Conformity vs. Individuality
Pleasure-seeking and distraction are the hallmarks of the culture in which Montag lives. Although these may sound like a very self-serving set of values, the culture is not one that celebrates or even tolerates a broad range of self-expression. Hedonism and mindless entertainment are the norm, and so long as the people in the society of Fahrenheit 451 stick to movies and sports and racing their cars, pursuits that require little individual thought, they’re left alone by society.
However, whenever individuals start to question the purpose of such a life, and begin to look for answers in books or the natural world and express misgivings, they become threats. Their questions and actions might cause others to face the difficult questions that their culture is designed to distract them from. For that reason, in the society of Fahrenheit 451 people who express their individuality find themselves social outcasts at best, and at worst in real danger.
Clarisse McClellan represents free thought and individuality. She’s unlike anyone else Montag knows. She has little interest in the thrill-seeking of her peers. She’d rather talk, observe the natural world firsthand, and ask questions. She soon disappears (and is probably killed). Fahrenheit 451’s society is set up to snuff out individuality—characters who go against the general social conformity (Clarisse, Faber, Granger, and Montag) do so at great risk.
Conformity vs. Individualism Essay
2751 Words12 Pages
We’ve all know what it feels like: walking down the halls in middle school or high school while you feel like you’re being watched…analyzed…critiqued. It would almost seem like every person you passed would be silently judging you for what you’re wearing, how you applied your makeup, how you did in the last soccer game, or what they heard you did with Jonny. The passerby’s in the hallway would place you on the high-school-hierarchy-of-coolness scale based on superficial characteristics even before getting to know you. Adolescence is a time of learning and forming an identity but it’s also a time where you are constantly being watched and evaluated by your peers, sometimes even put down by physical or verbal means. Bullying has always been…show more content…
But conforming to what the majority is doing because it is deemed as cool is a whole different story. Instead of conforming to keep society running smoothly, we sometimes conform due to fear that we will receive hateful backlash for breaking against the norm or in fear that we will be wrong. Solomon Asch explains the latter reason when he conducted an experiment to investigate the extent to which social pressure from a majority group could affect a person to conform. In his experiment, there was only one true participant and 4 other fake participants that will help prove his point correct. Cards were shown to everyone where there were lines of different length illustrated. They all had to choose which line was the longest. The first four people at the table were the fake participants and purposely chose the wrong answers. The last person was the true participant in the experiment and in all of the experiments they conducted, the last person always went with what the rest of the group thought even though he knew that the answer was incorrect. After the experiment was conducted, the real participants were interviewed and asked why they went along with everyone else even though they knew the answer was incorrect. “Most of them said that they did not really