Conformity In Harlan Ellison's 'Said The Ticktockman'

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English 102-011 24 March 2009 Challenging the Status Quo Authors write stories that present characters attempting to rebel against societal expectations in order to challenge readers to question their own tendencies to conform to different situations. “’Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” by Harlan Ellison is one such story. In “’Repent, Harlequin!’ Said the Ticktockman” one of the main characters, Everett C. Marm, is the rebel. Often referred to as the Harlequin, Everett C. Marm rebels against the status quo. He challenges the accepted societal norm of punctuality and its importance to the smooth functioning of society. The author is telling the reader to examine the importance of time and conformity in his or her life rather…show more content…
He attempts to disrupt the punctuality and normal flow of everyday life. Wearing a costume resembling that of a joker, he pulls various pranks which are designed to get society to question the importance of time in their lives. The seven minute delay he caused was a result of a prank he pulled when he flew over a shift of workers who had just boarded the slidewalks and dropped one hundred and fifty thousand dollars’ worth of jelly beans on them. The shift workers laughed and laughed as the jelly beans worked their way into the mechanisms of the slidewalks causing them to come to a stop. The shift workers fell every which way still laughing and enjoying the whole situation. However, the slidewalks stopping caused the seven minute delay which then had a ripple effect on the Master Schedule. The Harlequin had succeeded in disrupting the normal flow of everyday life and although the shift workers thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing, it was not enough to cause them to rebel against the status quo. The Harlequin continued pulling pranks challenging the status quo. When he appears on the still-being-constructed shell of the new Efficiency Shopping Center he uses a bullhorn to convey his message. “Why let them order you about? Why let them tell you to hurry and scurry like ants or maggots? Take your time!...Don’t be slaves of time…down with the Ticktockman!” (Ellison 436). He wants
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