Advanced Essay #3: The Leaders and the Followers

For my essay, I wrote about how people's actions can affect others' individuality. My goals for this essay were to show how people can grow up and not getting a chance to express and explore their individuality for themselves. I also showed this through my personal experiences that I have dealt with. When I first started to write this, I was unsure how to get my larger idea across without making the essay sound bland. I decided to write some ideas down that popped into my head that had some relation to my larger idea. Once I started to type them up, everything flowed smoothly. I think that people will be able to relate to my essay because of some experiences that they have also had.

In every group, there are people who have roles, the leaders and followers. There are people who are the followers, that do whatever the leader tells them and rely on the leader to make all of their decisions for them. This affects the followers negatively because they just rely on the leader which affects their individuality, and essentially making the decision about who they are. It doesn’t affect the leaders because they are the ones affecting the followers and telling them who to be, what to do and how to become what the leader wants them to be.

When I was younger, this happened to me a few times. In each of these situations, I was the same person. Even though I experienced this several times, I still didn’t know when to recognize the signs. “When an individual plays a part he implicitly requests his observers to take seriously the impression that is fostered before them. They are asked to believe that the character they see actually possesses the attributes he appears to possess, that the task he performs will have the consequences that are implicitly claimed for it, and that, in general, matters are what they appear to be.”

In elementary school, I had a best friend and her name was Anya. I had known her since we were babies and we had been best friends ever since then, at the time. We loved to do everything together and we were both young and impressionable. Whenever our class took trips or we went out for water ice on a hot day, I always got what she ordered because I couldn’t decide on what to get. This started to happen more often and with other things besides these, and it became harder for me to make decisions for myself. I guess she noticed this happening to me, and started to use this against me for her own benefit. We continued our elementary years like this, she would tell me what to do and I would do it for her. The only time I noticed what she was doing was when my mom told me, because I was so oblivious to it.

It was my first day back to school and I was finally in middle school. I noticed the new students that were going to be in my class and one of the new kids I recognized, it was a girl from my old elementary school. She recognized me too and as the weeks and months went by, we did almost everything together. One day she came up to me, pointed out that I always had my hair up, and told me to take it out. I told her that I really didn’t want to because it made me slightly uncomfortable, but she ignored that and forcefully grabbed my hair tie and pulled it out. She said she wouldn’t give it back unless I wore my hair down for the rest of the day, and I kept my hair down for the rest of the day. Every since that day, she saw how I reacted to her actions and kept doing things like that, but it started to become too much to the point where I would do something she didn’t like and she would tell me that she wasn’t my friend any more. After I would react to her statement, she would always claim that she was “just kidding” and that I should always take things so literally. From Flowers for Algernon, Charlie was in a similar situation. “I think it’s a good thing about finding out how everybody laughs at me. I thought about it a lot. It’s because I’m so dumb and I don’t even know when I’m doing something dumb. People think it’s funny when a dumb person can’t do things the same way they can.”

Freshman year of high school I wanted to be my own person and do things for myself, but it didn’t end up being like that. At first, I only knew a few people, but over time, they became friends and we stuck together. We would always hang out and go to the same place after school. After a while, I would just hang out with them because they would always ask if I could somewhere with them. But when I said no, they would just comment that I was no fun, as if they were almost stating those things on purpose so that I would change my mind. Of course because I wanted them to stop, I went with them, even though I really didn’t want to. We used to share things about ourselves and they would always make me go first, even though they knew I didn’t like to. After I said something, they would completely change the subject and not say anything. “Professional sports offer a big tent. It has room for racists, homophobes and misogynists as well as the people they hate. And hate or judgment would seem to represent a wall that the self-identified don’t want to hit. In the case of, say, a job application or a census report, reluctance can become principled refusal: My sexuality is none of my boss’s business.”

Morris, Wesley. "Why 'Self-Identifying' Is Different Than Coming Out." NY Times. N.p., 29 Dec. 2015. Web. 10 Jan. 2017. <>.

Keyes, Daniel. Flowers for Algernon. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1966. 293. Print.