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Differences Being different could mean many things, such as being different in appearance, having a different life-style or doing things that are different. Most people who are different suffer through many punishments that are not very fair. People who are different consider themselves as normal and find nothing wrong with themselves. In the short stories The Pedestrian by Ray Bradbury, The Enemy by Pearl Buck, and The Bully by Gregory Clark, being different is a key issue. Many people, societies, and countries consider some people different because of what they believe in or their appearance or their life-style. For being different, these people suffered very harsh and unfair consequences.
Certain societies view people as different because of their life-style. In the short story The Pedestrian, Leonard Mead lives in a society in which being different could symbolize craziness and insanity. This is a society that is very strict and it believes in unity. Only people who are considered normal are accepted. Sitting in front of the television every free moment a person has, having a job and getting married is considered normal in the society that Leonard Mead inhabits. “What’s up tonight on Channel 4, Channel 7, Channel 9? Where are the cowboys rushing, and do I see United Stated Cavalry over the next hill to the rescue?”(Bradbury, Pedestrian 72). To be considered normal, a person must sit in front of a television. In Leonard Mead’s society, people who are different are not accepted. Leonard Mead does not follow society rules and what everyone else does in their life and because of this he is considered to be different and an outcast. People should be able to do what ever they want without having to be judged.
Many countries troubled with problems often view some people as different because of their actions. In the short story The Enemy Sadao and his wife Hana, live in a country plagued with war, which strongly relies on its customs. Some of the country’s customs are being judgmental and racial toward enemies and distinct races. Sadao and Hana are considered different primarily because they cared for another person who is the enemy and he is of a different race. “If we sheltered a white man in our house we should be arrested”(Buck, Enemy, 289-290). As a result Sadao and Hana are considered to be different for caring for a dying man.
Various people perceive other people as different on account of their physical appearance. In the short story The Bully, Aubrey who is a bully, views Gregory Clark as different because he has flaws and problems. Gregory Clark’s self-image brings out his flaws and problems. These flaws and problems Gregory Clark has are that he is a very skinny child and he had no friends to protect him against the bully. “Being at that time a very small, measly little boy consisting largely of freckles, knuckles, knees and feet, I believed devoutly in the principal of non-resistance” (Clark, Bully, 157-158). Altogether Aubrey considers Gregory Clark as an outsider primarily for the reason that he is a small child and he believes in not fighting back.
Some people posses some characteristics or carry out something that makes them a target to be considered different. Leonard Mead has a different life-style, which involves going against society regulations. Leonard Mead considers what society views as different, normal. Walking, writing, and not watching or owing a television is considered normal by Leonard Mead and is considered odd by the society he inhabits. “Sometimes he would walk for hours and miles and return only at midnight to his house” (71). He enjoys going for walks instead of watching television and he is different because of this. Leonard Mead possesses numerous characteristics that allow him to be his own person and go against society rules. These characteristics include being individualistic, free-spirited and independent. Some people enjoy doing things that are different but it does not necessarily mean that they are different than everyone else.
Several people in foreign countries are considered to be different because of their values. Sadao’s values are affected by his profession where Hana, his wife’s values are affected by the way she was raised and what she believes is right. Sadao is a doctor, and the main objective of their job is to help wounded or sick people. His servants considered him different because he believes in helping other people which includes helping an enemy. “My, friend he always called his patients and so now he did, forgetting that this was his enemy” (293). Hana’s values are having an instinct to help other people who are in desperate need of help. Her servants also considered her as different because she helped save an enemy’s life. ” ‘Stupid Yumi,’ she muttered fiercely. ‘ Is this anything but a man? And a wounded helpless man!’ ” (291). The servants all quit because Sadao and his wife would not turn in the American soldier. Particular people have particular values, and if they have a value that offends some people, they are considered as different.
Even young children base judgments on other people depending on their physical appearance. Aubrey considers Gregory Clark as different because of his physical appearance. Gregory Clark is a scrawny which makes him an easy target for a bully, such as Aubrey. Its is unfortunate that Gregory Clark is scrawny, it is also unfortunate that he is a peaceful child and believes in not fighting back. He has no friends to protect him against Aubrey. Aubrey takes all this into account when beating him up. “I tried starting to school late, lingering at school after dismissal. I tried going new ways around strange blocks. No use. Aubrey got me” (158). Young children like Gregory Clark who are considered different by other children might turn out to be a good friend one day.
Many people who are considered different suffer many severe consequences. Leonard Mead experienced getting arrested and being mocked as a type of punishment for being an outcast in his society. A police officer was convinced that Leonard Mead was insane because of his life-style. Leonard Mead enjoyed going outside on a beautiful night and go for a walk instead of watching television. Once the officer knew all this he was considered Leonard Mead insane and brought him to a psychiatric center. “To the Psychiatric Center for Research on Regressive Tendencies” (75). In this society going for a walk on a beautiful night is considered to be different and insane. Leonard Mead was mocked along with being arrested. When the police officer discovered what Leonard Mead did with his life, he started to mock him. This was not very professional by the police officer. Leonard Mead enjoyed his life; he should not have been punished for living his life the way he wanted to.
Accomplishing a good deed could even get people punished. Sadao and his wife Hana experienced many consequences for helping save the life of a wounded enemy. Sadao could have been arrested and eventually killed, if he was caught hiding and helping a prisoner of war. “I thought they had come to arrest you” (298). In Japan during the time of the war, it was illegal to help or hide an enemy soldier. Sadao and Hana’s servants quit because they cared for the life of a wounded soldier. The servant told them to turn the American soldier over to the police, but since Sadao did not they all quit. “Sadao, Yumi tells me the servants feel they cannot stay if we hide this man here any more” (295). The servant did not want to get arrested and killed if their employer got caught. Sadao and Hana’s life was turned upside down because they cared for the wounded soldier. Their life was a living hell because their servants left them, they now had to cook, take care of their children, take care of the wounded soldier and had the risk of getting caught by the police. For taking care of a wounded enemy, these people had to suffer though some very harsh consequences.
Many young children tolerate very severe punishments for being different. Gregory Clark received physical and mental punishment for being different. Aubrey would terrorize Gregory Clark every chance he could find, all because he had no friends to protect him. “Aubrey would throw me down and knell on me, his knees on my biceps. He would glare down at me out of his pale eyes with a look of triumph” (158). Even though Gregory Clark hated getting terrorized everyday for being different, he had no way to stop it. Having no way to stop the terrorization, Gregory Clark suffered mental punishment. He could not tell his father that he was getting beat up, because his father would tell him to fight back and he was not a fighter. This lowered his self-esteem because he felt he could do nothing against this torture. Being different as a young child could have some very severe consequences.
Many people, societies, and countries consider some people as different because of their beliefs and their appearance. These outcasts suffer very severe consequences for being different. The short stories The Pedestrian, The Enemy, and The Bully illustrates, very well the issue of being different. Leonard Mead’s society considered him as different. Sadao and Hana’s country considered them as different, and Aubrey considered Gregory Clark as different. These people are not necessarily different they are just judged as different. Being different does not fundamentally make you wrong.