English II PAP
Prominent Themes of Fahrenheit 451
In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, “A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it,” censorship is king, and complacency rather than individualism is promoted (36). Thus, Ray Bradbury gives emphasis to the themes of identity, technology, and false happiness in Fahrenheit 451.
At first glance Fahrenheit 451 seems one-sided, the main character seems 2D and unchangeable with fixed viewpoints, but as authors Moss and Whitson note, “[the] crisis of identity is at the core… the main character learns from mentors and sees his own identity along the way”(73). This rollercoaster of self-examination within the protagonist lends a hand into the theme of identity as something that must be discovered through strife and self-reflection. Guided, the protagonist discovers that self-reflection conflicts with the safety of the mindless and demur conform (de Koster, Ed., 59) To conform is to be safe; the idea of being thinking differently would cost one dearly, however self-examination leads to finding one’s own individuality. Thus self-examination enables one to find what makes them an individual, and with the help of mentors it can go even further. In a sense, Bradbury’s exploration in self-examination expresses that individuality is a unique and hard-to-achieve treasure that must be worked for, rather than given to by neither the government of mass media.
Today technology is seen mostly as a positive influence, from sharing information to connecting individuals. However in Bradbury’s dystopian future technology destroys free thought, and over-stimulates population coercing violence. It is interesting to note that while Bradbury’s future does not have a government where tyrants use technology to conspire against the public; rather mass culture created by the complacent populace hamper and impede individuality and free thinking (Reid, 59). Ironically technology’s ability to share information has created a...
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