Fahrenheit 451 Theme and the World of Today

There have been a lot technological developments and advancements in the world. Technological advancements include the Televisions, computers and mobile phones that have become part of human life (Bloom, 76). From the futuristic book Fahrenheit 451, the author notes that the Television has become one of the enemies that people have in the world. The Television is seen as a replacement of the curiosity in human beings, the intellectual aspect as well as a replacement of literature. Furthermore, it is noted in the book that the Television has become a substitute in the family whereby people are glued to what is on the television rather than spend time with families (Bloom, 77).

Friendships have been replaced with Television and no meaningful or real conversations can be started without the interruption of the Television. People are busy looking for happiness because people seem to be happy when they do not have to do the “difficult” work of thinking critically as noted by the author of the story (Bloom, 77).

However, the benefits of television cannot be ignored because of the information aspect of that people can gain. Television, in the current world, has helped a lot in the distribution of the information.

Marketers of products rely on television to inform consumers of their products. Governments make use of televisions to pass information to the subjects. It is a contrast that the same tool that is said to replace families and friendships and prevent meaningful conversations is the same tool that is used to unite people (Bloom, 78). Television unites people through information in other aspects, political, social and even economic issues, in the society. Therefore, the theme of Television is directly related to the current world and the way people have become glued to technology use across the world.


Bloom, Harold. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, New Edition. New York: Chelsea House, 2008. Internet resource. P.76-78

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Fahrenheit 451: By Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451


            The book “Fahrenheit 451” can be considered as a futuristic novel that tells about the future and how various aspects such as technological developments have had an impact on the society (Otten, 1990). The author observes that people in the futuristic society are lazy and do not read books, spend quality time alone or even think as independent minds and do not have conversations which can be considered as meaningful. It is a society of people that watch too much of television and listen to a lot of radio which takes up most of their time.

Based on the views of the author, can it be concluded that technological developments have had adverse effects on human race?

            Throughout the novel, the author depicts several themes one of them is that of censorship. The censorship that is depicted in this book is that on read of books whereby books are banned in the future (Bloom, 2007). This is contributed by categories of factors such as lack of interest and hostility of the people towards books.

The symbol presented in this novel is that of a mirror which is used to portray a sense of having self-realization and understanding. The fire Captain is portrayed as a literary expert because of the way the captain flues the fire instead of being the one to put it out. The Captain goes contrary to expectations of a fireman. The choice of those final words is as a result of Beatty standing her ground and daring Montag to take his life through the use of literature (Hiner, 2001).

            The problem with the leisure concept as presented by Montag is that it is not in existence in the real world. The people, as depicted in the novel are engrossed in television viewing as well as listening to the radio without any quality information, which is only in the books. By the end of the novel, Bradbury succeeds in establishing his idea (Bradbury, & Bloom, 2008). This is due to the reason that the concepts and views that he puts forward in the novel are still applicable in the modern society despite having written the book many years ago. The modern society is overflown with technological developments which have changed the thinking of people about leisure and what needs to be done during leisure, therefore, showing that Bradbury succeeded in putting forward his idea of leisure.

            Clarisse is seen as a young and beautiful seventeen-year old girl who influences Montag and introduces him to a new potential of the world in terms of beauty. Clarisse appears as an innocent and curious girl who impacts on the life of Montag. She helps in the set-up of the whole framework of the novel because of her odd characters which makes her to be viewed as an outcast in the society. Clarisse loves hiking, asking a lot of questions as well as playing, something that the society views as quite odd habits for a teenager. The happiness depicted through Clarisse and her family which is also seen as an odd family influences the views that Montag has on leisure (Reid, 2000).

            From the above analysis of this novel, it is to be noted that the whole idea is that on reading of books and the changes that technological developments have caused in the society. One question that one would want to ask is that, “Is it possible to have a society where there are no books and all that people can depend on is technology?” The answer to this question can only be obtained if a research is conducted again to establish if this can occur in real life.


Bloom, H. (2007). Fahrenheit 451. New York: Infobase Publishing.

Bradbury, R., & Bloom, H. (2008). Fahrenheit 451: New Edition. New York: Infobase Pub.

Hiner, K. (2001). CliffsNotes Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Foster City, CA: IDG Books Worldwide.

