Technology and Society in Fahrenheit 451 Thesis Statement: Analysis how the dependence on the advanced technology shapes the society in the novel Fahrenheit 451 Table Of Contents
- Introduction: Explanation of the notion of dystopia
- The social and political situation in the world of Fahrenheit 451
- The role of firemen in Fahrenheit 451 society
- Montag’s job and the events making him question the society
- How the encounter with the woman who owned books influenced Montag
- Examples and ways of technology’s influence over people
- Connection between reading books and having independent thoughts in the novel
- Conclusion: The way the excessive dependence on technology and entertainment makes people lose control over their lives
Do you think that living in a technical world would destroy society? Well, in Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, technology is very advanced and seems to get people’s attention. “You’re not important. You’re not anything” (Bradbury 163). Fahrenheit 451 is explained as a dystopian literature. Such literature portrays an imaginary world where misguided attempts to create a utopia, or a socially and politically perfect place, results in “large scale human misery. ” (Critique by Michael M. Levy)
This quote makes you realize that technology is taking over humans and the world has to do something about it. By creating an “utopia”, Fahrenheit 451 requires the government to take away citizen’s rights and freedoms to create the perfect society. Fahrenheit 451 is expressed as so “frightening in its implications” [New York Times], and so ironically simplistic in its word choice. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the novel devoted to denouncing the adage, “Ignorance is bliss”.
The social and political situation in the world of Fahrenheit 451
This novel provides a glance into a bleak world similar to our own (almost too similar) where war is common, feelings are shunned, family is non-existent, and thought is no longer an individual’s query. To facilitate this last criterion of Bradbury’s world, books have been banned, condemned to be burned on sight along with their possessors. And who should be the policemen of this world of ignorance? The “firemen” are not unlike the firemen in our world today, they dress alike, drive big trucks, and wail their loud sirens.
The role of firemen in Fahrenheit 451 society
There is one fundamental difference, however-these firemen start fires; they cleanse the evil books of their existence. And who should personify the heartless, unfeeling, cold fireman but Guy Montag. “So it was the hand that started it all . . . His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms . . . His hands were ravenous. ” (Bradbury, Fahrenheit, pt. 1). This quote demonstrates Montag’s position on destruction. His career told him to destroy, and in this society, destruction was a heroic duty.
Montag is like all the others at the commencement of the novel: loving his job and never questioning an authority that has never given him any reason to obey. This all changes though when, while walking home from work, he encounters a young girl named Clarisse, who, through her innocence and oblivion to the world around her, shows him that society is crumbling around him and that he can be a part of the solution, not as everyone else is-the problem.
Montag’s job and the events making him question the society
“You’re not like the others. I’ve seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me. When I said something about the moon, you looked at the moon, last night. The others would never do that. The others would walk off and leave me talking. Or threaten me. No one has time any more for anyone else. You’re one of the few who put up with me. That’s why I think it’s so strange you’re a fireman, it just doesn’t seem right for you, somehow. ” (Bradbury, Fahrenheit, Pt. 1). Clarisse notices Montag’s curiosity for the world and acknowledgement of the restricted, patrolled society.
For the first time in his life, he questions what he sees around him: his wife overdosing on pills, Clarisse getting “hit by a speeding car” and “killed”, and even the book burning which he does every night for money. Curiosity gets the better of him as he “steals” a book from a raging fire during one of his raids. As he looks at the woman who owns the virtual library which is about to be burned and who would rather die with her books then live in a jail, he starts think how important something is that you would die for it.
How the encounter with the woman who owned books influenced Montag
They crashed the front door and grabbed at a woman, though she was not running, she was not trying to escape. She was only standing, weaving from side to side, her eyes fixed upon a nothingness in the wall as if they had struck her a terrible blow upon the head. Her tongue was moving in her mouth, and her eyes seemed to be trying to remember something, and then they remembered and her tongue moved again: ‘Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. ’” (Bradbury, Fahrenheit, Pt. 2).
