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Fahrenheit 451 Essay, Research Paper

For more than half a century science fiction writers have thrilled and challenged

readers with visions of the future and future worlds. These authors offered an insight into

what they aree expected man, society, and life to be like at some future time.

One such author, Ray Bradbury, utilized this concept in his work, Fahrenheit 451,

futuristic look at a man and his role in society. Bradbury utilizes the luxuries of life in

America today, in addition to various occupations and technological advances, to show

what life could be like if the future takes a drastic turn for the worse. He turns man?s best

friend, the dog, against man, changes the role of public servants and changes the value of

a person.

Aldous Huxley also uses the concept of society out of control in his science fiction

novel Brave New World. Brave new world also deals with man in a changed society.

Huxley asks his readers to look at the role of science and literature in the future world,

scared that it may be rendered useless and discarded. Unlike Bradbury, Huxley includes

in his book a group of people unaffected by the changes in society, a group that still has

religious beliefs and marriage, things no longer part of the changed society, to compare


contrast today?s culture with his proposed futuristic culture.

But one theme that both Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 use in common is

the theme of individual discovery by refusing to accept a passive approach to life, and

refusing to conform. In addition, the refusal of various methods of escape from reality

is shown to be a path to discovery. In Brave New World, the main characters of Bernard

Marx and the ?Savage? boy John both come to realize the faults with their own cultural.

In Farenheit 451 Guy Montag begins to discover that things could be better in his society

but, sue to some uncontrollable events, his discover happens much faster than it would

have. He is forced out on his own, away from society, to live with others like himself who

think differently that the society does.

Marx from the civilized culture, seriously questions the lack of history that his

society has.He also wonders as to the lack of books , banned because they were old and

did not encourage the new culture. By visiting a reservation, home of an ?uncivilized?

culture of savages, he is able to see first hand something of what life and society use to be

like. Afterwards he returns and attempts to incorporate some of what he saw into his

work as an advertising agent. As a result with this contrast with the other culture, Marx

discovers more about himself as well. He is able to see more clearly the things that had

always set him on edge: the promiscuity, the domination of the government and the

lifelessness in which he lived. (Allen,2)

John, often referred to as ?the Savage? because he was able to leave the

reservation with Marx to go to London to live with him, also has a hard time adjusting to

the drastic changes. The son of two members of the modern society but born and raised

on the reservation, John learned from his mother the values and the customs of the

?civilized? world while living in a culture that had much different values and practices.

Though his mother talked of the promiscuity that she had practiced before she was left on

the reservation and did still practice it, John was raised, thanks to the people around him,

with the belief that these actions were wrong. Seeing his mother act in a manner that

obviously reflected different values greatly affected and hurt John, especially when he

returned with Marx to London. John loved his mother, but he, hybrid of the two cultures,

was stuck in the middle. (May, 5)

Like Brave New World characters escaping from reality through the use of soma,

Montag?s wife , and many other characters, escape through watching a sophisticated form

of television. This television system covers three of the walls of montag?s TV room, has a

control unit that allows the watchers to interact with the characters on the program and

another unit that inserts Mrs. Montag?s name into specific places, thus creating the image

they are actually conversing with them. Montag?s wife, having only a few friends and ones

she rarely sees, spends much of her day in this room, watching a program called ?The

Family?, a government sponsored program that shows the viewers what life at home

should be like.

The problem with this is that Montag?s wife takes the program as a substitute for

reality. She is almost addicted to buy the program, much as people were with the soma in

Brave New World. Bradbury uses this television and it?s programs as a way of showing

the escape he is worried people look will look for in the future. Without actively

questioning society?s values, he is concerned that people will look for ways to idealy


their time.

Through these various diversions from normal behavior in society, Marx, John the

Savage and Guy Montag are able to see the truths behind the societies they live in and are

able to learn about themselves. And though their discoveries meant that their lives would

be changed lies in thinking and questioning. These men found themselves through their

own discoveries, much as Bradbury and Huxley hope others will do.


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