The themes of control within Susan Douglas's "Narcissism as Liberation," Ralph Ellison's "Extravagance of Laughter," and Walker Percy's "Loss of the Creature" are explored.

Essay by hanadrCollege, UndergraduateA+, August 2002

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Although they use different terminology Susan Douglas, Ralph Ellison, and Walker Percy mention and emphasize the importance of control at several points throughout their essays. It can be concluded that all three authors believe that it is important for the individual to maintain control over their own self for to sacrifice control would be to lose the individuality that makes a person. The methods society uses to control the individual varies, according to each author.

Douglas discusses the media and the immense power it wields over women and their "narcissistic" selves in her essay. She argues that the media contrives to deceive women into thinking that they are truly the ones in control. She believes the media to play a major role in the "deconstruction of feminism" into "narcissism," hence her essay entitled, "Narcissism as Liberation" refers to the media's ploy of convincing women that they are truly their own masters, although the true proprietor is society.

As for Ellison, in his essay "Extravagance of Laughter," he explains control through his theme of masks and disguising oneself so as to retain control over one's person. He rationalizes that a mask exists to allow those perceiving the masked person to see what he desires, but the person behind the mask, the true self remains intact, and thus the masked person preserves his control over his own self. Percy's "Loss of the Creature" essay suggests that control is surrendered to "experts" of society. The consumers, the average person of society, according to Percy, will give up his standpoint upon something so as to conform to what society and society's experts deem to be correct. Henceforth, all three essays deal with control, and most importantly they deal with the importance of how the individual must not surrender control of his self to...