Many societies expect its individual members to follow the orders, ideologies, customs, and laws of the whole. For example, in Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery," the villagers go along with the stoning of a villager based solely upon tradition. Although other villages are getting rid of the lottery, older villagers, such as Old Man Warner, believe actions such as those to be foolish.
Outside of fictional societies (such as the village in Jackson's story), readers function as a society as well. They, readers, use their own societal expectations to define right and wrong within a text. For example, one may find that Kate Chopin's Mrs. Mallard (of "The Story of an Hour") acts inappropriately when given the news of her husband's death. Instead of mourning his death, she celebrates. That said, some may understand where her happiness comes from (if their society recognizes the problems associated with the oppression of women).
Both Albert Camus' "The Guest" and George Orwell's "Shooting an Elephant" illustrate lives of those who must recognize the fact that society constantly makes absurd interpretations about life, people, and actions of people. In "The Guest," Daru and the prisoner must make decisions which others would simply never understand (choosing to allow the prisoner to make a decision regarding his own freedom, and the prisoner choosing to take himself to prison). As for Orwells' text, interpretation of Orwell's action lie in who is interpreting it. The British support him, and the natives believe he is only doing it to make himself look good.
Regardless, a thesis which illustrates this idea is as follows:
Societal expectations tend to be a common thread woven between texts that challenge society in both direct and indirect ways. In some cases, literature may illustrate the idea that individuals are required to blindly follow custom or tradition based upon the fact that it has always been expected. On the other hand, a text may illustrate what happens when one goes against societal expectations.