Otten, N. (1990). Fahrenheit 451: By Ray Bradbury. Saint Louis, Mo: Milliken.

Reid, R. A. (2000). Ray Bradbury: A critical companion. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.

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Technology in Fahrenheit 451 and the Real World

How technology affects society in Fahrenheit 451 and the real world Every day, everywhere people are using technology to check email, calculate tax, and talk with each other. Technology has greatly affected the social structure today and in Fahrenheit 451. Technology has effected how the TV controls our lives, how we communicate with one another, and how strong the social structure is In both the real world and Fahrenheit 451. Similarly to the real world, in Fahrenheit 451 the TV is a habitual action that diminishes social contact.

In the real world too much TV leads to “the Mean World Syndrome.” (Sheldon).

The Mean World Syndrome is a term for people who have watched so much TV that they believe that the world is a much more dangerous place then it actually is. In addition “Every hour spent watching TV, DVDs and videos as an adult reduces life expectancy by almost 22 minutes, a study suggests,”(Hope). This suggests that people will shave off years of their lives doing nothing but staring at a screen.

In Fahrenheit 451 the TV is also a very consuming habit. For example Mildred says, “It’s really fun. It’ll be even more fun when we can afford to have the fourth TV wall installed.” (Fahrenheit 20). This quote shows how the TV is putting up a physical and an emotional barrier between family and friends. Although TV diminishes social contact in both Fahrenheit 451 and the real world, it is not as bad as it seems. TV has allowed companies to advertize to a larger audience.

TV has also kept people informed about local crimes that have happened. For example, in Fahrenheit 451, when Montag is running away, the cameras broadcast his ‘murder’ to 20 million viewers. TV has taken control of many lives Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Human communication has greatly increased with the introduction of computers, email, phones, Etc. in the real world as opposed to the lack of communication displayed in Fahrenheit 451. In Fahrenheit 451 people are discouraged from venturing out of their homes to communicate with each other. The mechanical hound is a good example of how the advancements in technology are keeping people from talking to each other without the fear of being hunted down. Another good example of how technology is reducing the amount of communication is how Mildred has replaced her actual family with her so called ‘TV family’(Bradbury 20). In the real world however, because of the increase in amount of technology, there has been an increase in the amount of communication. “Teens on average text over 3500 times in a month,”

(Sheldon).That means that teens are talking online to one another over 100 times a day. Fahrenheit 451 depicts a world where technology has reduced communications whereas today in the real world communication has greatly increased. Technology can either make or break a society. Technology has transformed the real world into a thriving society, which is in contrast with the technological wasteland displayed in Fahrenheit 451. In Fahrenheit 451 the social structure is displayed as a technological dystopia where people live in constant fear. The technology is used mostly to keep the social order intact and keep people from acting out. For example, “-nose so sensitive the Mechanical Hound can remember and identify ten thousand odor indexes on ten thousand men without resetting!”(Bradbury 133). The mechanical hound is used to keep people from being different; it is used to keep people equal. The real world is more of a technological utopia.

Technology is used in classrooms around the world to improve the educational process. ”Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information,” (Richtel). Around half the classrooms in Woodbury High School have a Smartboard to help teach students. Not all technological advances have been beneficial though. After the United States and other countries began the development of nuclear weapons during WWII, the cost of an international incident increased. For example, while John F. Kennedy was the president the was an incident known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” that dealt with nuclear weapons that the Soviet Union was storing in Cuba as possible attack against the United States.

Technology has had many positive and negative effects in both Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Technology has similarly impacted how much the TV controls our lives and differently impacted communications and social structure in Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Albert Einstein said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” This famous quote is saying that technology has become a large part of our society, but it is not necessarily a bad thing to have technology in our lives. It is easy to say that technology has become a large part of both the real world society and in Fahrenheit 451.

