Conformist Society Essay Research Paper Society divides

Conformist Society Essay, Research Paper

Society divides people into two categories; those who conform to

what is expected, and those who do not. Webster s dictionary defines conformity

as, similarity in form or character; correspondence; agreement; action or behaviour

in correspondence with current customs, rules or styles. When a person fails to

measure up to certain expectations, those in power inflict consequences. Under

these circumstances, it is human nature to feel the need to rebel, either externally or

internally. These statements are apparent in both 1984 and One Flew Over

The Cuckoo s Nest. Both main characters fall into the non-conformist category, but

in two very different ways.

In 1984, the main character Winston Smith, lives in a society of rules and

regulation, which is written in stone. The laws are strict and the punishment is

swift, should they be disobeyed. Expectations form any large or small community

and rules define the way it should behave. The Party is the one and only figure of

power in the book. It maintains control over the people by removing a few basic

human instincts. The first instinct is hate. All people in the society are expected to be

united and act as one, even if it means losing their own identity, Oh comrade , she

began .It was Mrs. Parson s, the wife of a neighbour on the same floor. Mrs was a

word somewhat discountenanced by the Party- you were supposed to call everyone

comrade (20). By forcing all of the people to call each other comrade , the Party

attempts to remove any spark of originality from the people. In many cases, it has

always been the individuals that have caused the most uproar.


The Party dictates that people should love Big Brother (the figurehead),

hate Goldstien (the enemy) and outsiders. All personal written material is strictly

forbidden, as well as sex, love or any marriage that was unapproved by the Party.

The aim of the Party was not merely to prevent men and women from

forming loyalties which it might not be able to control. It s real,

undeclared purpose was to remove all pleasure from the sexual act

.The Party was trying to kill the sex instinct, or, if it could not be

killed, then to distort it and dirty it (21).

The Party s rules ensure that there is no loyalty except to the Party, and no love,

expect for the love of Big Brother. They exercise this tactic in order to submit the

human mind solely to the Party. Winston Smith, however, feels the need to revolt

against such strict rules in order to feel human again. He assumes that the best

form of rebellion lies in being blatant in his disagreement with the Party. Winston

therefore goes against everything he has ever been taught by those in control,

For a moment, he was seized by a kind of hysteria. He began writing

in an untidy scrawl: theyll shoot me I don t care they ll shoot me

in the back of the neck I don t care down with big brother they

always shoot you in the back of the neck I don t care down with big brother (21).

Winston falls in love and has sex with a fellow member of the Party. He also

commits thoughtcrime, the most deadly of all crimes in his society. This

unpardonable sin is the giving in to thoughts which are not pure. It may take the

form of treason, hate, or simply sexual attraction. If caught, the punishment is

forced labour or in extreme cases, death. Winston explains it best when he says,

Thoughtcrime does not entail death. Thoughtcrime IS death (30). Through all this,

Winston does not care. He exhibits a natural feeling of freedom from care and rules.


However, there are serious consequences for Winston s actions. One cannot outrun

those in a high position of power for long. Every human knows that, if he commits a

crime, one day he must pay for it. Winston knows that the day he wrote in his

journal (his first offence) made him a dead man,

He was already dead, he reflected. It seemed to him that it was

only now, when he had begun to be able to formulate his thoughts,

that he had taken the decisive step. The consequences of every act

are included in the act itself (30).

Winston discovers he is right. The Party knew all along. Winston demonstrates that

one should not underestimate higher powers,

We are the priests of power .The first thing you must realize

is that power is collective. The individual only has power so

long as he ceases to be an individual .Already our control

over matter is absolute (277).

As seen in 1984, if under authority s thumb for an extended period of time,

some people will…

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