On Liberty

Slouching Towards Bethlehem 11th Grade

In her Slouching Towards Bethlehem essay, Joan Didion vividly constructs her view on the hippie movement in San Francisco through her anecdotal experience in 1967. Her belief captures a strong disliking of this social movement, as her experience indicates she did not condone the society which was created during the hippie movement. Others, such as John Stuart Mill, believe that social movements, such as the hippie one, are the culmination of individuality of others and are necessary for the progression of society. Both of their perspectives exhibit some truth, which can formulate into a new belief. All social movements should be respected in the terms of their times and should not be condoned, but not all social movements can be deemed as progress for society.

Didion begins the essay by painting a distraught picture of America and eventually moving on to discuss the “social hemorrhaging” in San Francisco, referring to the hippie movement. She makes some friends along the way, as she tells her story of meeting people who lived off being high, dropping out and leaving every bit of conservatism out the door. In her conversation with two runaway teenagers, she creates a sense of disappointment and sadness towards the teenagers...

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