Check out our new design. Click here to return to old version

Individualism and Collectivism

Individualism is the concept of relying on one’s self and being independent. In other words, individualism can be explained as an oral stance, ideology, political philosophy and a social outlook that lays its emphasis on the moral worth of the person. Individualists are people who promote their desires and goals and hence they are self-reliant and dictate their own behaviors. They fight against external forces that interfere with their interests. Collectivism is a practice where a group is given priority over the people in it (Odets, 1962). In this outlook, the interdependence of each human being in the society is given a lot of weight. It stresses in the necessity of cohesion within social groups and in this case individual priorities the group over his or her own interests. In both Waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets and on the waterfront we observe the struggle between Individualism and Collectivism (Schulberg, 2012). Constant strive is created through speaking for greater goods. Below is a description of why these individuals face such fears.

The film On the Waterfront is about conflict of values. Marlon Brando who is also the main character plays a former boxer and a longshoreman who is unintentionally engaged with crooked labor unions the murder of young Joey. He works as a puppet for the corrupt bosses in the film. In this film,  we constantly see the conflict of values because there are people who have embodied truth and law while on the other hand corruption prevails. Brando’s Terry Malloy is a man who has lost in a crucial boxing fight having been induced by his brother. He plays a man whose conscience is torn between two sides. He is asked by Le to spy and monitor Barry who is also Malden’s father and Eva Saint’s Edie. Terry witnesses their good intentions but at first he is suspicious and mocks them. Terry gets confused because he wants to help Edie and also wants to meet the expectations of Johnny and Charley. The two key themes that emerge in this film are brotherly loyalty and political betrayal.

Individualism is an aspect that has been well brought out in this film. Terry is going through a lot of hardships because of Friendly who is a self –centered person. Friendly is an individualist because he is motivated by his interests to make tarnish the working environment with corruption.

Corruption is he vice that has triggered strike by workers in this movie. Terry after facing inner conflicts he realizes the necessity of joining the rest of the workers as they struggle to get their rights. He joins the other group he had been sent to spy, and they start a mobilization amongst the rest of the workers so that they can join them in the strike. We see collectivism taking the lead in this situation as workers are joining hands to curb oppression. A Molley fight against Anthony who is portrays individuality by betraying the members of the union. Anthony brings to light the evils such as corruption that were going in the group. He is his individual desire to fight against corruption that leads to betray. The group plans murder as a way of resolving their challenges. All the group members support the move but reveal everything and therefore, the group finds it hard to continue with their movement against corruption.

There are two phases that are displayed in the movie; the worker union hat fights with solidarity and another union that is under siege. There is complete collectivism in the first union because they are ready to do anything to stop the oppression that is going on. The other union faces  a lot of internal conflict because some of the members are so uncooperative and they are even testifying amongst themselves.

The play waiting for Lefty by Clifford Odets talks about the union movements by employees because they have been disappointed by their bosses. Collectivism is widely spread ,and communism is what the worker eye as the protest to strike. The tax drivers pointed out striking as the best option to seek the attention of their bosses’ .This approach to listen to their grievances.ch would also force their bosses. The only people who missed in the strike were military workers and the people who were in the forefront organizing the strike. Even after they realize that their union leader had been murdered by their boss they still continue to fight for their rights. Collectivism is further portrayed because the author makes the presence of Lefty crucial although the union does not collapse with his absence. His absence makes the protest very difficult. Collectivism remains to be a dominant feeling throughout the play and there character who offer themselves to help smoothen the situation for the community (Schulberg, (2012).

However, there are characters that are portrayed as individualists. There are not ready to cooperate with the rest of the people in the union ,and this is for their own good. Harry Fatt is a character who tries to counter by the union committee, and through his actions he portrays individualism. He is a corrupt pretender who is driven by hypocrisy. Although most characters have different ambitions and goals they cooperate in the movements for the good of the society. Joe is a taxi driver who is very vibrant in the strike. He is also in the most active union committee member.

Conclusion

The aspects of individualism and collectivism have been well brought out in both the play and the movie. In both cases, the workers strike as they fight for their rights and they face an opposition force which makes their task complicated. In both cases, betray is witnessed.