''Repent, Harlequin!'' Said the Ticktockman Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 38 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of ''Repent, Harlequin!'' Said the Ticktockman.
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Conformity and Individualism

In "'Repent, Harlequin!' Said the Ticktockman," Ellison clearly sets his hero, the Harlequin, in opposition to both the totalitarian regime of the Ticktockman and the master schedule and to the masses of people who choose to conform to the strictures of the society. His opening quotation from Thoreau makes this clear. Thoreau argues that most people serve the state without thinking and without moral reflection. Consequently, for Thoreau, these people have no more worth than "horses and dogs." Real heroes, then, are those who "serve the state with their consciences." Ellison draws on Thoreau's image of "wooden men" who "can perhaps be manufactured" in his description of shift workers heading for their jobs: "With practiced motion and an absolute conservation of movement, they sidestepped up onto the slow-strip and (in a chorus line reminiscent of a Busby Berkeley film of the antediluvian 1930s) advanced across...

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This section contains 694 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the ''Repent, Harlequin!'' Said the Ticktockman Study Guide
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''Repent, Harlequin!'' Said the Ticktockman from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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