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"Conformity Uncensored" Essay Comparing Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" And "1984" By George Orwell. Discusses The Effects Of Conformity On Society

1101 words - 5 pages

Several conflicting frames of mind have played defining roles in shaping humanity throughout the twentieth century. Vision of a bright future held by humanity was taken advantage of by the promise of a better life through sacrifice of individuality to the state. In the novels 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, clear opposition to these subtle barriers was voiced. These books established the atmosphere and seductiveness of "utopia" and fear of the consequences of acting in the non-prescribed way through character development. A single character is alienated because of his inability to conform. The characters struggle to hide this fact from the state's relentless ...view middle of the document...

He is deeply disturbed when a medical team that helps his wife appear and disappear within a matter of minutes: "There are too many of us, he thought. There are billions of us and that's too many. Nobody knows anyone." (Fahrenheit 451, 14) He becomes further agitated when a casual encounter with an 'antisocial' youth, who is normal by our standards, asks him if he is truly happy. When these and other questions weigh upon his mind he begins to realize that something is fundamentally wrong with the world he is living in. The characters' struggles to hide their newly found individuality is a futile one. In Orwell's interpretation of the totalitarian state of 1984, the societies are technically and urbanly engineered to spy on and perceive people's very thoughts. The society justifies these invasions by eliminating the importance of the individual. The constant barrage of information regarding the greatness of the state and Big Brother's supremacy over the common man forces everyone (in good mental health) to accept these as the only unchanging facts. Any deviation from these beliefs would be immediately noticeable, and almost impossible to hide. These divergences are what Orwell feared, from experience. After the world wars he surely couldn't help but realize the extent to which the public had been vehemently directed against the 'ultimate enemy' and the common propaganda techniques of getting the public to seek out spies amongst themselves. When individuality itself becomes the crime the horrifying dystopia ensues. Fahrenheit 451 accomplished a similar effect as Montag struggled to hide his guilt over the fact that he possessed books, which were illegal. His incrimination seems imminent as he notices many subtleties that suggest the authorities are onto him. These implications are especially apparent as he is complaining about the mechanical hound threatening him at the station - then makes the possible connection. "Montag ...stood thinking of the ventilator grille at home and what lay behind the grille. If someone here in the fire house knew about the ventilator then mightn't they 'tell' the Hound ...?" (Fahrenheit 451, 25) As in 1984, this...

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