A Literary Analysis of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

Best Essays
Topics: Dystopia
George Smith
English IV AP
November 17, 2011
Mrs. Copper

A Literary Analysis of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451

The two novels, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and 1984 by George Orwell, are similar in that both authors express the message that the loss of individual knowledge results in the destruction of individual freedom. Both novels depict dystopian, futuristic societies in which the citizens’ freedom is destroyed by the governments ' psychological manipulation and control of information. The authors present similar characters who play similar roles to illustrate this theme. The stories also have parallel plotlines; the climaxes of the novels occur when the main characters are caught rebelling against the laws and standards of their respective societies.
1984 develops the character of Winston Smith in the year 1984 in the city of London in the nation of Oceania. One of Orwell’s themes is that destruction of knowledge leads to the destruction of freedom. The high-ranking members of the ruling Party decide what information is true and what isn 't by deleting or altering every single document ever written. Winston is one of the many people employed by the ironically named “Ministry of Truth” to modify or destroy the documents needing revision. The manipulation and control of information form the foundation for the power of the Party. Winston realizes that he can change history, and therefore reality, simply by lying about it.
And if all the others accepted the lie which the Party imposed—if all records told the same tale—then the lie passed into history and became truth.
“Who controls the past,” ran the Party slogan, “controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.” (32)
The Party is headed by Big Brother, whose face is posted on almost every flat surface in the district where the party members live. The people in this future society have never seen
Big Brother, but they blindly follow his orders, ignoring their own common sense.



Cited: “Biography of Ray Bradbury.” Ray Bradbury. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://www.raybradbury.com/‌about.html>. Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. 1953. New York: Random House, 2003. Print. Colmer, John. “Critical Overview: Fahrenheit 451.” Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 149-150. 24 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. “The Complete Works of George Orwell.” George Orwell. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://www.george-orwell.org>. Davis, James E. “Criticism: 1984.” Novels for Students. Ed. Deborah A. Stanley. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 248-250. 24 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. Eller, Edward. “Criticism: Fahrenheit 451.” Novels for Students. Ed. Diane Telgen. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale, 1997. 150-153. 24 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. Melcher, Kelly. “Defining the Genre: Utopia and Dystopia .” Fandomania. Web. 5 Oct. 2011. <http://fandomania.com>. Orwell, George. 1984. 1949. New York: Penguin Putnam, 1961. Print. Ranald, Ralph A. “Criticism: 1984.” Novels for Students. Ed. Deborah A. Stanley. Vol. 7. Detroit: Gale, 1999. 250-255. 24 vols. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 5 Oct. 2011.

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