Farhenheit 45

Literary Analysis Could you ever imagine living in a world where books were not allowed, houses were fireproof, and firemen started fires instead of putting them out? Ray Bradbury created this dystopian society of backwards thinking in his novel Fahrenheit 451. When he wrote the book, during the Cold War, the United States was beginning to censor many things and his fear of what it would turn into inspired him to write this novel.
In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury overly exaggerates a future society from where the United States in the 1950’s was heading through loss of humanity from television and the theme of censorship by; yet, the symbol of rebirth detracts from the overall effect of exaggeration. In Fahrenheit 451 Mildred, Guy Montag’s wife, is a mindless human being. She has a television show that she calls her “family” and she insists on watching it every time it is on. For example when she is arguing with Montag about reading she says, “Books aren’t people. You read and I look all around but there isn’t anybody!…
Now my family is people. They tell me things: I laugh, they laugh! And the colors!… Why should I read? What for! ” (73;ch. 2). This quote illustrates the fact that all she does is sit around and believes to be interacting with people, when in fact she is just talking to a television show. When she wants another television installed she tells Montag “Its only two thousand dollars and I think you should consider me sometimes. If we had a fourth wall, why it’d just be like this room wasn’t ours at all, but all kinds of exotic people’s rooms” (20;ch. 1).

This line spoken by Mildred shows the reality of her mindless television show consuming her life and that she no longer thinks like a human being. Society’s goal in essentially hypnotizing its citizens was successful. Any person with sense such as Montag would know that it is outrageous to buy another screen when they cannot afford it. Mildred is a perfect example of a mindless person who allows the government to control her and thinks books are harmful. People like her make this society achieve its goals in censorship by burning books. In several cases the narrator is just as mindless as Mildred.
For example, the book burning process is supported when the book states, “You were simply cleaning up. Janitorial work essentially,” and “they pumped rooms full of [kerosene]” it is supporting the book burning process (37-38;ch. 1). These statements are guilty of sustaining book burning. Also when Captain Beatty, the chief of the fire department, says, “I want you to do this all by your lonesome, Montag. Not with kerosene and a match, but piecework, with a flame thrower. Your house your clean up,” it illustrates how he is asking a horrible task be done (116;ch. ). Burning books, the only source of unchanging knowledge, is a horrific task to take on. Burning books is like taking away freedom and because they are no longer physically available humans have to memorize them. When Montag gets caught for having books he runs away. He does such a good job that even the mechanical hound can’t find him. When the search for him is seeing no hope they kill a random man alone on the street. At this point Granger, one of the traveling book men, says to Montag, “Welcome back from the dead” (150;ch. 3).
This quote resembles the rebirth and final transformation of Montag from a regular in society. It detracts from the exaggeration because it symbolizes the life of memorizing books, which is the total opposite of eradicating them. Another time when rebirth is mentioned is when Granger tells Montag about the phoenix, “There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up… but every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again” (163;ch. 3).
This example takes away from Bradbury’s effect because it symbolizes new life, which the government does not want; they want it to stay the way it is. Ray Bradbury creates a dystopian society in the novel by expressing loss of humanity, censorship, and rebirth through many examples in the book. Throughout Fahrenheit 451 everyone is trapped under the government’s supervision except for the ones who are smart enough to escape through the knowledge of books, such as Montag. During the entire novel Mildred is an example of an individual consumed by the government’s rules and loss of humanity from TV.

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