Staying true to self or following the crowd were the two choices that Millicent had to make in the story “initiation” by Sylvia Plath. Often times teenage girls long to be a part of a group or a club to feel a sense of acceptance. Millicent started off as a bashful girl who wanted to be a part of a sorority, and later had an epiphany and decided to reject the membership into the sorority. She declined membership into the sorority because she did not want to lose her best friend Tracy. She did not like the thought of losing her sense of individuality, and felt as if she did not need to belong to a club to relate to other human beings.

Tracy, Millicent’s best friend, was not invited into the sorority, and Millicent felt guilty because Tracy had never left her side. The story states that Millicent “didn’t know what caused her revolt, but it definitely had something to do with Tracy.” Although Millicent had the chance to be recognized and gain popularity, she considered the feelings of her best friend. Tracy stated that Millicent would change whether she thought she would or not, but Millicent thought otherwise. Being naïve towards the initiation process, she thought that even after she joined the sorority she and Tracy would remain friends.

Millicent was not a well-known girl, but she did have her own sense of individuality. Joining the sorority meant that she would no longer be the quiet girl, but a girl who had to conform to the requirements of the popular. She would have to dress, talk, and act like them. Because of the demoralization involved, Millicent started to question her reasons for wanting to join the sorority. She did not like when her big sister Bev referred to her as “Gopher”. She felt as if the name was a denial of individuality, and she had never been the type to take orders from others.

In addition to the fear of losing her sense of individuality, Millicent realized that she did not need to join a club to relate to other people. She came out of her shell after conversing with strangers on the bus; Millicent came across a man who talked about Heather Birds. He described the Heather Birds as “Bright purple birds that living in mythological moors, and fly all day long, singing sweet and wild in the sun.” (246) The Heather birds were a symbol of freedom to Millicent. It was the conversation with the man that helped her see that following the lead of others was so cliché. People that never talked to her, such as Herb Dalton, started talking to her, but if it were not for the sorority label would he even look her way? All she had to do was open up and be herself and the rest would come naturally.

In the case of staying true to self-vs. following the crowd, Millicent chose to stay true to herself. She chose to stay loyal to her best friend Tracy, keep her sense of individuality, and relate to others without having to join a group. She made a decision to now be a Heather Bird and fly happily. Millicent started a league of her own by doing so. Now she would influence all other outcasts to stay true to themselves and never try and meet the standards of those who do not matter.