s Dressing Room, is stating a woman and all people should not hide the things about themselves that make them who they are, from the wrinkles in their forehead to the powders to hide the “streams of water” coming from her under arms.
In today’s society most people wear deodorant, because socially it is not kind to go out in public smelling bad. In today’s society most women wear make-up, and dye their hair and go to a tanning booth to make their skin appear darker and it is not looked down upon. The Third story entitled Faust by Johann Wolfgang Goethe is about a man who goes through many hardships in his life and makes a deal with the Devil. This story has two issues that arise that are considered to be rejected by society not only in the time in which this story was written but in current society as well.
The first issue in this story that is seen as rejected by society is that the man in the story, also known as Faust, contemplates suicide. Suicide in society is looked at as a sign of weakness and an act that is selfish and is something that is deemed a tool of the Devil. Faust falls in love with and impregnates a woman named Gretchen. Gretchen has the baby and ends up drowning the baby and is convicted for murder. In today’s society this is looked down upon and heartbreaking. There are too many stories of woman, mothers, who go crazy and end up killing their children.
Children are seen as innocent people who are unable to defend themselves, to see that a person, especially a child’s own parent could do such a cruel and unusual punishment to such an innocent and defenseless human is unethical and is depleted of all morals. In previous works such as Shakespeare’s plays, suicide was something that was often used and looked at as a tragedy, much like it is seen today. Suicide and Murder although are tragic, happen every day and there is not much in the way of stopping it. In a traditional since woman will wear makeup and do their best to look and smell nice.
Woman are looked at as these beautiful and delicate creatures. Woman want to feel beautiful and turn heads as they walk into a room, and feel as comfortable in their skin even if that means dying their hair, changing the look of their clothes and making their features of their face pop out with different colors and tones. Cannibalism is something that people do not see or hear of much in society today. If a person were to hear a story on the news of cannibalism today, it would be a taboo subject and a topic that would be hard for many people swallow.
Rape is something that happens daily in the World along with sex trafficking and sex slaves. People understand that this is happening but have no idea where it is or how to stop it from continuing. Another issue in society today is slavery. People feel that slavery is a thing of the past, yet there are people who work for nothing or next to nothing because they are undocumented and want to make a better life for their families and have no choice but to work under such conditions because they must work and no one stops these crimes from occurring.
With time, many things change, but things also withstand the test of time, such as literary masterpieces. Crime will always be around, rapes will continue to happen, murder and suicide will also be an issue that people cannot control, therefore will not be able to disappear. The issues people read about both fiction and non-fiction, both present day and from ancient times remain issues that will be around for years to come.
People are able to enjoy stories all throughout time because they all of issues in them that relate to life that people live today. As a society people view specific subjects and issues as a taboo or these issues are rejected. Rape, Murder, Especially that of a child, cannibalism, slavery and suicide are all issues that fall under the category of a rejection of social standards. Although these issues are rejected and looked down upon there are so little that can be done to prevent these things from happening.