I found The Boarding House interesting because I noticed that there were some common themes relevant to society in the 21st century. The short story focuses on a young woman named Polly and a man named Mr. Doran who were having an affair. At first, the two enjoyed each other’s company and found excitement in their sexual relationship; however, this excitement later dissolved into regret. Polly and Mr. Doran began to worry about what others would think of their affair, and the damage it could potentially cause upon their public image.
Reading Mr. Doran’s contemplation of the situation allowed me to identify a parallel between his experiences and the unforgiving phenomenon of today’s “cancel culture.” Mr. Doran expressed his fears of his employers and the rest of the city finding out about the affair. He described how in Dublin, “everyone knows everyone else’s business” (61). Many of today’s public figures and influencers face this same pressure from society, in which they are held to a higher standard than everyone else. If they make a mistake or contradict social norms, the public works towards ensuring the termination of their career and reputation.
Though I believe it is important for people to be held accountable for their actions, I find that cancel culture disregards growth and change within an individual’s character. Forgiveness and redemption have been completely thrown out the window, leaving people with a “one-strike-and-you’re-out” mindset. Like Mr. Doran and Polly, people should be allowed to recognize their wrongs, change their behavior, and not be shunned from society. Everybody is guilty of making mistakes, so it seems illogical to focus on other people’s transgressions more than our own. If people refrained from such harsh judgment, I strongly believe that a good portion of conflict in the world would resolve itself.

“Cancel Culture Symbol or Cultural Cancellation and Social Media Censorship as Canceling or Restricting Opinions That Are Offensive or Controversial to the Public with 3D Illustration Elements.” Shutterstock, https://www.shutterstock.com/image-illustration/cancel-culture-symbol-cultural-cancellation-social-1764557285.

2 Replies to “19th Century Cancel Culture”

  1. This is such an interesting connection. I agree with your thoughts on cancel culture, I think fear of being “canceled” keeps a lot of people from reckoning with their actions. In Mr.Doran’s case it’s pretty self destructive.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *