Comparison of the Individual in Freuds "Civilization and Its Discontents", Buford's "Among the Thugs" and Weir's "The Truman Show"

Essay by billyp933University, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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What is exactly is an individual? defines an individual as follows:



a.Marked by or expressing individuality; distinctive or individualistic

b.Special; particular

c.Serving to identify or set apart (

According to the dictionary, an individual is unique and therefore should be able to be set apart from others without much difficulty. The question at hand now is, does civilization remove the identifying aspects of unique individuals and mesh them into one similar entity? Throughout the literary works of Bill Buford and Sigmund Freud, as well as the film directed by Peter Weir, this question is met and answered. In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud places particular stress on the fact that the individual cannot find pure happiness when placed in a civilization because it demands different things than that of the individual. Like Freud, director Peter Weir in his film, The Truman Show depicts Truman battling to find his own unique individuality in a staged utopian civilization.

Bill Buford uses his book, Among the Thugs, to demonstrate how a civilization, which in his book is mainly symbolized by a violent mob, dissolves individual identity. His work shows how a civilization of individuals can accomplish things never thought capable of being done alone. Freud's work implies that individuality poses a conflict with civilization demands and therefore civilization should be abandoned. Along with Freud, Wier focuses on Truman's struggles between his fake life and his individual dreams. Buford, writes about his struggles and pressures to join somewhat of a civilization and focuses on demonstrating the transition of an individual into an altered and somewhat forced character demanded by a surrounding society.

In Civilization and Its Discontents, Freud states his views on the broad question of man's place in the world. Freud characterizes the world as an...