Kenneth Bernard's Preparation

1474 Words6 Pages
In Kenneth Bernard’s short story “Preparations”, we are shown the devastating effects of sudden chaos and disorder in an overly structured society. The society in Bernard’s story is so controlled by imposed norms and interposed cultural and societal barriers that the people lack confidence and are incapable of making their own decisions. There is a ubiquitous need for distinct hierarchy and superiority over the “savage instinct,” or the instinct to disobey the norms. Due to a sheltered lifestyle, the society at large develops an extreme fear of the unknown which leads to xenophobia: intense or irrational dislike or fear of people from other countries. The narrator refers to Anya, a Ukrainian woman, as a peasant because she does not speak…show more content…
There are many philosophical statements that underline the societal problem. The majority of them highlight the faults in society and emphasize the narrow-minded way of life. The narrator defines himself as “a coward… a solid member of society.” Anyone who is shows cowardice, anyone who is too afraid to oppose the societal norms and expectations, is seen as a solid, good member of society because they are playing their part in keeping the structure and order. The narrator also believes that “it is the nature of civilization, of any culture, in fact, to interpose things between people and life.” The civilization in “Preparations” draws its own cultural line, a societally interposed barrier, and anyone who crosses it is looked down on and alienated by society. Though the organizations and sameness is something the civilization depends on, the uniformity has earned a negative connotation. It seems as though the monotony has a tight, unwavering grasp on society and only those who stand up and oppose the routine can escape the firm hold: “only individuals escape.” Society depends on conformity and adherence to the rules. The civilization’s success strongly depends on the internalization of cultural rules. The superego environment strives for perfection, and anyone who sets them back from their goals is seen as impulsive and reckless. This is because “the measure of any civilization is in…show more content…
When a little bit of rebellion is experienced, civilization is left in a state of shock and confusion. A real-life example of unconventionality in such controlled society is that of the Harlem Globetrotters’ visit to North Korea in February 2013. The Harlem Globetrotters is ann exhibition basketball team that uses comedy and theatre in their athletics. North Korea, though it describes itself as a socialist state, is widely considered a dictatorship, where every aspect of life is strictly regulated. The country’s monotony was fiercely disrupted with the arrival of the Harlem Globetrotters. Upon the arrival of the Harlem Globetrotters, it seemed as though North Korea had done everything in their power to contradict the world’s view on them. The city was all lit up at night, there was loud music, and dancing. Though North Korea also tried to convey the image that it was technologically savvy, those who were supposed to be using computers were, in fact, staring blankly at the screens in a noticeable state of confusion. The aesthetically-focused society in the story can relate to the increasingly popular beauty pageants. A beauty pageant is a contest that is based primarily on looks, on aesthetics, with its main purpose being to place physical beauty on a televised pedestal for the whole world to admire. Similarly, body building competitions are quite

    More about Kenneth Bernard's Preparation

      Open Document