Works Cited
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1982. Print. Sheldon,
Pavica. “Psychologist Examines Effects of Technology Society.” Psychologist Examines Effects of Technology Society. Newswise, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.newswise.com/articles/psychologist-examines-effects-of-technology-society Richtel, Matt. “YOUR BRAIN ON COMPUTERS; Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 June 2010. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?pagewanted=all Hope, Jenny. “Is Your TV Killing You? Every Hour of Viewing Takes 22 Minutes off Your Life, Couch Potatoes Are Warned.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2026380/TV-watching-Every-hour-takes-22-minutes-life.html

Dialectical Journals Fahrenheit 451

1. Quote : “we must build a mirror factory to take a long look at themselves” Device: Symbolism this remark recalls Montag’s description of Clarisse as a mirror in “The Hearth and the Salamander.” Mirrors here are symbols of self-understanding, of seeing oneself clearly.

2. Quote: The Hearth and the Salamander

Device: Symbolism
This Demostrates symbolism because The Hearth and the Salamander, suggests two things having to do with fire, the hearth is a source of warmth and goodness, showing the positive, non-destructive side of fire.

Whereas a salamander is a small lizard-like creature is known to come in contact with fire without getting burnt by it. The salamander is symbolizing the Guy Montag, who is being described as a salamander because he works with fire and believes that he can escape the fire and survive.

3. Quote: 451 fahrenheit
Device : Foreshadowing

Bradubury uses the title fahrenheit 451 as an foreshadowing technique. 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper ignites, which has to do with the act of bookburning.

Bradbury uses that to hint the readers of paper (books) burning.

4. Quote:
Device: Foreshawdowng
Montag is down at the fire station and the firemen are playing with the new mechanical hound. That hound doesn’t seem to like Montag very much, suggesting that something bad might happen involving that hound.

5. Quote: “are youre the firemen”
Device: Irony
Montag is introduced to the reader as a fireman. As the reader we naturally think of firemen as people who put out fires. Bradbury has created the situational irony in this story by having Montag be a fireman who starts fires. He goes into people’s homes and burns their books. He is asked by Clarisse if firemen ever put fires out and he told her that was crazy and it was silly to think that way. Firemen were there to help control the population by burning books.

6. Quote: In our society kmowlegde is power.Everyone try to gain more knowlege and stand out not to conform. Device: Irony In Montags society, the possesionof more knowlegr than someone else can lead to death. this conveys the theme and underlying message of knowlege vs ignorance.

Fahrenheit 451: Journal #3 Quote Analysis

In the quote above, Faber describes books and their content to Montag, who as started to rebel against society through books. Faber was a very special and memorable person Montag met in a park a few years back. They had a conversation in which Faber recited some poems to him and because of that, Montag knew he was a rebel; a reader. He was the only person Montag could think of that would help him in his situation. Faber is the one that uttered this quote and is, by far, my favorite character in the book.

The way he describes books is so unique.

He uses many figures of speech to explain books and even society. Because of this, what he says usually has indirect meanings. Take this quote for example. This quote contains metaphors and personifications that describe Montag’s society and why books are burned. “Pores in the face of life” is a personification that represents the “problems in life.

” Pores on our faces are unwanted, ugly, problematic.

Same with the issues in our lives. It makes people unhappy, and brings torture in their lives. People are afraid of this; therefore, they are removed, avoided. Books reveal these “pores in the face of life,” so they are removed as well. That’s how Montag’s government controls Montag’s society. Through fake, hollow happiness.

The government digs a hole and buries the locked treasure box filled with everyone’s emotions (excluding happiness) and issues deep inside the hole. Heck, they even teach society to do that themselves! For the next sentence, “flowers” is a metaphor for ideas. “Good rain” and “black loam” represents creativity and imagination. “Flowers” need Good rain” and “black loam” to blossom into something grand, special, unique.

But, because the “flowers” are growing on other “flowers,” they become identical to it. Each and every “flower” grows on each other until the world is covered in identical flowers. A few are different, yes, but they slowly dwindle through the influence of the identical “flowers” and the disturbance of nature those “flowers” created. Those “special flowers” may transform into an “identical flower,” or, they die.

Journal #4
May 5, 2013
“…They were gone. The Hound was gone. Now there was only the river and Montag floating in a sudden peacefulness, away from the city and the lights and the chase, away from everything.” (Pg. 140, Fahrenheit 451)

This quote occurs after Montag kills Beatty and two other firemen, as well as burn the Salamander, after his house was burnt by them. Because of that, he is now being chased by firemen in helicopters and Salamanders, and a more efficient and high tech Mechanical Hound. Montag visits Faber one last time, receiving money, new clothes, and directions from him, and then runs into the river, which carries him away to safety. The Hound and firemen then loses track of him. This quote is where, in my opinion, the climax ends and the resolution starts.