Of course, the other firemen dismissed the old woman as mad. Montag starts to wonder if he will end up the same. Montag is sick, physically and emotionally. Realizing his wife would rather watch TV than care for him; that the world is an empty, cruel place; and that there are things out there which are worth dying for makes him even more so. Technology starts to become a main influence on the actions of the people in society. Montag’s wife, Mildred, is said to have “lost herself in technology”. She confines herself in the living room of the couple’s house to three life-sized television screen walls.
Examples and ways of technology’s influence over people in the novel
These walls speak to her and hold conversations with her more than actual people do. Mildred yells at Montag for turning off her “family”. Montag is her husband, but Mildred relates fictional programmed characters to her only family. The issue of technology technically brainwashes the people of this science fiction society. People believe that if technology gets more advanced it would end society because people would probably forget about everything. Bradbury thinks that with technology surrounding us, people will stop reading books.
If people stop reading books they will forget about things that are extremely important, which include history, how and why people act in different ways, how life began, and other things that are important today but with technology they are going to fade away. Another thing that could happen if people let technology dominate them is that they wouldn’t be able to share their ideas or beliefs. All the new ideas people would bring into the world would be worth nothing because technology would be the most important issue. Technology could also damage our ways of communicating.
We would not be able to spend time with the people we love and I think that it could cause conflicts among people because of lack of communication. Bradbury shows us that when people do not have their own thoughts, think for themselves, or come up with better ideas than those present, society will never go forward. This is the situation in the book. Long ago, people in their society ceased to question the format of the society, and therefore power was concentrated into the hands of a select few- those with knowledge, again portraying that knowledge is in fact power.
When people stop thinking and begin to accept whatever the few powerful, knowledgeable people decide, the people are in trouble, because through time, they will gradually lose all influence on the society. “I haven’t had time to think. ” (Bradbury, Fahrenheit, Pt 1). This quote is very important in comprehending a key message in this novel. In the book, the people have their minds occupied 24/7 without any time or, for that matter, desire, to think. This is detrimental to the society, because thought is so crucial. The “Denham’s Dentrifice” advertisement in the subway is showing how people always have their minds occupied.
Connection between reading books and having independent thoughts in the novel
Often, if people would cease action momentarily to think about it, it would be beneficial to them. So often a little logical thought is a savior, and people in this society never have those thoughts. Apparently, his Utopian society is one of no diversity and no independent thought. For is it not the flaws and faculties of each individual that make them individuals? Montag’s fire chief hints that he understands and knows about Montag’s curiosity about literature, but goes on to explain how literature has no depth, perception, or intention.
Books, in this new society and to the fire-crew are meaningless and deserve to be burned. “Colored people don’t like Little black Sumbo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet. , into the incinerator. Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too.. Fire is bright and fire is clean. ” (Bradbury, Fahrenheit, Pt. 1). Fahrenheit 451 definitely seems to have an anti-government theme.
As Beatty explains in part one, government control of people’s lives was not a conspiracy of dictators or tyrants, but a consensus of everyday people. People are weak-minded; they don’t want to think for themselves and solve the troubling problems of the world. It is far easier to live a life of seclusion and illusion-a life where the television is reality. Yet more importantly, Fahrenheit 451 is an anti-apathy and anti-dependence and anti-television message. People in the novel are afraid-afraid of themselves. They fear the thought of knowing, which leads them to depend of others (government) to think for them.
Since they aren’t thinking, they need something to occupy their time. This is where television comes in. A whole host of problems arise from television: violence, depression and even suicide. Montag has finally found peace, at the price of his world. But maybe, he thinks, it was the world that was insane. Years of catastrophic habits and laws shows this futuristic society shifting more towards brainwashed, depthless, bodies who act rather than live. Fahrenheit 451 is full of warnings of where society could be headed if it is not careful. MLA
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2003. Print.