Sunday, April 10, 2016

"Like and Equal"

             In our class this semester, we have explored and looked at texts that have been banned for being different and subverting the status quo. Meg Murray is a character that embodies the same idea. She feels out of place in her family and in her school. She is bullying by the other kids for being different and not adhering to all of the norms in her school. She is frequently sent to the principal's office and her interactions with him consist of him trying to force her to submit and conform. She complains to her mother that she doesn't want to be different, she just wants to fit in and be "normal" or at least pretend that she is like everybody else. When the universe opens up before her eyes, she witnesses what conformity and "being like everyone else" is like. On Camazotz, she sees the effects of total uniformity: mindless, identical people who do what their told and have no originality or individuality. She learns to celebrate her uniqueness, as she sees the evil of the prison that is Camazotz.
            As she is fighting IT, she recites the Declaration of Independence and the line which states that "all men are created equal" to which IT responds that if everyone is alike everyone is equal. Meg fights back stating that "like and equal are not the same". This quote stood out to me and I felt as though it related to many of the texts we have read this semester. Meg's mind, by the end of the novel, understands that a mind that fully embraces and follows order and authority is a mind that is enslaved. She thinks outside of the box that IT creates because she has accepted that she will never perfectly fit in world, and that that is a good thing. This idea is reflected in all of our banned books. Many times banned books are commenting on a part of society that is oppressive or deprives people of a voice. Meg, who embraces her uniqueness and by the end of the novel, uses it to succeed, is an example of freedom of thought and speech. As we have discussed, the beauty of literature is that it challenges us to think about issues that we may not have realized existed or may not have understood. The beauty of this novel is that it shows us a protagonist that does the same thing.

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