Conformity And Individuality In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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Jacob Irish Irish 1 Ms. Matthews HSE 3: Period 5 3 November 2014 Conformity versus Individuality “To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment” (Ralph Waldo Emerson). Conformity and equality may seem desirable at first; however, it actually takes away one’s individuality. Ray Bradbury warned about this in his novel Fahrenheit 451. His novel takes place in a futuristic society in which advanced technology and government censorship erases any interest in books and establishes the enjoyment of simple pastimes as suspicious. Due to technological advances which have produced fire-proof houses, firemen burn books.…show more content…
This curiosity which grants Clarisse freedom also causes Montag to re-evaluate his own life. Montag discovers these unique characteristics in Clarisse as soon as he meets her while walking home from work one night. Clarisse tells Montag: ‘“Well, I’m seventeen and I’m crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. Isn’t this a nice time to walk? I like to smell things and look at things, and sometimes stay up all night, walking, and watch the sun rise”’ (Bradbury 11). Clarisse introduces herself to Montag and reveals her background. She remains unaffected by the norms of society. Simple pastimes are frowned upon and sometimes even punishable in Montag’s society, however Clarisse loves these simple things. She does not need a television to keep her happy. This is the cause of her individuality. Mildred is the complete opposite of Clarisse. Mildred’s shallowness, complacency, and hatred of books stems from her refusal to think for herself. Mildred asks Montag about installing a fourth TV wall in their house, showing her lack of consideration and love of advanced technology. “‘It’s only two thousand dollars,’ she replied. ‘And I think you should consider me sometimes. If we had a fourth wall, why it’d be just like this room wasn’t ours at all, but all kinds of exotic people’s rooms. We could do without a few things”’ (Bradbury 24). Mildred is very…show more content…
However, people fear showing their unique characteristics because they do not want to deviate from the norms of society. Clarisse and Mildred exemplify the effects of conformity. Clarisse’s curiosity and awareness of the world demonstrates the benefits of not conforming to a society that hides the truth from its citizens. Mildred’s ignorance and reliance on technological gadgets is just to cover the realities of her meaningless life. Clarisse’s death represents the intolerance of nonconformity. Only those who are unaffected by the norms of society and express their individuality can live in true

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