Societal and Cultural Expectations for Young Adults

Categories: Personal Experience


Societal places high expectations for young adults; they are expected to achieve independence and fulfill the expectations of their cultural heritage. These expectations are clear, but as young adults, they are sometimes hard to follow because of all the pressure that is put upon them. This can be seen in different short stories and essays. For example, they all have examples of societal and cultural expectations. Many teenagers that were placed into in these passages are having a hard time fitting into the societal norms.

These pressures are placed by parents but also by the societal expectations that are put upon them. Societal expectations have a big impact on individuals. These people in todays society can be bullied on there looks or are set with expectations they must follow to fit in.

Indian Education

In the short story, "Indian Education" it explains show an Indian boy has many cultural hurdles because of his race and does not receive the education he deserves.

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This is seen when he was bullied by others, " that first winter in school, the other Indian boys chased me from one comer of the playground to the other. They pushed me down, buried me in the snow until I couldn't breathe…" He has a bad experience with the school because of his peers and society bullying him, as a result, he is unable to have a successful education. In the passage, My Dungeon Shook the major conflict in the article if racism. He wants his nephew to be confident in his skin and not to let anyone else tell him he is different or less human because on the way he looks.

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From the article, it states, You were born into a society which spelled out with brutal clarity and in as many ways as possible that you were a worthless human being." The author is trying to explain to young African Americans to be comfortable with who you are and you need to accept everyone else because they are more likely to accept you.


Another passage that we read that had an example of social expectation is the passage Girl. In this article, the mother is talking to her daughter about all the things that a respectful does and who she wants her daughter to be, which is perfect. An example of this is, "On Sundays try to walk like a lady and like the slut you are of bent becoming". But throughout this article, the protagonist often wonders why she can not be herself, but the family wants her to be the most perfect woman that she can be. The sociatial expectaitions on to social norms that others have placed. Not just on her but on everyone. If someone were to do the same thing that was expressed in the example they would be considered. For example if you don't walk like a lady you are considered a slut. These expectations are put on individuals making them feel the pressure that they do not fit in with society. Not just from the way you act but from the way you dress or from your cultural back grounds.

Fish Cheeks

Another impact that can drastically impact an individual is cultural expectations such as they way The culture in which you live in provides values and behaviors that have influenced a personal perspective on life and the environment in which a person lives in. In the essay Fish Cheeks, it talks about a girl that wants to impress the minister son. She cannot impress him because of her family and the Chinese culture that she is embarrassed by her. "My relatives licked the ends of their chopsticks and reached across the table, dipping them into the dozen or so plates of food." This shows how the family of the main character acts. She wants her family to act the ones in the American culture. By the end of the article, the author expresses the pressures placed on young adults.

The author wanted to show that you should be proud of your culture instead of hiding from it or trying to change it. If an individual doesn't appreciate the way your family acts than you should not be associated with them. "And even though I didn't agree with her then, I knew that she understood how much I had suffered during the evening's dinner. It wasn't until many years later — long after I had gotten over my crush on Robert — that I was able to fully appreciate her lesson and the true purpose behind our particular menu. For Christmas Eve that year, she had chosen all my favorite food." This shows the realization that the main characters face at the end of the passage.

The cultural expectations that individuals from the passages face were from there culture. Making people feel uncomfortable or ashamed of there culture when others look into what their life is like at home. These pressures are put on the individual because they just want to fit in with everyone else around them. They will soon find out that family will always be there for you and they will always know what is best. Even if you don't realize it.


From these examples, it is clear that we all face different expectations. Whether these expectations are cultural or societal, they have a big impact on the individuals experiencing these problems. Many teens nowadays can relate to these passages because they are put with the same pressures and expectations. An individual can only handle so much pressure before they are drained out. How many societal or cultural expectations do you face?

Updated: Feb 22, 2024
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Societal and Cultural Expectations for Young Adults. (2024, Feb 15). Retrieved from

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