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Read the following excerpt from Rebekah Nathan's "Community and Diversity": Struggling with community in this way is, as observers of American life...
Read the following excerpt from Rebekah Nathan’s "Community and Diversity":
Struggling with community in this way is, as observers of American life have pointed out, the American way. The same things that make us feel connected and protected are the things that make us feel obligated and trapped as individuals and/or cut off from other groups with different agendas. For most students, as for most Americans in general, the "big community" has a dual connotation that includes both a warm and fuzzy side, all about "oneness" or "togetherness" or "common purpose," and a negative side that tends to surface with reference to government regulations, Big Brother images, and fears of conformity. (48-49)
Write an essay in which you apply Nathan’s concepts about community and conformity to the following passage from The Orchid Thief:
In Victorian England the orchid hobby grew so consuming that it was sometimes called "orchidelirium"; under its influence many seemingly normal people, once smitten with orchids, became less like normal people and more like John Laroche… "The bug hits you," a collector from Guatemala explained to me. "You can join A.A. to quit drinking, but once you get into orchids you can’t do anything to kick the habit." I didn’t own any orchids before I went down to Florida, but Laroche always teased me and said that I’d never get through a year around orchid people without getting hooked…I suppose I also didn’t want Laroche to feel to smug about his predictive powers. In fact, nearly every orchid grower I talked to insisted on giving me a plant and I was so leery of getting attached that I immediately gave them all away. (Orlean 50-51)
Points to considerWhen crafting your response you may find it helpful to consider the following questions:
- Is community an addiction?
- Can we escape community?
- Is the "warm and fuzzy side”"of community worth "Big Brother" images?