Conformity In Aldous Huxley And Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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Webster’s Dictionary defines individuality as “the quality that makes one person or thing different from all others”, and conformity as “behavior that is the same as the behavior of most other people in a society”. John F. Kennedy says, “Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.” Oftentimes, much like in Kennedy’s case, individualism is praised over conformity, labeling the former good or courageous and the latter bad or lazy, because individuality fuels change, whereas conformity prompts a societal stasis. However, it needs to be taken into account that humans are, in Aristotle’s words, social animals and thus, in societies as complex and intricate as ours, stasis suggests stability, which is not necessarily a bad thing. There are two sides to every medallion, and this particular medallion has captured the attention of countless thinkers. Among these thinkers were Aldous Huxley and Ray Bradbury. One of the most important themes Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 share is the conflict between conformity and individuality. In both novels, there are societies with strict norms that the majority of the people conform to. People who desire to step out of said norms are ridiculed or outcast at best, and seen as threats at worst. This essay will analyze how the two authors employ similar sets of characters to explore this conflict between conformity and individuality: main characters who question—and defy—the system in place,
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