Conformity vs. Individuality in Fahrenheit 451

Categories: Dystopia
About this essay

The statement of conformity vs individuality is incredibly intricate, so we must comprehend each word. Merriam Webster accurately defines conformity as “action in accordance with some specified standard or authority” while individuality is defined as “a total character peculiar to a distinguishing an individual from others.”The remarkable book that accurately describes these two words is undoubtedly the book Fahrenheit 451 which was created by Ray Bradbury. In the text, the society that Montag lives in shows that Montag’s individuality triumphed over society’s conformity but it did come with its own dangerous consequences like him losing his marriage with Mildred, him losing everything he possessed and him becoming much more violent.

During this whole book, their marriage has been tested like Mildred when Mildred is addicted to her family in the parlor walls but it ended when Mildred ratted him out to the firemen. Ever since Montag introduced Mildred to the books she was always skeptical about the idea of having books in her house which precedes her in the third part of the book to rat her out to the conformity of the book who are the firemen.

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After he brings Montag to his house, it states “The front door opened; Mildred came down the steps, running, one suitcase held with a dreamlike clenching rigidity in her fist, as a beetle-taxi hissed to the curb” (Bradbury 114) From the explicit evidence from the text it shows Mildred left because of Montag’s obsession with books which caused him to lose interest in his job and track down people that appreciate books such as Faber.

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In addition, Mildred could be embarrassed by him because when he recites poetry to Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles, one of them started to cry while the other one was soothing her which then they were talking about how nasty poetry is which then Montag gets furious at them so he kicks them out. Thirdly, in the quotation, it says she has a suitcase and a taxi and normally a suitcase it used to carry clothing or something like that if you were to go on vacation and a taxi represents the transportation used to go someplace so she’s probably leaving him forever. In conclusion, Mildred left Montag because she wanted Montag’s individuality to stay constricted in the society’s conformity because after Montag brings home books and tells Mildred which she’s most of the time against the idea.

If you were to destroy all of your hard work and everything you have ever done, made or owned would you do it, well that’s what Montag had to do? To give some context about the situation, Mildred ratted him out to the figure of conformity in the story who is the firemen which caused Beatty to force him to light everything in the house and outside of the house on fire which is not what regular fireman to do after being found out with books. “I want you to do this job all by your lonesome, Montag. Not with kerosene and a match, but a flamethrower. Your house, your clean-up.” (Bradbury 116) In that quotation, it shows that instead of using the typical materials to burn books, in this case, a house he didn’t use kerosene and a match instead he’s wielding a flamethrower. After doing much research kerosene’s autoignition is between 220 °C while a flamethrower’s 1,000 °C which shows that he always comes prepared if he needs to carry out a more significant job but also it indicates that since the books mean so important to him he wants to burn the quick and easy which why he might have used a flamethrower instead of a match and kerosene because it can burn more rapidly. Generally speaking, Montag had it coming for him after trying to suppress all the books from the firemen because one way or another a neighbor will rat you out which you will suffer from.

Throughout the book Fahrenheit 451 Montag’s character has become increasingly more aggressive and much more violent with the fact of him rebelling against society’s conformity while nobody stood by his side. To clarify, after Montag burned down his whole house as demand from Beatty, Beatty discovers Faber who is speaking to Montag through his ear and that’s when he shows a lot of his violence but also when he was with Mrs. Knowles and the other girl. In the text, it states, “And then he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling gibbering mannikin, no longer human or known, all writhing flame on the lawn as Montag shot one continuous pulse of fire on him.”(Bradbury 119). We can see is that he set fire to the fire captain Beatty utilizing the flamethrower he used to demolish his house which seems like an overexaggerated response to what was happening around him. If several other people react to this, they may merely fight him, punch him, assault him, or kick him but also Clarisse said that people are now killing each other which shows that. In conclusion, the violence in this book Fahrenheit 451 is a flaw in society’s system because several people are miserable with being unable to do anything enjoyable in life such as reading books so they are melancholy just like Montag.

In today’s society we wouldn’t have any leaders like Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, Martin Lurther King Jr, or Jackie Robinson if it weren’t for the conformity that caused them to become strong leaders but with consequences such as getting assassinated or being sent to prison. Therefore in Montag’s society since Montag has risen up and become an extremely influential individual because he triumphed over the conformity of the books who are the fireman but with consequences such as him losing his wedded wife Mildred, he simmers to ashes everything he possesses and him becoming much more violent as a person. In conclusion, even though conformity controls what we accomplish in which this case the government but we need our individuality to determine our actions, common sense, have fun, and keep life interesting.

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Conformity vs. Individuality in Fahrenheit 451. (2020, Nov 21). Retrieved from

Conformity vs. Individuality in Fahrenheit 451
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