Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 are two books, both of which are supposed to be set in the future, which have numerous theme similarities throughout them. Of all their common factors, the ones that stand out most would have to be first, the outlawed reading of books; second, the superficial preservation of beauty and happiness; and third, the theme of the protagonist as being a loner or an outcast from society because of his differences in beliefs as opposed to the norm.
We'll look first at the concept of outlawed reading. To us this sounds very strange. In the societies of both of these books, however, it is a common and almost completely unquestioned law. In Brave New World reading is something that all classes are conditioned against from birth. In the very beginning of the novel we see a group of infants who are given bright, attractive books but are exposed to an explosion and a shrieking siren when they reach out for them. This thus prevents them from wanting the books and causes them to scream and shrink away in horror at the mere sight of the books. In reference to the accomplishment of this conditioning, the director said, "Books and loud noises...already in the infant mind these couples are compromisingly linked; and after two hundred repetitions of the same or a similar lesson would be wedded indissoluble. What man has jointed, nature is powerless to put asunder," (Huxley 21-22). We come to learn that the basic reasoning behind this conditioning against reading in Brave New World was because "you couldn't have lower-caste people wasting the Community's time over books, and there was always the risk of their reading something which might undesirably decondition one of their reflexes" (Huxley 22).
In Fahrenheit 451 the outlawing of book reading is taken to an even greater extent. In this novel the whole purpose of a "firefighter" isn't to put out fires, rather it is to start fires. The reading of books in their society is...
Brave New World. Huxley, Aldous. Perennial Classics. New York, 1989
The Temperature At Which Books Burn. Bradbury, Ray. Ballantine Books. New York, 1979.
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