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Commentary on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Essay Sample

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Commentary on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury Essay Sample

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a science fiction novel about a futuristic community that has lost the ability to socially interact with one another. Guy Montag is the average citizen. His profession is a fireman, except in this society firemen don’t prevent fires, they start them. His job, like many other firemen, is to illuminate books by burning them because books are illegal. Over the course of Fahrenheit 451, Montag realizes society and its faults. Bradbury uses Montag to depict technology and censorship as examples of warning signs, and how that society could one day become ours.

Bradbury criticizes technology through the characters; Mildred, Mrs. Bowles, and Mrs. Phelps (society). Mildred is Montag’s wife. ‘Millie’ sits around all day and watches mindless TV in her parlor. Mildred has Mrs. Bowles and Mrs. Phelps come over to watch a TV show. “Abruptly the room took off on a rocket flight into the clouds, it plunged into a lime-green sea where blue fish ate red and yellow fish. A minute later, Three White Cartoon Clowns chopped off each other’s limbs to the accompaniment of immense incoming tides of laughter. Two minutes more and the room whipped out of town to the jet cars wildly circling an arena, bashing and backing up and bashing each other again. Montag saw a number of bodies fly in the air.” (page 94) The three women react in a way of complete excitement watching fish being eaten, clowns severing body parts, and people brutally killing each another with cars. Like most people; Mildred, Mrs. Bowles, and Mrs. Phelps are perfect victims of violence from technology.

On page 30, Clarisse explains to Montag about school and what kids do for recreation. “… head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place with the big steel ball. Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to the lampposts, playing ‘chicken’ and ‘knock hubcaps.’… everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?” Kids are so violent because of technology; shows like White Clowns, and killing video games, and music with dangerous lyrics. Bradbury is suggesting that we stop these video games, or at the very least play, listen or watch it less. He is saying that the more violent things you watch or around, the more you think its okay. Bradbury criticizes the theme, censorship through the government. They only broadcast what they want the people to hear, or what the people want to hear. It is much like in today’s world because the News often plays up the bad things that happen because it brings in more viewers, people don’t want to hear the good things that happen, only the bad.

He displays it through books, and the media. Page 81, “It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed it in our ‘parlors’ these days. Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccharine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.” People and the government “dress him up” the way they want to see it. He describes Christ as a candy, all sugar-crystal and saccharine, or otherwise fake and glammed up to look a certain style. They censor his teachings and stories in a materialistic way. Only the true followers and religious ones buy this, Jesus uses it, so should you- is the idea they are trying to display. Another way they use censorship is books. Although, it didn’t start with the government, it ended with them. Captain Beatty explains to Montag about how books came to be banned.

“It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time.” (Page 57) The government used the disinterest in books as an advantage, to control the country. If they want someone who is running for office, they play up the person; if not then they play him or her down. It is brainwashing, the people have no clue what happens to their money when they pay taxes or anything else about the world. They don’t care to know, and why should they?

Everyone is perfectly happy. Happy is boring. We need to know what goes on in the world, and to document it and to fix it. That way we don’t make the same mistakes. He uses the theme censorship to warn that we’d forget and make the same mistakes over and over again and to show how the government can make you think whatever they want you to think by not being knowledgeable. Therefore, you need to think, to understand and to retain knowledge. Without it we live in a world of stupidity and violence. It is crucial that people read this book, to know that we could be exactly like this society. Bradbury criticizes censorship and technology because he doesn’t want our future headed this way, it is a warning for the sake of humanity.

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