Imagine this, a perfect world of complete harmony and justice. There is no wrong, and there is no right. There is only utopia. It might be the perfect place where people want to live, or the place that people dream about. It might even be the picture of the future. However, this Utopian world is revealed to have flaws. It lacks many of the qualities of life that exist today. Thus the Utopian world isn't so Utopian anymore. And the more that is revealed about the world, the more horrible it becomes. Soon, it becomes a nightmare, a world of illusions, of lies. That is the dystopic world that authors such as Bradbury and George Orwell pictures in their books, a world that exists under the image of utopia, and yet to the reader seems like a foreign, inhumane residence dominated by an all-powerful government. George Orwell's 1984, and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 depicts two different dystopic worlds. The settings of both books are different and the characters are unique; however, both of these books are also very similar. 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are similar dystopic literatures by a common theme of censorship in which the government withholds or censors information, by a similar thread of a totalitarian government running the dystopic world, and by a common knowledge of the truth that the protagonist and the antagonist both hold.
Censorship is a remarkable simple concept: the ability of the government to withhold or change information that passes into the public. All governments have some form of censorship, and some governments have less censorship than others. Yet censorship can also become a difficult concept to grasp, for censorship allows the government to influence how people think. The less censorship there is, the more people begin to think, which according to standards today, is a good thing. However, totalitarian governments such as the ones in Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 do not want people to think. They want people to just do, and thus it becomes a perfect seemingly Utopian world that the reader interprets as a piece of dystopic literature. In Fahrenheit 451, Beatty explains, " Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it" (pp.59). Beatty is declaring that there are many minorities as well as distinct groups of people. A perfect world must satisfy all of them, so if a book comes up that someone doesn't like, burn it. However, burning is a permanent process. A burned book cannot be recovered. Thus, as more books are burned, more history, information is being erased. People's minds begin to dull from lack of reading and in the end; people accept the fact that the government controls them and their actions. Similarly, a quote from 1984 explains, "The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or…rectify…It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother's speech…" (38, 39). In this quote, Winston works in the Ministry of Truth to change the information that reaches the public. This is also censorship in order to keep the proles, the majority of the population, ignorant. By changing the information, there is no proof that people have against the validity of the government, and therefore people are sedated. In a similar way to Fahrenheit 451, the people come to gradually accepting the censored documents that reach them. They could take one fact one day, and the completely opposite fact another. Thus when the two books of dystopic literature are compared, the similar motif of censorship can be seen to play a huge part in the way the world runs. The government utilizes censorship while the common people accept it. When the reader sees this, it imparts a sense of horror in the seemingly Utopian world, and thus makes the two pieces of literature dystopic.
Another aspect that connects the two pieces of literature together is the idea of a totalitarian...
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