The Ups and Downs of Conformity Essay

The Ups and Downs of Conformity Essay

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The question of individualism vs. conformity comes to mind when dealing with the human psyche. Some people value being independent and self-sufficient, while some like to keep themselves in the confines of conformity. The American society tends to lean towards the conformist point of view and it is mostly due to the effects of media. Americans crave the idea of association and strive to become the individuals that the media deems worthy. Conformity is a quality that is present in the hierarchy of American society. It brings a psychological feeling of correlating with a group and creates the notion of liberation from solitude.
Individualism is the idea of being self-reliant and favoring non-conformity. It is often seen as outlandish and bizarre and individualists tend to be ostracized by society. Individualism is not present in American society because people value the common American ideals. Qualities outside the norm are treated with distaste. A prime example of individualism vs. conformity would be the European colonization of Africa. The African people were exposed to the norms of European society and were taught that it was universal. Africans had the choice of either conforming to this “universal norm” or staying true to their ancient culture. Those who sided with conformists believed that obedience guaranteed them safety. Individualists on the other hand, who valued their venerable civilization, did not receive the same benefits that the conformists did. They were less successful because they did not fit with the changing society. The story Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe tells of this tale. The protagonist Okonkwo was an individualist who did not want change. He did not agree with the colonists’ point of view and decide...


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Patrick, Monica, and Demand Media. "The Advantages of Conformity in the Workplace." Small Business. Chron, n.d. Web. 26 May 2014. .
Sesok, Christina M. "Surviving Teaching." The Dangers of Conformity, According to Lois Lowry's The Giver. Blogspot, 16 Mar. 2014. Web. 26 May 2014. .
Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Awakening Identity Quotes Page 1." Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 26 May 2014. .
Shpancer, Noam. "You Are a Conformist (that Is, You Are Human)." Psychology Today. Psychology Today, 5 Dec. 2010. Web. 26 May 2014. .

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