11 January 2013
In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury shares his message of the importance of books to society. The main character, Guy Montag, discovers his discontentment in life by reading books and realizing what he is missing in life. Montag is able to conquer his moral dilemmas: he is trained to do a job he begins to feel conflicting morals about. Bradbury evokes many different deep sentiments, such as ambivalence, apathy, and empathy. Montag’s turmoil and inner conflict about what is right for him and society is one that resonates with many readers. Ray Bradbury communicates that should society decide to burn and banish books, society would be on a downward spiral emotionally and spiritually. What would society be with out a strong spirit? Throughout the book, Bradbury shows the influence of books through the dissatisfaction in the characters. Mildred, Guy Montag’s wife, clearly shows dissatisfaction through her actions by continually wearing her wireless headphones and constantly talking with her “family” in the parlor. This causes her to be distracted even from her own discontent. During a casual conversation Montag brings up the previous night and mentions that she had overdosed and she responds with an irritable voice saying “Heck, what would I do a silly thing like that for?” (Bradbury, 19). This shows her dissatisfaction, and how hidden it is even from her own eyes. She can no longer fix her own dissatisfaction because it is hidden under her surface. She does not recognize it, she unknowingly keeps her self distracted with the use of “toys” she has. Instead of looking to books for wisdom and understanding.
Bradbury uses Montag to show how to apply wisdom that we already have through books. Montag continues to struggle with the ability to stand up for what they believe. Montag contains the wisdom needed, but does not understand how to apply it correctly (Bradbury, 78-79). Montag shows his growing dependence on books in this scene. He immediately turned to a book for help and security from the outside distractions. This shows readers how important it is to look to books and past authors for wisdom and understanding. In Proverbs 1:8 it says, “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.” (ESV). It is important to always look to God for instruction and teaching no matter what situation.
Bradbury communicates how technology is replacing books even now in culture. Mildred highly depends on technology and the distraction it gives her. She shows this demonstration of her distraction when she continually ignores Montag during a conversation over turning the television or “parlor” down. While he lays sick in bed he asks for aspirin and she again ignores his simple request of a “sick man” as he puts it. Mildred no longer cares for her real family, but only for her “family” or her parlor, which is a four-walled television room (Bradbury, 48). Some seem to think “Books are taking a backseat to technology” with iPads and nooks; books do seem to be taking a backseat. Past authors have wisdom and understanding in their books and it is always important to have an authenticity to a book. Also research shows that screens may heart your eyes after looking too long. This supports what Bradbury has to say and teach us.
Overall Bradbury suggests that the future will contain complete dependence on technology and that there will no longer need to be a source of books. Bradbury also explores the possibility of losing past “teachers” or authors. He sends a message of concern and responsibility for books and the value they hold. Montag teaches how we do not have to conform or depend on the ways of society. Also how people can grow and learn even from wisdom through books. Where as Mildred teaches us to beware of your own distractions.
"Books Taking a Backseat to Technology." The Graphic -. N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012. Bradbury, Ray. Farenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1953. Print.
"Introduction to the ESV Bible." ESV Bible Introduction to the ESV Bible Comments.
N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.