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What are examples of individuality vs. conformity in the second section of Fahrenheit 451?

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ryanaxman | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted August 11, 2011 at 2:51 AM via web

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What are examples of individuality vs. conformity in the second section of Fahrenheit 451?

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

Posted August 13, 2011 at 6:17 AM (Answer #1)

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Individuality is when a person stands up and fights to become different and unique from others; it is when they strive to better themselves and to be their own person.  They do not succumb to peer pressure, trends or fads; rather, they are uniquely themselves.  Conformity is when you follow the crowd and trends, and do what the majority of people do to fit in, not be noticed, or be liked and accepted.

In the second part of Fahrenheit 451, conformity is best represented by Mildred and her friends.  They gather together to watch the t.v. walls, and when Montag tries to speak with them, he gets frustrated.  They all look the same; they all act the same; they all buy into their society's entertainment brainwashing; they all have the same distant and alientated values; in addition, they all find Montag, who is trying to take a different path than most people in their society, to be alarming and dangerous.  Individuality is embodied in Montag.  He is striving to understand, for himself, why he is unhappy.  This means he does unusual things, things outside of the norm, and forges his own path in doing them.  He reads; he questions; he seeks out Faber for answers; he plots an attack on the entire system itself.  He is seeking out answers for his own individual happines.  Compare this to Mildred and her friends, who when miserable, don't seek out answers but drown out their sorrows in television and sleeping pills.  Rather than stand out, they do all they can to fit in, even when it is making them miserable.

I hope that those thoughts help a bit; good luck!

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