Individuals and Society

Topics: Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell, Fahrenheit 451 Pages: 3 (1070 words) Published: January 19, 2011
The relationship between individuals and society has been a topic of debates for generations. In these debates, individuality has been given various definitions which can be grossly summarised as “The aggregate of qualities and characteristics that distinguish one person or thing from others” ( It has been also argued that “The irony of individuality is that sometimes it is a luxury that can only be achieved by contributing something special to the group. True individualists are often innovators.” ( Interestingly, individuals may innovate by rebelling against societies, to the extent that the latter are a reflection of the ideology of the ruling parties. It follows that the act of standing up against the beliefs of a society or government is in itself a characteristic of individuality, one, however, that may prove very dangerous. This idea is encapsulated in Voltaire’s saying that “It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong”. Although some people believe that one should remain passive, as, according to Voltaire, it is dangerous to turn against a corrupt regime, Orwell’s “1984” and Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” demonstrate that citizens should take action against oppression and violation of human rights.

It is believed by many people that going against greater powers, such as governments and regimes, poses many dangers varying from marginalisation to extermination and that, for this reason, one should remain passive. The dangers hidden in rebelling against societies are illustrated in famous dystopian novels. For instance, in Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451”, Clarisse, an unconventional seventeen-year-old girl, refuses to abide by the rules of society and behaves very differently from other citizens. She enjoys taking walks outside and observing the environment and is interested in knowing the causes of things, which is banned by the...
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