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How the Society’s Expectations Affect Individuality Essay

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Updated: Dec 29th, 2021


Man is defined as a social animal with complex characteristics that vary from one person to another. Also, people find themselves in different circumstances that prevail naturally. In today’s world, “class” is a major factor that has contributed to the expectations of society. In a bid to reach the peak of our endeavors, material things are paid more attention to (Butler 129).

In order to analyze this topic critically, this essay would be focused on how the expectations of society affect an individual’s lifestyle by imposing economic, educational, and behavioral demands on such an individual.

The detriments of such expectations are low self-esteem, unhappiness and false lifestyles.


Man as a social animal has adaptative qualities which enable him to adapt to any prevailing situation. People are classified or categorized as upper class, middle class, lower class, working-class and lower class. This classification push people to work extra hours, do odd jobs and indulge in anything just to meet up with society’s expectation of fitting into a particular class (Canter 213). In Williams Wordsworth’s poem, he states that “little we see in nature that is ours” (Wordsworth 111). This shows that people are more concerned about satisfying the demands of society than that of nature. In contrast to the concept that imprisonment was punishing people who wrong the society, today it is more of self-imprisonment than penalty imprisonment. This explains why a lot of people work extra hours; others have 2 to 3 jobs just to buy a dream house or a dream car. Others do odd jobs just to meet economic demands such as food, shelter and clothing. Amidst all of these, very few people derive satisfaction from their jobs, careers, or even marriages. Quoting from William Wordsworth’s poem, “for this, for everything we are out of tune” (Wordsworth 129). Also, quoting from another of Wordsworth’s poems, “getting and spending, we lay waste our powers” (Wordsworth 135) This depicts our characters of spending money on things that are of less importance to us simply because we want to meet up with the society’s expectations (Canter 226)

Society’s Expectation

The world is a global village and things move at an alarming speed. To catch up with the movement of things in this 21st century, individuals are pushed to the extreme point of breaking down where only the strong survive. In Sean Penn’s movie titled “Into the wild”, emphasis is on the importance of feeling strong rather than being strong instead. It is also shown in the same movie that, in other to meet up with society’s expectations of fame and money-making, lies have become the other of the day in place of truth (Butler 156)

Economic Demands

Economically, man has insatiable wants but the means to satisfy these endless needs are very limited. This simply means that human beings have numerous desires, wants and needs but the financial muscle to solve these numerous problems is limited (Butler 176). This brings to mind the issue of placing one’s needs in order of importance. “Scale of preference”. Another quote from Sean Penn’s movie is about how easy life would have been if human lives were ruled by reasoning. This literally means if human lives were guided by a good sense of reasoning, people will not bother to indulge in certain things. It is a fact that despite all our efforts to meet up our economic demands, we are always a step behind. The fact that every individual has an economic need that is not solved proves this truth beyond a reasonable doubt. From working odd jobs, to extra hours at work and taking up to 2 or 3 jobs a time, every step we go up the ladder of success comes, with more economic problems which are never solved until people die (Butler 207). Society expects an individual to work hard in order to get promoted from an ordinary sales representative to a marketing manager. However, the same society expects the same individual to buy a better car, house and clothes to match the new status of a manager. In this pattern, these economic demands which society expects of an individual keep increasing from one item to another. In most cases, these demands continue to rise throughout a person’s life if bold steps are not taken towards correction (Canter 312)

Behavior Demands

Having personality simply means having bold self-esteem. This can be noticed in the confidence an individual has in himself or herself. A quote from William Wordsworth’s poem explains how humans have looks that make them look forlorn (Wordsworth 315). Deep unhappiness is found in many individuals who try to meet up the expectations of society. Given that our today’s world is indeed a very competitive one, too much s usually expected from people and this is encouraged by society. Another vital factor is cultural reasons which the society expects people to adhere strictly to in spite of how they feel about it. Setting unattainable goals for individuals and imposing these goals on an individual rather than encouraging him or her to attain these goals, only takes away the confidence of such an individual (Canter 320)

Educational Demands

Learning is a constant and continuous part of human life. A human being never stops learning until he or she dies. Also, due to the difference in individuality, people learn through different methods like painting, music, verbal lessons and written notes (Butler 333). Yet in spite of these varied learning styles, many schools around the world have uniformity of teaching. This practice shows why some students, pupils understand what is been taught faster than others. Still, the expectation of society is that every child should be in school regardless of the fact that some students fail to learn or properly understand what is been taught due to the method used. This explains why a lot of people are educated but only a few are learned.


Living life goes beyond trying to meet up the expectations of a particular group of people. Life is more about expressing and discovering an individual’s true identity rather than living life for others. Conforming people to a particular lifestyle only hampers the growth of true happiness in such people’s lives. With the difference in cultural and educational background, the question of freedom for people or individuals to gain new experiences should be addressed (Canter 387). This is quoted in Sean Penn’s movie.” The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences”.

Works Cited

Butler, Dunn. “Dynamics of the Society”: Cultural Styles: New York; Agathon press 2001. Print.

Canter, Elkind. “Comprehensive multicultural Education”: Theory and Practice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2002. Print.

Wordsworth, Williams. “The world is too much with us”: Late and Soon. Cambridge: Cambridge University press. 2007. Print.

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