How do we see conformity and what are society's expectations? 

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

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We see conformity, in general in society, as complying with societal and cultural norms that are prevalent. In essence, conformity involves "toeing the line." Typically, majority opinion and practices rule when it comes to conformity in society. Therefore, those who "rock the boat" and seek to behave in ways (and voice opinions) that are contrary to the accepted norm are often frowned upon. It takes courage to be a non-conformist.

In the Ray Bradbury novel Fahrenheit 451, conformity is manifested by those who do not have books in their homes and who do not even desire to access or own books at all. Society's expectations in this novel are that one must adhere to the dictates of the authorities. The authorities decide what kind of communication the citizenry can be involved in.

Overall, members of society in the novel (the majority) are only too willing to keep the peace and listen to the totalitarian government. They desire to live peaceably and not have their homes burned because of harboring books of any kind. This majority is willing to distance itself from dissenters, such as Montag, the old lady, and Clarisse.

Consequently, we see conformity as the path of least resistance. We also see that most citizens that want preferential treatment from the authorities will acquiesce and become conformist so as not to incur the wrath of said authorities for not following their dictates.

Individual members of society who do not have a rebellious or dissenting streak in them expect that their fellow citizens will "toe the line" as they do and that society will be the better for it--even if they do not totally agree with what they are conforming to.

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