The Importance Of Social Values In Son By Andrew Solomon

1750 Words 7 Pages
Society often views specific traits such as being homosexual or disabled in a negative perspective and says that in order to be perfectly content, fixing these traits is the right choice. Anyone who characterizes traits that go against social norms is not seen in a positive light and is usually shunned by modern society. Despite all the changes that are occurring to the breaking of social norms as each day passes, many still expect all people to follow old social norms and “be like everybody else.” In “Son” by Andrew Solomon, the author describes traits known as “horizontal identities” and argues that despite being depicted as something unfortunate, these traits can actually benefit those suffering from them. According to Solomon, someone with …show more content…
If people act a certain way or do certain things for the sole purpose of fitting in and are unhappy with it, then they cannot truly thrive because they are not true to themselves. Their joy is artificial because they choose to listen to society’s norms rather than following the paths that truly create happiness. Solomon brings up a man named Jared Spurbeck who eventually found happiness and acceptance over his disability despite how society felt about it (385). Spurbeck was an autistic man who “thought his own quirks were ‘a sign of sinfulness’ when he was growing up in the Mormon faith; when he started reading about gay Mormons, he found their experience the same as his” (Solomon 385). Solomon brings up the example of Jared Spurbeck to demonstrate how once someone accepts who he or she is, that person may find true acceptance and joy instead of feeling ashamed of his or her difference. Spurbeck, through the readings of gay Mormons, realized that his disability was not a negative trait, even though society was telling him it was. In the same fashion, Davidson mentions her former mother-in-law, Inez Davidson, who was a teacher that found that breaking the social norms of the school she taught at brought more happiness to herself and her students (64). Inez Davidson was a teacher who broke the traditional methods of teaching and “got in a lot of trouble, every year, with the school superintendent because she refused, ever, to teach to a test. She covered what the providence demanded of a third, fourth, and fifth graders and far more, but she always did it her way” (Davidson 65). Davidson speaks about her ex-mother-in-law to show that following one’s true self and happiness brings more joy than following societal norms and feeling unhappy with how things are. Both authors bring up examples of

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