It’s when Montag completes his transition from “mindless follower” to “independent thinker.” All with nature’s aid. Nature, at this moment, is shown as something that overrules technology. Even when it’s faced with the highest, most efficient technology that the humans can create, nature wins. Nature was able to bring Montag to safety from the Hound and the clutches of society and technology, to help him escape from everything that was holding him back.

The peace and relaxation nature provides help Montag complete his thinking process, which was incomplete because he couldn’t really think when he was surrounded by the fast-moving, overly colorful things, people that didn’t give a damn about anything except for themselves and their happiness, and a government that’s watching your every move. Not until he was completely separated from all that was he able to accept his new self and to move on; to make peace with his inner conflicts. Even he wasn’t able to accept and make peace when he was with Faber, someone he trusted and cared for. He was wounded by technology and healed by nature.

A critical analysis of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953, depicts a grim and also quite feasible prediction of a futuristic world. In Bradbury’s technology-obsessed society, a clear view of the horrific effects that a fixation for mindlessness would have on a civilization shows through his writing. Being carefree is encouraged while people who think “outside the box” are swiftly and effectively removed. The technology Bradbury’s society is designed to keep the people uninformed, which the vast majority of are happily and voluntarily in their ignorant state.

There are many details in this novel that suggest that the future of a society obsessed with advanced technology is not only bleak but also dangerous.

Bradbury’s use of certain machines shows the emphasis his society has on thoughtlessness. For example, a commonly referenced appliance is the parlor wall. The parlor walls keep people thoughtless by blasting noise and colors at its audience, which is evident in the passage: “A great thunderstorm of sound gushed from the walls.

Music bombarded him at such an immense volume that his bones were almost shaken from their tendons; he felt his jaw vibrate, his eyes wobble in his head. He was a victim of concussion”(45). The speed of which the shows hit their viewers is so intense that one cannot think or grasp on to any sort of thought. Another key example of technology promoting a thoughtless society is the earpieces. Earpieces are small enough to place inside your ear, where, when in place, broadcast the noise from the parlor walls.

Mildred, throughout the entire novel, wears her earpieces, “She had both ears plugged with electronic bees that were humming the hour away”(18). The technology in school also illustrates how thinking for oneself and being an individual is considered both appalling and strange. Clarisse describes her school’s schedule, ‘”An hour of TV class, and hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know that we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film teacher”‘(29). After analyzing the evidence presented, it is clear that the society in Fahrenheit 451 does not value thoughtful consideration and does not have to worry about being inconvenienced by such concerns with the use of their advanced technology.

Read Also: Critical Review Essay Topic Examples

Numerous examples of technology also suggest the threatening aspect of a society based upon advancements. The Mechanical Hound, for instance, directly shows the potential for danger. This contraption’s main purpose is essentially that of a killing machine; if someone is a menace to society, it is only a matter of time before they are exterminated. The Mechanical Hound is introduced in the novel by Montag, “It was like a great bee come home from some field where the honey is full of poison wildness, of insanity and nightmare, its body crammed with that overrich nectar, and now it was sleeping the evil out of itself”(24). Montag’s description of the Hound introduces his concept to the readers that although a robot is not human and, therefore, cannot be evil; there is still an ominous characteristic looming about the Hound. However, Bradbury’s society is also a great danger to itself. An example of this would be people driving in their jet cars.

Members of this society do not understand the meaning of caution, which clearly shines through when they get behind the wheel, “The beetle was rearing. The beetle raised its speed. The beetle was whining. The beetle was in high thunder. The beetle came skimming. The beetle came in a single whistling trajectory, fired from an invisible rifle. It was up to 120 mph. It was up to 130 at least”(127). The use of this machine shows that society is more concerned with speed and pleasure seeking than the well-being of others, which is an exceptionally dangerous priority to have. The frightening side of technology is apparent, also, when the advanced bombs of this world are mentioned.

