Discuss the idea of conformity versus individuality as presened in fahrenheit 451.

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Jean Melek eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The story of the novel is Montag's move from a conformist to an individual.  In the opening pages the reader sees Montag as the ultimate example of a conforming member of society and "fireman."  He doesn't question what he is doing and actually revels in his duty of burning books.  He may not be particularly happy in his marriage, but he doesn't question it or his wife (and her friends) behavior.

When Montag meets Clarisse, he begins to question his previous conformity.  Slowly he sees the value in books and the life they open up for him.  By questioning and confronting his duty, his marriage, and indeed the whole society, Montag chooses to pursue another path.  He eventually refuses to conform and leaves the city in order to live outside the oppressive culture.  On the road, holding bits and pieces of books in his head, he expresses his individuality.  The reader comes to understand that conformity is dull and dangerous.