Is the Experience of being an Outsider Universal Human Desire for Acceptance

Exclusively available on PapersOwl
Updated: Apr 30, 2024
Read Summary
Cite this
Is the Experience of being an Outsider Universal Human Desire for Acceptance

This essay will explore the theme of being an outsider and the universal human desire for acceptance. It will discuss various literary and real-world examples to examine how the feeling of being an outsider is a common human experience. The essay will analyze psychological theories related to social exclusion and acceptance, and how this theme is portrayed in different cultural contexts. It will also touch upon the implications of this desire on personal identity and social interactions. Additionally, PapersOwl presents more free essays samples linked to Experience.

Date added
Pages:  6
Words:  1741
Order Original Essay

How it works


Have you ever had the experience of loneliness because you feel that nobody accepts you in their group? If your answer to this question is yes, don’t be discouraged. In fact, it is a common experience that many people have to face at least once in their lifetime. With all the globalization and technological improvements that are happening, it could be clear that we can have more connections with other people. But it also makes the boundaries among different groups more higher.

Need a custom essay on the same topic?
Give us your paper requirements, choose a writer and we’ll deliver the highest-quality essay!
Order now

So being an outsider is definitely a universal experience for people because not everyone comes from the same background and shares the same traditions.

Cultural Differences and Isolation

Among all the factors that can make people feel like they are an outsider, I believe the major reason that causes isolation from a group is the cultural differences among people. Just like in the poem, Sonnet with Bird, the author continuously expresses the loneliness that he felt when he traveled to London. When nobody recognized him as an Indian, “it made [him] lonely. Lonely enough to cry in [his] hotel bed one night as [he] kept thinking. ‘I am the only Indian in this country right now. I’m the only Indian within a five-thousand-mile circle.’” (Alexie 214) This quote has a melancholy tone to it, describing that because of the author’s race, he felt that he had a hard time finding somebody that he could relate to. He thinks that he is the only Indian in England, which creates a distance between him and the other people and creates a sense of loneliness. This example can be a common experience for many people because as transportation technology has improved, more people have started to travel around the world. And because every country has different cultures and traditions, you will easily feel isolated depending on the situation, whether it is because of the language or just the customs that you are not used to. Also, in the article, Encountering the Others, the author gives an example of him experiencing the treatment of an outsider. “When [the author] walk through a village in the mountains of Ethiopia, a crowd of children runs after [the author], pointing at [him] in merriment and calling out: ‘Ferenchi! Ferenchi!’- which means ‘foreigner, other.’” (Kapuscinski 236) Here it describes the awkwardness of the author being called an outsider by the Ethiopians. Because when we think of the word outsider, it is mostly defined from the European’s point of view so that we could consider ourselves insiders.

Uniqueness as Both a Blessing and a Burden

However, as you leave the country, you are from and travel to the other country, you are not always going to be accepted. You might have different outlooks or different perspectives of viewing things that don’t match the local people, so then you would be called an outsider. Therefore, it would be a common experience to feel isolated if you travel to another country or spend time with a group of people that have a different background from you. Furthermore, even gifted or successful people are often considered weird. For example, in the online article, Outsider’s Art is Saluted at Columbia, Then Lost Anew, the writer describes an artist who draws for a living. He then further uses the main character, Sam Steinberg, as an example to show us that it is not wrong to be unique. Even though his oddness had been disliked by many people, the special taste of his artwork had been looked down upon by many people. Behind that, there are still people who support him. While “He struck students as a little odd, his paintings are teeming with a psychological subtext they never quite penetrated. They embraced him all the more for it.” However, on the other hand, his artwork is being complimented by the French artist Jean Dubuffet. Mr. Dubuffet stated that “the little picture is very interesting; it gives me [Mr. Dubuffet] keen pleasure. And had later given one of the artworks to a folk-art collection in Switzerland, ratifying Mr. Steinberg’s outsider-artist status.” It shows that it could also be a good experience if you bring up your own uniqueness in a positive way. Instead of having to be influenced by others, if you are confident in yourself, there will be people that like your individuality of standing out.