The setting of Bradbury’s novel is at a time of war; bombs are dropped onto the society that once was home to Montag, “Perhaps the bombs were there, and the jets, ten miles, five miles, one mile up, for the merest instance, like a grain thrown over the heavens by a great sowing hand, and the bombs drifting with dreadful swiftness, yet sudden slowness, down upon the morning city they had left behind”(158). Undoubtedly, these bombs are a sinister and dangerous progression for technology. Bradbury’s society has many reasons to feel threatened by the advancements of its world.

However, feeling threatened is impossible for a society that is founded on the principals of apathy. The people are carefree, which is encouraged by the government. How can a society with no worries rise up and rebel? The government obviously has the advantage of manipulation, which is carried out by their technology. Clarisse has an appropriate way of describing the bleakness of a society that doesn’t care, ‘”I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly,” she said. “If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! He’d say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That’s a rose garden!”‘(9). The uneasiness Clarisse feels for the way people behave in her time depicts how people do not take the time to enjoy the smaller parts of life because nobody in this society cares. Another machine that proves the threat of a technology-obsessed society is the need for the stomach pump. Bradbury mentions early on in the novel that people often overdose on sleeping pills, not purposefully, but because they pay so little attention to the amount of pills ingested, overdosing is extremely commonplace.

Mildred, at one point, swallows too many pills, Montag describes the machine used to pump her stomach, “They had two machines, really. One of them slid down your stomach like a black cobra down an echoing well looking for all the old water and the old time gathered there”(14). The need for a piece of technology like the stomach pump in this novel, only further supports the evidence of technology showing the threatening effects of a carefree society. Another advancement designed to accommodate the need to have no worries all the time would be the incinerator Beatty speaks about to Montag, ‘”Funerals are unhappy and pagan? Eliminate them, too.

Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of dust”‘(60). Beatty confirms the severity of the level of apathy in the fact that his society is so concerned about being unconcerned that technology must do all of the dirty work. A society, which has all the technology to take care of such inconveniences, would and, by using Bradbury’s novel for verification, does make a society carefree, which has been proven time and time again to be an incredibly threatening outcome.

Several fine points of the novel portray Bradbury’s implication that a society founded on the need for advanced technology is doomed to lead a bleak and dangerous existence. Examples of technology promoting a brainless society are abundant throughout the entire book. Even more technology illustrates the hazards and harmful aspects of these technological advancements. When both the developed machines that encourage thoughtlessness along with the destructive technology of the future are considered, one can plainly see that the worst advancements of all of those of which show the grim and threatening effects of a carefree society. Possibly the most uncanny feature of reading Bradbury’s novel is the fact that, realistically, our society has been working up to a technology-obsessed way of life for quite some time, and our impending future could very well be a mirrored image of Fahrenheit 451.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1991.

Fahrenheit 451 Symbolism-the River

In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Montag’s escape through the river svmbolizes his salvation, along with several other things. . In several other instances besides the river, water is used to contrast fire and to thus show the difference between good and evil. Also, the forest through which the travels river symbolizes the innocence of mankind before civilization. This is merely a scaratch on the surface of this novel’s seemingly endless symbolism. Fahrenheit tells the story of a fireman named Montag whose job is to set fire to books in order to maintain society’s ignorance.

When Montag kills Beatty, the Fire Chief, he decides to run from the world that he has lived his whole life in. His newfound friend Faber, another person on the outskirts of society, tells him that he will be safe if he makes it to the river. This is an illustration of literal salvation. Rivers often represent “divine emmissaries, life, and the enterance into the afterlife” (Jobes 1341).

“After a long time of floating… [Montag] knew he must never burn again” (Bradbury 141). This shows that the river changes Montag or is at least the cocoon in which he stays while he undergoes a metamorphisis into what is basically a different person. Also, it is interesting that, in the old South as well as in Biblical times, the baptisms of new Christians often would take place in the nearest river or creek.

Montag’s journey in the river seems to be a baptism of sorts, as it frees him from the shackles and chains of his former life.

The river, however, is only the vessel in which Montag travels to the heart of the forest. The forest is the “abode of man in his state of innocence, and a Hebrew symbol for kingdom” (Jobes 594). In the novel, the forest and the river are likened to one another at times, such as when Montag describes the forest floor as “a dry river smelling of hot cloves and warm dust” (Bradbury 144). When Montag several men who, like him, are on the outside of society looking in, they are at the old railroad tracks tht cut through the heart of the forest like a rusty dagger wielded by the filthy hand of industry. It is here that he finds his real redemption.

