Civil Disobediently Breaking a Social Norm

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Social norms are defined as societal expectations. Society expects millions of little things in life, whether people are aware of this or not. A main contributor to these social courtesies is the norm of keeping to oneself in an elevator. It is peculiar that society expects a person to keep to himself when in such an intimate space with another. This social expectation is crucial to break because society should be encouraging people to be friendly when around strangers, not the opposite. In Thoreau's essay, “Civil Disobedience”, Thoreau exemplifies the ideas Emerson explains in his own essay “Self-Reliance”; therefore suggesting that Emerson would agree with the arguments of Thoreau. Through out the essays of Thoreau and Emerson, they both reiterate the same ideas, yet Thoreau furthers the arguments with an action, implying that the two men would agree with each other. In, “Self Reliance,” Emerson states, “The harm of the improved machinery may compensate its good” (16). The “harm” Emerson speaks of is that society, with machines, will no longer with self-sufficient. As “improved machinery” progresses people will become more reliant on the machines, rather than themselves. The “good” of machinery is the efficiency of it. Yet, when it comes to efficiency versus self-sufficiency, self-sufficiency triumphs. This is because Transcendentalists believe the only way to find peace is by being self- reliant. This opinion is repeated in Thoreau’s, “Civil Disobedience Part 1”: “All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counterbalance the evil… I say, let us not have such a machine any longer” (4). The “friction” Thoreau talks of represents the lack of self-manning that becomes present in society when machines are brought in. This would be an important issue to Transcendentalists as self-manning is key to living life. When the author voices his
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