Just like Sam Steinberg in this story, he doesn’t step back from the negative view that others give him, but he accepts the difference that he has with others. This further shows that it is a universal experience of being an outsider because even though the French artist had made a good comment on Sam’s artwork. There are still many students that don’t appreciate his artwork. Showing that because everybody’s artistic preferences and perspectives are not the same, so Sam can’t satisfy everyone. And the fact that not everyone is the same can strongly relate back to the experience of being an outsider as a universal experience. Additionally, in the article, Isn’t Everyone a Little Bit Weird, the author uses Benjamin Franklin as an example to say that because everyone has different opinions, we can all consider each other weird. Consider Benjamin Franklin, one of the framers of the United States Constitution, “brilliant would better describe Franklin, and yet the man some call The First American had certain ways about him you might consider odd. He once pranked a competing publisher by astrologically predicting when the man’s life would end. He created his own alphabet, dispensing with the letters c,j,q,w,x, and y and adding others he made up to stand in for common sounds. He is said to have favored air baths, often writing his essays and letters while sitting in a cold room with nothing on. “(Isn’t Everyone a Little Bit Weird 130) Although we might consider Benjamin Franklin’s actions, such as when he created his own alphabet or when he favors writing his essays in a cold environment, to be weird and odd. However, his oddness actually sparked his creativity and uniqueness. All due to his different thoughts and actions from others and the ability to learn to accept other people’s differences, he learned to be a more successful person. Furthermore, this passage shows that it is a common experience to have different thoughts and actions among people.

The Persistent Desire for Acceptance

Because even famous people such as Benjamin Franklin, whom we had considered an insider, have their own distinctive behavior. So we can argue that it is a very common experience because everyone’s ways of thinking or behaving are different. As a result, we can consider each other as slightly odd, as well as consider each other as an outsider. Although some people would argue that the experience of the outsiders is not universal because they can still form their own groups outside of the privileged groups, however, it still doesn’t get rid of their desire to belong. Just like the Kelveys in the story dolls House, many people would argue that they shouldn’t feel lonely because the sisters rely on each other. However, it is not really true. The feeling of wanting to fit into the privileged group is still there, even though they are not actually alone. In the story, when Kezia invites the Kelveys sisters to see the doll’s house, we can clearly see the excitement and the desire to belong clearly in Else’s facial expressions. The moment when Kezia had invited the Kelvey sisters to see the doll’s house, “Suddenly there was a twitch, a tug at Lil’s shirt. She turned round. Our Else was looking at her with big, imploring eyes; she was frowning; she wanted to go.” (Mansfield 206) With this passage, it shows that there is still a strong desire from Else that she really wants to see the doll house and wants to be accepted even though she already has her sisters accompany her. It further shows that it is not always enough to be only accepted by a small group of people; outsiders also want to be accepted by a larger privileged group of people. And shows that they still care about the feeling of isolation that they have from others, even though they are not alone. Moreover, in the poem, the fences, because of the neutral word choices in the first paragraph, we can infer that the working family had accepted the fact that they are an outsider. And they had been relying on each other to work hard every day, showing that they had been used to the lifestyle of being isolated.

However, we can still see signs of them observing the hotel guest with admiration from a far distance. “I peek through the cactus fence and watch the woman rub oil sweeter than honey into their arms and legs while their children jump waves or sip drinks from long straws, coconut white, mango yellow.” (Mora 218) In this case, the family is considered outsiders because they are unable to participate in the joyous activities on the beach. Instead, they could only observe the lifestyle that they had always wanted from behind the fence. With the fence symbolizing the barrier between the higher and the lower social class, it shows that the economic disadvantages of this family create the isolation of the family. No matter how much of a strong bond they feel with their family, it can’t really reduce their sense of envy towards the higher social class.


This example could also be a common experience among many families who are struggling financially because there are some things that you just can’t do without money. To conclude, the experience of being an outsider is universal because not everyone can be liked by others. And not everyone has the same characteristics or shares the same traditions. They might just have different opinions and different perspectives of viewing things. Knowing all of these, it is now our responsibility to try and accept the individuality of people and eliminate prejudices that would help everyone get along.


  1. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
  2. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
  3. “The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
  4. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
  5. “Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine” by Gail Honeyman
The deadline is too short to read someone else's essay
Hire a verified expert to write you a 100% Plagiarism-Free paper

Cite this page

Is the Experience of Being an Outsider Universal Human Desire for Acceptance. (2023, Aug 10). Retrieved from