I'm looking for a short essay with peer pressure as one of the central theme's of the essay. I have found Orwell's Shooting an Elephant, and Langston Hughes Salvation but I'm having a difficult time finding a third on so I can write my esay.
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Certainly, Gene Forester senses pressure from his peer Phineas in John Knowles's A Separate Peace. Granted, the greatest of these pressures is within himself, one that he projects onto his perceived rival. And, since his actions are a result of these perceived conflicts with Finny, they are irrational.
It may be useful to look at a text such as 'The Crucible' with its origins in the Salem witch trials and of course the McCarthy events. There are bound to be essays on both of these historical events which may help with your essay. You could look at whether we would have similar 'knee-jerk' reactions, led by our peers, with regard to certain groups today...
I, too, wondered if you were looking for essays or for works of fiction or poetry. Assuming that you were indeed looking for essays, I looked around myself on the web for essays on peer pressure. Here is a link to one brief essay by a noted economist:
I would have to suggest Shirley Jackson's The Lottery. Some of the villagers speak about getting rid of the lottery and others say it is part of their tradition. The pressure to keep the lottery around is a combination of both tradition and peer pressure.
Not sure exactly what you're hoping to do with your essay, but would Huck Finn be able to contribute anything? Certainly his peers, and most of the other whites in his community, would have shared a common set of beliefs regarding the appropriate role of "niggers" and would not hesitate to exert significant peer (and otherwise) pressure on anyone who thought otherwise. That's why it was such a difficult decision for Huck to accept that Jim was a real human being and that he (Huck) would help Jim win his freedom from being returned to slavery.
If you're seeing Orwell's piece as being about peer pressure (which I wonder about -- were the Burmese his peers?), then I would think that you could also use "Thank You, Ma'am." There, we have Roger being pressured by expectations, just as Orwell is in his essay.
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