Essay about Cultural Expectations in a Selection of Texts

558 Words3 Pages
In every society that I know of, there are cultural expectations. Literature tends to follow the same expectations. We have had quite a few stories in this class where we focused on cultural expectations. Rip in "Rip Van Winkle," Editha and George in "Editha and Major Molineux in "My Kinsman, Major Molineux" are all victims of cultural expectations.

Let me start with "Rip Van Winkle." This story actually takes place in two different time periods. Before Rip fell asleep, he was living in the pre-colonial era of the United States. He was expected to work and take care of his family. "The great error in Rip's composition was an insuperable aversion to all kinds of profitable labor." (943) He had no qualms about work its self but he
…show more content…
I feel that George is a victim of cultural expectations whereas Editha is influenced by it but she is not victimized. Editha is a proud member of society and she wants what every other woman wants, a strong husband who will fight for his country. She wants George to go and fight. She writes a letter telling him that she loves him "but the man I marry must love his country first of all. . ." (1448) George is expected to love his country above all and want to fight to protect it. He does not believe in the cause of the Spanish-American War. He is torn between his love for Editha and his disgust for the war. George signs up for the war in a drunken stupor and still has the presence of mind to mock the war with witty sarcasm as he walks the street near Editha's house. He obviously does not have any desire to fight as he says: "What a thing it is to have a country that can't be wrong, but if it is, is right anyway!" Editha does not even listen to what he is saying; she just hands him the letter and tells him to read it after he starts. She could not be happier. George is one of the earliest people to die in the war; he is a victim of cultural expectations. One can argue that Editha is a victim as well but I do not buy it. She wears black in her mourning period but I think she feel honored that George died for her. I think I am giving her too much credit when I say honored. She enjoys the attention that she gets after having
Get Access