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Conformity over individuality in the context of H. G. Wellss short story, The Country of the Blind,

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Tsang Tsang Lo Ping, Jeremy 1155033070 Professor Evelyn Chan ENGE1000A 28 October 2012 2. Literary works express both the common and the individual. Explore this statement critically using one or more of the literary works discussed in the lectures on literature so far. Literary works express both the common and the individual. In the context of H. G. Wells?s short story, The Country of the Blind, Nunez, a mountaineer who accidentally fell to the enclosed, secluded and self-sufficient valley in the Ecuadorian Andes, was the only person capable of sight there. He struggled to reign over the Country of the Blind through persuasion and violence, both to little avail. Nunez is defined as ?the individual? in this particular context, whereas the people of the Country of the Blind are ?the common? in that they are not individuated and are very often described as a whole in the story. This essay argues that conformity overpowers individuality and ultimately leads to a loss of intellectuality with regard to Nunez?s internal struggle and external conflict with the villagers. To begin with, let?s look at how closely related conformity and individuality are. ...read more.


He tried at first on several occasions to tell them of sight and ?enlighten? the blind. One morning Nunez saw Pedro on path Seventeen and prophesied the appearance of Pedro. However, Pedro turned and went transversely into path Ten, so Nunez was mocked by those villagers. He then initiated to describe all that happened among the houses. Nunez noted certain goings and comings, but the things that really seemed to signify to the villagers happened inside of or behind the ?windowless houses? ? the only things they took note of to test by him. Nunez felt ostracized and humiliated and it wasn?t until then he resorted to force. He snatched up a spade and intended to hit the villagers. But it turned out he wasn?t prepared to do it after all. He kept a making a mental note to himself ? ?should he charge them?. The ?canker of civilization? got to him and made him feel it a horror to strike the blind men. He then made a dash and escaped from the valley. This is where Nunez?s rebellion and individuality came to an end. ...read more.


This story very much resonates with and mirrors the reality. In real life, H. G. Wells was an atheist and socialist. He believed in elitism and a world where the government plays a big role. Intelligent, competent individuals should be given the power to decide for the less civilized and ill-educated group. The common take many things for granted and are unappreciated to the individuals? contributions and intellectuality, and that results in the tragic ending of the story. Nunez, in a way, personifies Wells and other intellects at that time in which he tried to enlighten the conservative and superstitious masses. Wells challenges and defamiliarizes different socially constructed norms throughout the entire story, for instance, the general perception of beauty, the ability of sight. The Country of the Blind is thereupon a critique of the masses and a metaphor for a Utopian world where individuality is respected and rewarded. Perhaps humanity?s greatest desire is to belong and connect. When this need to fit in, to gain acceptance and recognition dominates one?s individual aspirations, beliefs and values, conformity takes place. Nunez?s acquiescence and submission to the common at the risk of losing his sight illustrates just how pathetic the situation can get. After all, anyone can fit in anywhere. It?s simply a matter of what one is willing to sacrifice. ...read more.

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