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Fahrenheit 451

By smartthinking456 Jan 08, 2012 565 Words
Most people today think nothing of knowledge and take it for granted because they think it is easy to gain. In fact, many young adults tend to resist gaining knowledge and would rather entertain themselves with games, television or partying. However, authors Ray Bradbury and Stephen Vincent Benet would pity their indifference. In science fiction story, Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury tells the story of Guy Montag whose search for meaning and knowledge leads him to make difficult decisions throughout his journey. In “By the Waters of Babylon” a science fiction story, a boy, John, discovers the truth while on a journey to become a man. Both stories teach an important lesson about gaining knowledge, that it cannot be gained passively-it requires sacrifice. Primarily, both stories show that the cost to gain knowledge is to lose part of one’s old self. In Fahrenheit 451, we see the main character, Montag, doing actions that require him to abandon his old routines. He had to give up his job, his wife, and his house to gain the books and knowledge he so desires. Bradbury quotes Montag in his description stating, “You want to give up everything? After all these years of working, one night, some women and her books-,” (page 51). This quote shows that Montag wants to quit his job just for the sake of gaining books and finding knowledge so he can be happier. This is necessary to gain knowledge because it shows how he had to abandon of all the stuff he did over so many years because he can’t gain knowledge with the other luxurious life right in front of him. He needed to let it go so he won’t go back to it. Montag did not quit his job at that point (but did later) because of opposition from his wife, Mildred, but learned that he had to let go of Mildred because she did not want to gain knowledge. Similarly, “By the Waters of Babylon” is like Fahrenheit 451 when approaching this idea of losing part of one’s old self. John, the main character is on a journey to become a man. He wants to gain knowledge and truth. He must go to a forbidden land where the Gods used to live, but soon finds out that they were men before his time. Benet mentions John in the following quote, “It is not for the metal alone we go to the Dead Places now—there are the books and the writings. They are hard to learn. And the magic tools are broken-but we can look at them and wonder. At least, we can make a beginning,” (page 509). This is when John finds out the truth and decides to abandon his old life. He finds this necessary because he knew the truth and knew that he can no longer follow his old life because it wasn’t true. He wants to make a new beginning and begin right where the “gods” left off but more slowly. He wants it slowly because he knows that too much knowledge will eat anyone up. All in all, both stories show that losing part of one’s old self is necessary in order to gain knowledge. Without doing so, the journey will be more difficult. In addition, one must take risks in order to gain knowledge.

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