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Word Count: 1,103
My investigation examined the theme of individuality vs conformity The texts I have chosen gave an effective portrayal of this The texts I selected included One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest by Ken Kesey Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Swarthout Fahrenheit 451by Ray Bradbury and Brave New World a novel by Aldous Huxley Each of these texts expressed the theme of individuality vs conformity in a different way depending on the setting and the main character but for each character the consequences of asserting his individuality was tragic How did the social setting demand conformity from the characters and why does the main character not conform In One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest the setting was a psychiatric hospital which reflected society and the order that was forced on the patients reflected the pressures of modern American society The authority -represented by Big Nurse- demanded conformity by humiliating the patients and exploiting their weaknesses Mc Murphy the main character in the novel did not conform at first because he hoped to exploit the patients and make some money and later because he felt compassion for the other inmates He challenged Nurse Ratcheds authority which showed the other inmates that she was not all-powerful and helped them become more assertive In Bless the Beasts and Children the setting was a Boys Summer Camp which demanded conformity by enforcing competition and humiliating the losers The Bedwetters could not conform because they were emotionally disturbed being neglected by their parents John Cotton the leader challenged the authority by leading them on a quest to free the buffalos He was motivated by compassion for the disturbed children and the buffalo Both these novels offered a criticism of modern American society and how it represses individuality and differences Both Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World were dystopias an unpleasant society set in the future The future setting of Fahrenheit 451 demanded conformity by making firemen
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