Conformity And Individuality In The Island By Armin Greder

Acceptance and vulnerability are prominent ideas within the concept’s conformity and individualism. The picture book, The Island, written by Armin Greder (2007) highlights these ideas about conformity and the individual. The book follows the journey of a conformist society that struggles to embrace individuality in its community. These ideas are explored through the townsfolk and the outsider using both visual and language techniques.

The Island explores significant ideas about conformity, like the desire to be accepted by the people around you, to help reinforce conformity in today’s society. This idea about conformity is portrayed throughout The Island to demonstrate how everyone has conformed to expectations in order to keep up positive appearances. “Some people agreed with the fisherman, but the others were louder,” is a metaphor depicting the concept of conformity implying that conformity is more powerful and louder than individualism. The quote suggests that some of the townsfolk agreed with helping the outsider however, their fear of being ridiculed stopped them from speaking up against the rest of the community because their ideas about the stranger were overwhelming and overpowering. 1950s gender expectations are also portrayed within The Island. The women are illustrated cooking and cleaning suggesting that that was their only role within society as a result of the hierarchy. The contrast between the women staying at home while the men go to bars conveys that women were expected to conform to society and become the typical housewife or they would be rejected and excluded from the rest of the community. Therefore, The Island explores the concept of conformity through the idea of acceptance and our desire for approval.

Individualism is explored throughout The Island stating that being unique and an individual makes people feel exposed and vulnerable in a modern society. The Island illustrates this idea about individuality by establishing that being an individual exposes us to reality and brings to light the cruelty, fear and the negative consequences that follow. The contrast between the naked stranger and the fully clothed townsfolk depicts the outsider’s individuality while also portraying the prejudices the townsfolk have toward him and what he represents. The contrast suggests that being an individual makes you susceptible to discrimination because the idea of breaking away from tradition is intimidating and something that is formidable. The stranger’s displacement within the community is also evident in “he wasn’t like them.” This quote signifies the individuality of the foreigner as it is detached from the rest of the paragraph. This reinforces the idea of how peculiar and different he was from the rest of society and emphasises the towns hesitance towards change and new things. Therefore, individuality is explored throughout The Island through the idea that individualism makes us vulnerable and exposed to the cruel judgement of a conformist society.

Thus, it is evident that conformity and individualism are explored successfully in The Island. Conformity and the individualism are expressed through the ideas of acceptance and vulnerability.  

16 December 2021
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