Wheels and Nails

While the American proverb “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” may be one you’ve heard time and again, often in reference to the idea that whoever raises or vocalizes a criticism the loudest will be appeased, there is a Japanese saying that translates to “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down,” which points to the positives of conformity in order to maintain a productive and humble society. It can also refer to putting someone who has become too successful back down in their place. Write a story in which your main character diverges from a group of people, and sticks their neck out, so to speak. Perhaps they vocalize a contrary perspective, protest something they feel is unjust, or simply present themselves in an unconventional manner. What are the consequences? Does your story lean toward one proverbial lesson or the other, or does the conclusion demonstrate more ambiguity?