Deviance and Conformity

Between Deviance and Conformity
In a contemporary American society, which is one of world’s most developed and democratic societies, people are used to openly address the social issue and freely make arguments against the government’s decision or policy. It became social norms to claim one’s rights and explicitly criticize the authority’s unjust rules by virtue of media. On the other hand, during the Victorian and Renaissance era, due to lack of media development and the strict social hierarchy, people were oblivious to such provocative actions. In other words, people at that time were expected to conform rather than rebel against the authorities. For instance, Juliet from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and Jean Muir from Louisa May Alcott’s Behind a Mask well illustrate such confined situation where the oppressed do not realize that they have choice to oppose against the authoritative figure. Contrarily, Martin Luther King Jr. sets an idealistic model of the successful rebellion since he was aware of the need to compromise by communicating and understanding the opposing side’s perspective. As Kai T. Erikson argued, “the deviant and the conformist are creatures of the same culture” (21). In short, to realize the social change, deviants should try to convince the authorities and other conformists by compromising with them, instead of responding with aggression such as deception and suicides. Although it seems anachronistic to analyze Jean and Juliet’s deviant actions from my standpoint due to completely differing social environment, both characters do display the characteristics of conformity and rebellion.
Juliet and Jean both have characteristics of rebellion and conformity but they in fact cannot be a successful rebellion to lead a social change. First of all, Juliet can be a deviant as her opposition against her father is entirely unconventional in a patriarchal society while she is also a conformist who recognizes the supremacy of such unjust...