The Hitchhiking Game: Cultural Norms and Expectations

271 Words2 Pages
The short story “The Hitchhiking Game” by Milan Kundera focuses on a “game” in which a man and woman react to the cultural expectations of society. Both characters seem to rebel against the rules and expectations of society because of the worries about how their actions will be perceived. Due to these high expectations we see little hope for individual freedom for the characters. The lack of individual freedom can be specifically seen before the “game” with the shyness and modesty of the young man’s girlfriend. Both characters are looking for a way to express their individualism and resort to playing the “game.” Neither of the roles that the characters take is culturally accepted, but doesn’t completely restrict their individual freedom. The young man becomes highly disrespectful and enjoys the power of treating his girlfriend with little respect. On the other hand, the young woman plays the role of a promiscuous and confident person with little morals. Through the “game,” both characters are able to express who they want to be in a judgmental society. Ultimately, both characters change their personalities in their relationship and ends with the woman yearning acceptance of her new self with “I am me.” Unfortunately, their new actions are too extreme for each other. The man and woman should be able to explore these new personalities, but through culturally acceptable ways. Society sets high standards for the ideal male and female and affects those who lack self-awareness as seen in the short story. It is unfair for the characters to worry about conforming to the norms of society through a “game” to feel
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