By Claire Sylvester
Happiness is false in Fahrenheit451; the government defines it and those who submit to society’s ways of happiness are not perturbed by reality. The government delivers to society frivolous entertainment giving them distractions from the grievances of reality. Beatty lectures Montag on why books are bad while he is at home faking sick: “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides of a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none” (28). There is nothing for society to worry about because they are not given anything to care about; there is no understanding of reality for people of society to process. When there is nothing to worry about there is no need to care for the reality of the surrounding world. People are an empty shell not emitting any actual emotion towards the reality surrounding them. This is evident with Mildred when she attempted to kill herself, but was not entirely aware of her actions. Montag has extreme difficulty dealing with her lack of understanding: “Let you alone! That’s all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important something real?”(49). Government is giving society a form of happiness so society does not have to deal with reality. When society is not bothered by the truth of the world and is living in its own form of reality instead there is no need for tears or emotions. Instead of emotions there is only activity and constant entertainment, entertainment that is used to distract individuals from the intense world around them.