Polished Personal: Can’t be Late

What do these texts suggest about the conflict between pursuing a personal desire and choosing to conform?

In many people’s lives, being able to balance your way of life compared to those around you is almost impossible. This is mainly due to the extreme external forces that we all face such as social media, family, or religion. Yet rare individuals don’t fall through the cracks as easily, but rather build bridges for those to look upon proving conforming isn’t the only way. This main idea is clearly shown throughout the short story The Orchid Thief by Susan Orlean. The audience is introduced to John Laroche, an ambitious, outgoing, but lazy individual who tries to accomplish many of his goals in life through what many would call unorthodox. Even though many of these schemes may never come into fruition, Laroche firmly sticks by them. Susan states “He loves doing things the hard way, especially if it means that he gets to do what he want to do but also gets to leave everyone else wondering how he managed to get away with it.” This quote further reaffirms the actions taken by Laroche to keep pursuing his own personal interests.  However, this quote also gives the reader insight that left people “…wondering how he managed to get away with it.” This means the people want Laroche to pay for what he has done, and own up to his mistakes of following his own path. Given that the general population wants to stay true to its roots, and hold a status quo without any interruption. Thus the silent conflict begins as the people begin to alienate Laroche. They call him “Troublemaker,” or “Crazy White Man.” All of these discriminatory acts to break the ideals he holds dearly. This conflict still follows Laroche as we later find out about the newspaper article. However, even after all of that Laroche perseveres through it all. Almost a like a standing light for those who need a path to follow.

Directly into my life, I see the general population of this story as a mirror of my parents. They have always planned a lot out for me, making sure that I would follow it to the tee. However, in the coming years of my graduation I began to question many long standing rules my parents have kept on top of me for years. Of course in the ensuing conflict both parties took to the extremes, and went their separate ways. Almost a year later the subject of change was brought up again, but at a lesser extent as the first time around. Sacrifices were made on both sides, but there was a sense of coexistence between two extremes that many people believed could never live in harmony. In all of these years I have come to realize that even though there are very large gaps between being able to choose your own path versus following the guided road, that the only way to end such large gaps is to build bridges between them. Each side comes together at the center, and allowing people to choose rather. This allows for a shaky balance, but nonetheless a fair balance. Today I have been able to choose what university I would like to go to, which course I want follow, and having 100% support from my parents.

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