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Conformity in Fahrenheit 451

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by

Bradley Priem

on 2 October 2014

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Transcript of Conformity in Fahrenheit 451

Conformity

Conformity is one of the leading themes in Fahrenheit 451. The society in which the story takes place installs strict social regulations on its population, coercing the public to act the same, behave the same, and think the same. Citizens are a part of a population seemingly brainwashed by the oppressive government that controls their daily lives.
Conformity in Fahrenheit 451
Quote #1
"I'm antisocial, they say. I don't mix. It's so strange. I'm very social indeed. It all depends on what you mean by social, doesn't it? Social to me means talking to you about things like this." (31)
Quote #2
"The important thing for you to remember, Montag, is we're the Happiness Boys. the Dixie Due, you and I and the others. We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought. We have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don't let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world." (66)
Quote #3
"Beatty snorted. 'Oh, no! You weren't fooled by that little idiot's routine, now, were you? Flowers, butterflies, leaves, sunsets, oh, hell! It's all in her file.'" (123)
Quote #4
"'Well,' said Beatty, 'the crisis is past and all is well, the sheep returns to the fold. We're all sheep who have strayed at times.'" (115)
Quote #5
"'Was it my wife who turned me in?'

Beatty nodded. 'But her friend sturned in an alarm earlier that I let ride.'" (128)
Quote #6
"Mrs. Bowles stood up and glared at Montag. 'You see? I knew it, that's what I wante3d to prove! I knew it would happen! I've always said, poetry and tears, poetry and suicide and crying and awful feelings, poetry and sickness; all that mush!'" (109)
How conformity is present
Conformity is found throughout the novel. The people in the story live the same mundane lives every single day. The men go to work and the women stay at home and watch the TV walls. The lives of the people in this book are very bland and ordinary. Those who against the social norm are seen as rebels against the government and are viewed as such. For example, Montag did not conform to social standards by reading a prohibited book in front of his wife's friends. Since this was against the no-book standard set by the government, the women were afraid of Montag and reported him.
This quote shows the conformity expected from the firemen. Beatty makes a direct comparison between firemen and sheep in a flock. Both are supposed to blindly follow the crowd of which they are a part without any questions asked. Beatty's acknowledgment of straying from the flock shows how he knows that at some times all firemen question their jobs but they always come back because of the influence of conformity.
The denouncement of Clarisse's character exemplifies the presence of conformity in the novel. Clarisse is one of the only characters who lives her life happily and uniquely. She spends time outdoors and plays in the rain and asks a lot of questions-- all activities looked down upon by society. The government kept a file on Clarisse because she was unique and original; the government feared her individuality and monitored her actions.
This quote relates to conformity because it shows how the majority of the public would rather obey the government than stand by their loved ones in certain situations. In this situation, Montag reads a prohibited book to his wife and her friends. The friends, terrified by books and scared of getting in trouble, immediately report him to the government. Rather than standing by her own husband, Mildred also turns Montag in. Her choice to notify the government of her husband's actions successfully shows how people in this society do anything the government tells them.
Mrs. Bowles represents conformity by becoming outraged by Montag's book. She, along with the rest of society, was taught thatoks were awful creations and can only harm people. The government brainwashed Mrs. Bowles and she believed the lies told to her. She vehemently denounces books because that is what the government taught her to do.
This quote shows the social stigma held against creative and unique people by the oppressive society in the novel. Those who are outgoing and talktative and questioning are often considered crazy or antisocial and are subjected to psychological evaluation. The pressure to be quiet and dull pushes people to not share their ideas or express originality.
This quote demonstrates how the firemen censor the public from intellectual works and prohibit people from reading books. Their job is to control people's curiosity and desire for knowledge by destroying books and detaining those in custody of prohibited literary materials. They equate those who do not wish to abide by society's standards to rebels and try to stifle their presence in the world, thereby preserving ignorance among the public and associating ignorance with happiness.
Bradley Priem
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