Come on, Christina. Everybody’s doing it. It’s fine! Christina knew that it was not right, but everyone was doing it. What’s the problem with it? This is a common issue that most everybody will be faced with. Do I give in or do I stand up for what I believe in? This is the same problem that Guy Montag faces. Does he read the books that he thinks will give him truth and knowledge, which is against the law, or does he not in fear that he would be caught? This common issue is conformity, or a type of social influence involving change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group in response to real (involving the physical presence of others) or imagined (involving the pressure of social norms/expectations) group pressure (McLeod). Ray Bradbury develops the theme of In a battle between doing what is right and conforming to society, both options cause actions that can have a negative result, by having Montag go through a big decision about whether to commit to books.
In the beginning of the novel, the theme is introduced through Clarisse, who sparks the conflict in Montag in which he can choose books or society. We can immediately sense the pressure of conformity mounting upon Montag, as shown on page 21, where it says, He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other (Bradbury 21). He is wrestling with the pressures of being a member of society and being active in it, but at the same time, his gut instinct is telling him that something is messed up in the world that they live in (Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse McClellan Quotes).
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