Conformity and Individuality

Published: 2021-06-26 21:05:03
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Category: Individuality

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What have the students of Gordon high school learned about individuality and conformity? How has Rhue conveyed their experiences to the responder? In the book “The wave”, Morton Rhue conveys his idea of the conformity through the introduction of the organization called “the wave” and its impact upon students in Gordon High. At the same time, his opinions towards individuality are expressed through the personal experience and the behavior of the non-wave members. Conformity is not just a simple inclination to the majority. To take it further, conformity is actually a kind of “symptom” when a person gradually loses his control over himself.
In other words, conformity is a compromise to the community in exchange for the recognition from the public by giving up own ideas and thoughts. In addition, people who conform together would feel superior compared to others who are not parts of them. That’s why the fascism towards a particular thing spreads faster and faster. Through the motto, ‘Strength through discipline”, Morton Rhue shows the idea of brainwashing, the essential process which creates conformity among a group. Motto is a phrase that shows a broad and shared vision of the group.
In fact, motto is the most effective instrument of doctrinisation. It is required to brainwash members of a group in order to clear their concerns and help to establish loyalty towards the group. The commission to the motto shows a person’s determination to the ideology conveyed by the group. When students in the histroy chanted, the repetition of “Strength through discipline” made them believe that they had actually become stronger than before and meanwhile they felt excited and powerful because everyone’s identical reaction created sense of unity in the class.
Morton Ruhe also expresses the fear brought by “The wave” through the anonymous letter in chapter 11. The fear towards “The wave” is directly reflected by the anonymity of the letter. The reason why it is anonymous is that the boy who writes the letter is afraid of being accused of his resistane to the group. The fact that the letter could have been written by a junior student shows the impact of the wave has extended beyond the initial group but to almost the whole school. The content of the letter, “He even said I would lose all my friends if I don’t join.
I think he was trying to scare me”, reveals the fact that some of those new members are attracted by “the wave” itself while most are persuaded by their friends or even forced to attend the party-like event. This emphasizes the fear caused by “The wave”. As the power of “the wave” increases, students’ fear and concerns upon it increases as well. Only by conforming to the group, can they be free from the discrimination and accepted by the majority and this makes the expansion of “The wave” faster and more uncontrollable.
In addition, through the incidence of bully happened to a jewish boy, Morton Rhue communicates the sense of superiority and absolute power across the group. Though the fact was not clear, it was noted that after thoses lads were separated by teachers, those beaters gave a salute of Wave. Just as Mr. Saunders said, “There was even some uncertainty over whether it was over The Wave, or whether The Wave was just an excuse the hoods had used to start a fight”, “The wave” might have become an excuse for violence becasue they thought there were superior and hence eligible to bully others.
The fact that no one stood out to help that jewish boy shows the power of “the wave” is immutable and has taken over the justice in the school. In contrast, individuality occurs when a person stays different from the majority. Individuals, or dissenters, who hold different ideas are always treated as so-called “nerds” and become marginalized. By referring to the personal experience of Laurie, Morton Rhue illustrates the idea of individuality from different aspects. By showing the disruption of the school caused by wave, Morton Rhue conveys the idea that individuality is fragile compared to conformity.
At first, only a few are wave members, however, it got more and more people into the system. It is because individuality is harder to hold. Being the one who stands against “the wave” means you have to incur wrath and despise from others. Therefore, it requires extremely stubbornness in mind to bear and resist the external peer pressure. Morton Rhue also expresses that the awareness of individuality can be achieved through effective communication. The talk between Laurie and her mother induced Laurie’s concern over “the wave” and she successfully overcome the pressure with the support from her family.
Effective communication and backing are very important in terms of the maintenance of individuality. Furthermore, Morton Rhue emphasizes the importance of individuality by comparing Laurie to the others. Determination and persistence of Laurie proved that she was right at the end. This shows that individuality is vital for a group to be instructed towards a positive direction. In conclusion, conformity and individuality are two completely different characteristics of people. Conformity is more influential while individuality is fragile. There is not absolute right or wrong between conformity and individuality.
People would conform because they will be fairly treated and accepted by the majority when they acknowledged to the same belief. At the meantime, people would dissent from the community because they strongly believe in themselves and hold ideas which actually would help to improve the community in action. Neither of conformity and individuality can be justified but they need to be balanced in order to achieve a stable society. Conformity is required regarding to the ethical rules and laws in the world. Yet individuality is also needed as it is important that people have their own ideas and behavior in terms of self-conviction.

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