With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility

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As the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury explores the theme of conformity vs. individuality, characters demonstrate both the dangers and rewards of each.
First, the characters demonstrate the pros and cons that come with conformity. Guy Montag’s originally simple and organized life lets him find great pleasure in simple things: ‘It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blachened and changed.” Also, Montag’s and his wife’s biggest worry is “how long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wasll torn out and a fourth wall-T.V. put in?” This is all Montag has to worry about because all he knows are his simple pleasures and ways of making them better. Moreover, Montag feels almost no negative emotions and is able to easily with the loss of his closest companion; had he have really lost her “he was certain he wouldn’t cry.” But this choice to conform to the standards of society brings with it negative results. Montag’s life is incomplete as he begins to change when he says to Clairesse, “You think too many things.” He says this uneasily at the slowly revealing fact that this 16, almost 17, year old girl thinks, knows, and understands things that “made him quite irratable.” Along with these two problems, Montag also becomes very confident in his ignorance of the truth and he shows this when he says, “Houses have always been fireproof, take my word for it.” Because Montag never takes the time to think about things and he believes everything he is told he stays this way for some time after he says this.

Second and last, through Montag’s and others characters, the novel is able to show how both enriching and frightening individuality can be. Montag’s choice later in the book to become an individualist allows him to be able to have time to think about everything in his life in detail: “The sun burnt everyday. It burnt time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years...
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