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Dystopian Elements

Connections between Fahrenheit 451 and conformity v. individuality

Individuality and Social Conformity

Individuality and Social Conformity

The book “Fahrenheit 451” and the article “Individuality and Social Conformity” both portray the dystopian elements of individuality and dissent being bad and how citizens conform to uniform expectations. In “Fahrenheit 451,” after the burning of Montag’s own house, Captain Beatty preaches to Montag saying “give a man a few lines of verse and he thinks he’s the Lord of all Creation…you think you can walk on water with your books” (pg 111). Bradbury explains how some individuals believe they can change the world while everyone else just conforms to and follows the status quo. Citizens’ individuality and independent thought is rare, which results in no diversity of thought. Everyone is stuck in a trance only following what is considered “normal,” while individuality is viewed as negative and odd. In the article “Individuality and Social Conformity,” the author states how “so many people take social conformity for granted that not many bother to find out why it is such a powerful phenomenon.” Similar to in the book, people shy away from individuality based on the fear of punishment and social ostracism, and look down upon those who are different. The majority conforms to society by letting their thoughts be controlled through technology, while Montag possesses the desire to gain knowledge, wisdom, and personal growth through books. People conform to the status quo without even thinking about what would happen if they had their own independent thoughts. In both the book and article, people automatically follow uniform expectations, because in society, individuality and dissent are viewed as bad. Although some individuals branch off and are unique, the pull to follow the masses without thinking is often stronger.

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