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In "Fahrenheit 451" why is Clarisse McClellan considered "anti-social"?

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torigirl123 | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted April 20, 2009 at 3:44 AM via web

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In "Fahrenheit 451" why is Clarisse McClellan considered "anti-social"?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted April 19, 2009 at 11:25 AM (Answer #1)

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Her society considers being social fitting in; going to her classes and sitting there absorbing everything.  Being social means enjoying sitting there and not asking questions, then going to the parks to "bully people around, break windowpanes...wreck cars...race on the streets...shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another."  That is what socializing is to kids her age.  To her however, it is talking to people, being around them, getting to know them, and asking questions about the world to start good discussions.  So, because she doesn't behave the way that all of the other teenagers behave, she is considered anti-social.  If you think of anyone at your school who is a bit different, and who doesn't behave like most of the kids do, they tend to get labelled with such phrases as "anti-social", "freak," "weirdo," and other such negative terms.  Being anti-social to the majority just means that you aren't behaving like they are behaving.  And, Clarisse doesn't.  She actually enjoys thinking, and not going around smashing things up and never really talking to the people you are doing the smashing with.  So, that is why she is considered anti-social; she isn't social in the way that everyone else is.  I hope that helps!

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dneshan | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted April 19, 2009 at 11:28 AM (Answer #2)

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Clarisse is considered anti-social because she refuses to participate in the activates that the government deems as acceptable activities for people in the society of “Fahrenheit 451”.  She enjoys doing thinks like wondering, thinking, looking around and taking time to smell the flowers and be aware of her surroundings; because of this, she is actually happy.  The other people of her society are brainwashed to enjoy watching television, looking at picture books instead of reading, and participating in team sports that frown upon individuality.  Because Clarisse enjoys the activities that she does, she remains happy until the day that she dies (or disappears) while the others lifeless people of her society drown themselves in happy pills and can not even think for themselves. 

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