According to Clarisse's uncle in "The Hearth and the Salamander," what virtue are the youth of society missing?

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luannw's profile pic

luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Clarisse talks about her uncle quite a bit; he seems to be her main source of information about the way things used to be. In the second conversation between Clarisse and Montag that we read about, Clarisse tells Montag that, according to her uncle, it used to be that children didn't kill one another as easily as they seem to know.  She also tells him that her uncle says that people used to be more responsible and that's missing in their society.  She goes on to say that no one is responsible any longer and that when she was a little girl, she was occasionally spanked and that she now has to uphold certain responsibilities like shopping and sharing in the housecleaning.  Responsibility, therefore, is the virtue that is lacking in the youth of the story.

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jameadows | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

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Clarisse tells Montag that her uncle feels that the youth are missing any sense of responsibility. Clarisse is speaking to Montag in "The Hearth and the Salamander" about the daily activities of young people. She says, "they run us so ragged by the end of the day" (page 30). Young people spend their days playing sports or going to a Fun Park to, as Clarisse puts it, "bully people." They also spend their time destroying windows or cars--basically, doing anything but actually thinking.

The result in their society is that the youth often resort to killing each other. Clarisse tells Montag that many of her friends have been shot or died in car wrecks. Her uncle feels that the problem is that the young people in their society have no responsibilities. Clarisse, on the other hand, has been raised differently. She was spanked at times and actually cleaned and did shopping on her own. The society around her leaves her scared and lonely because she has been brought up in a very different way. 


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