Warnings of Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 tells us a story of Montag, the protagonist and fireman who craves the sight of fire. Unlike firefighters, firemen are forced to burn books when discovered because in this futuristic dystopian society books are banned. Montag meets a girl named Clarisse, and she opens his eyes to a new world. It makes him question his profession and he then seeks to find the truth about books and the secrets hidden inside of them. Ray Bradbury shows us how this novel reflects the time period and society by censorship, technology, and relationships.
There is no personal freedom in Fahrenheit 451 everything is censored and that’s what Bradbury wanted to stress about in this novel. Montag is telling his wife about his experience at work and says “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house” (Bradbury, 51). Montag just saw a woman who refused to leave her burning books and ended up blazed with fire. This quote shows how someone would go through extreme lengths just to rebel for their right to read books. This now leads Montag to think what is that “something” in books, as he said in the quote. Although this novel was based in the future, similar activities in the early 1950’s resembled this event. “The Women's Auxiliary of the American Legion of Norwich, Connecticut, holds a comic book burning in 1955. The Auxiliary asked children to bring 10 comic books to burn, in exchange for one "clean" comic book” (Comic Book Burning). The Women’s Auxiliary are members who help the veterans and the community. Comic books in the early 1950’s were booming with success but were suddenly accused of supporting juvenile delinquency. Politicians and psychiatrist believed that the villains in many of the comic books would convince children to do the same by causing violence in their community. Eventually comic books ended up in flames and millions of jobs were lost. Certainly Ray Bradbury wanted the book burnings of the 1950’s to reflect how the future might turn out, creating a novel surrounded by book burnings gave his readers a feel of what censorship affected in the 20th century. Censorship took away the inspiration in our society, making individuals less likely to speak up; this causes people to use technology as their way of escape.
In the 20th century technology has revolutionized the way citizens identified the world and how it transformed around them. As Montag thought “They had this machine. They had two machines really. One of them slid down into your stomach like a black cobra down an echoing well looking for all the old water and the old time gathered there” (Bradbury, 12). Mildred, who is Montag’s wife, has overdosed on sleeping pills. Montag calls in the paramedics, but instead two workers who are not specialized arrive. They eventually attach her to two very strange machines that cleanse the insides of her stomach and replaces new blood inside. Technology has advanced so much in the future that people who specialize in the medical field don’t have to worry about an overdose, because in the future everything is easier for the citizen’s use. The advance in medical technology has boomed over the 20th century more than ever. “The major discoveries of Celera Genomics and the Human Genome Project thus opened up the possibility of battling various diseases by researching the genetic causes and developing new drug treatments and genetic screening.” (Parsons). In the 1950’s technology has advanced and so has medical technology. Scientists are using newfound technology to find cures and drug treatment to help people in need. In the novel, it shows how much technology has achieved over the years. Bradbury wonders if technology could benefit or be a disadvantage to us. Technology has benefited countless people and it allows people to communicate, find new medical treatments, and overall has been convenient for citizens. However,...
Cited: "Censorship." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
"Censorship of the press." Image
"Comic Book Burning." Image. AP/Wide World Photos. American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 11 Mar. 2014.
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