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Essay on Nonconformity in "Cool Hand Luke"

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Mahatmas Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the South Africans all have used disobedience in order to change an unjust norm or law(s). The most common form of disobedience which have been used in history is to simply not obey the officials of higher authority and protest in order to get the point across. These protests have been successful because of the mass numbers of supporters but also because they set out to change an unjust rule or norms. In the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke featuring Paul Newman, Lucas (Luke) has been sent to jail for "beheading" parking meters while intoxicated. During his time in jail, he disobeys both the de facto inmate leader and the wardens simply because he did not like to conform to their rules. Luke's,…show more content…
This admiration further fuels his desires to break the norm and authority and it is shown when he blindly decides to accept a bet where he has to eat fifty hard-boiled eggs. His success ensured that Luke has become the new de facto leader and even Dragline respects his actions and authority. With this newfound position, the wardens and officers do not seem pleased; they view his success as a threat to their power and authority. His rise in power and his desire for disobedience lacks one critical point that he fails to see throughout the film: a just objective. He breaks the norm in jail so simply fulfill his thirst to be different and not what he seems unjust and unfair. As a prisoner, he has lost most of his rights as an American citizen and he has to be punished as a result. His treatment seems fair; he received three meals, recreation time, visiting hours and care--there was no evidence of mistreatment or unfair conditions. This first two attempts to escape showed that he performed those actions just to demonstrate his ability to escape and hold on to his newfound power and glory. They do not, however, help him realize all the reasons to behave well and obey authority in jail in order to fully appreciate all the benefits of freedom once his term was over. Instead, it reassured the inmates that Luke has become the leader and he will continue to break the law as he pleased. The apex of his vanity occurs when he mails a magazine to the
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