6. Presenting an alternative viewpoint
In your research on the book, you might come across viewpoints and interpretations that are different from yours. It can be worthwhile to address one or more of these in the body of your book review. Summarize the alternative view and state to what extent you agree or disagree with it, and why.
A different point of view concerning Shimoda’s rejection of social norms is put forward by Plover (2009). She claims that Shimoda’s actions and speech show readers a path to “transcending” (p. 4) everyday habits and “freeing ourselves” (p. 5) from restrictive conventions. In making her argument, she shows her idealism, as someone who believes that “extreme individuals show us the possibilities and potential of freedom from the expectations of any given society” (Chu, 2017, p. 2). However, while this may be true for a few individuals, it is important to remember that most people are not ready to abandon normal social behaviour in favour of more ‘enlightened’ ways of living. When citizens renounce principles such as politeness and responsibility to the group, the most likely result, according to Meyers and Lau (2019), is “chaos” (p. 235). No clearer example in history can be seen than the French Revolution, when initial declarations of ‘fraternity’ and ‘equality’ led to the mass murder of ‘enemies of the people’ by guillotine (Georges, 2002). Therefore, although the author’s intention might be to present Shimoda as an ideal to be copied, his behaviour and speech should instead serve as a cautionary tale for those who advocate overturning the moral touchstones of society.
Summary of alternative view
Statement of the writer’s position on this view, with support from sources