4 November 2013
Paying the Price for Ignorance
Apathy is worse than ignorance. Rational ignorance is very similar to apathy, and by reading, we can rid ourselves of the urge to just not care. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 attempts to warn readers of the price that comes with rational ignorance by creating an example society much like our own. This society has given up all intellectual thought and sharing of ideas. By “paying the price” characters like Mildred give up the human experience and become void due to lack of independent thoughts. Characters like Clarisse pay a much higher toll: life and dignity. Characters like Guy Montag and Granger pay the price by being surrounded with nothings but Mildreds. In F451, society believes that limiting education and sharing of ideas actually enhances life by excluding bad thoughts. In Ray Bradbury’s dystopian future, every character pays the price for ignorance. Most characters, though, willingly and unknowingly do so.
In the novel, life is not valued the way it should be; living is not meaningful anymore. In the very beginning of the book, Mildred tries to kill herself for, what seems like, no reason. This happens so often that technicians are sent to speedily fix the problem rather than doctors. After the technicians do their duty to Mildred, her parlor “uncle” states “’Well, after all, this is the age of disposable tissue. Blow your nose on a person, wad them, flush them away, reach for another, blow, wad, flush’” (17). Even after the ordeal, Mildred is not upset that she failed in taking her own life, as if indifferent to the subject. For her, life is no different than death. Mildred’s “uncle” is correct in comparing a modern day person to a tissue. People have worth based on their thoughts, actions, and relations with people. If one has no thoughts, real actions, or connections, their life cannot be worth very much. Mildred has as many independent thoughts as a tissue and values her life precisely for how...
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