The river is not the only use of water as symbolism in Fahrenheit 451. Water symbolizes “baptism, cleansing, resurrection, and is a source of both good and evil” (Jobes 167). Water is used on numerous occasions to contrast with fire, wich is representative of “divine love, fervor, and life, but also divine anger, destuction, and death” (Jobes 571).

Usually, they contrast good and evil, and although fire is generally associated with evil, its symbolism begins to change toward the end of the novel When Montag sees the fire the men in the forest are using to warm themselves, he realizes “he [has] never thought in his life that fire [can] give as well as take” (Bradbury 147). The fire is a metaphor for Montag; he finally realizes that he can change the world for the better instead of for the worse.

Ray Bradbury’s novel offers a rich tapestry of symbolism to all those who read it.

Bradbury weaves a seemingly endless amount of symbols into his story in a way that is wonderfully eloquent, distinctly American, and easily accessible to the casual reader. His passionate cry against censorship and engaging story has enthralled readers for the past 50 years. He uses symbolism to help get his point across, and thus makes the story work on a deeper level. Through symbolism, Bradbury has found a way to affect the reader in the very core of their being, and he has made this novel one whose jarring imact stays with the reader long after they have turned he final page.

Dynamic Character

In the novel, Fahrenheit 451, the main character, Guy Montag, qualifies as a dynamic character. A dynamic character is, by definition, a character that undergoes important changes throughout the course of the novel. Because he goes through a metamorphosis as he struggles through internal conflict during the novel, Guy Montag is a dynamic character.

In the beginning, Montag is a very normal man relative to his society. He is a city fireman and burns books and houses without regret. Montag loves everything about his job; the power, the destruction of houses and books, and even the smell of the kerosene that he churns out daily.

He even feels pride and satisfaction in the jobs he carries out. His change, though, soon begins when he meets with a peculiar girl named Clarisse.

Clarisse makes Montag actually think, an uncommon thing in this peculiar society. Her pure innocence brings out a different side of him; one that doesn’t involve thoughtless burnings. He then, as a result of her insight, begins to question himself and even the society he lives in.

Another influence on Montag is the suicidal woman whose house he was about to burn. He ponders what in books can be important enough to die for. Her gruesome suicide pushes Montag over the edge and he forces himself to finally open a book.

Montag continues his metamorphosis from a heartless book burner to a philosophical learner. Guy continues gaining information and forming his opinion about his odd society. Montag soon realizes that there is no return from his change when he is forced to burn his own house and murder Beatty. In a way he is burning his own past and all that goes with it. His subsequent fleeing of the seen also symbolizes the final step in his change. It is Montag literally leaving his past of senselessness and destruction.

Guy Montag becomes a sensible, book loving educator. His metamorphosis is complete with memorizing books in a contribution to end the norm of his society. He makes a tremendous change both mentally and physically. Because of his change, though it caused him great hardships, Guy Montag is a dynamic character.

George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Picture this, an ideal world of complete harmony and justice. There is no incorrect, and there is no right. There is just utopia. It may be the best location where individuals wish to live, or the place that individuals dream about. It might even be the photo of the future. Nevertheless, this Utopian world is revealed to have defects. It lacks many of the qualities of life that exist today. Therefore the Utopian world isn’t so Utopian any longer. And the more that is exposed about the world, the more dreadful it ends up being.

Quickly, it becomes a problem, a world of illusions, of lies. That is the dystopic world that authors such as Bradbury and George Orwell pictures in their books, a world that exists under the image of utopia, and yet to the reader appears like a foreign, inhumane house controlled by an all-powerful government.

George Orwell’s 1984, and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 illustrates two various dystopic worlds.

The settings of both books are different and the characters are distinct; nevertheless, both of these books are likewise very similar. 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 are comparable dystopic literatures by a typical style of censorship in which the federal government withholds or censors information, by a comparable thread of a police state running the dystopic world, and by a common knowledge of the reality that the lead character and the villain both hold.

Censorship is an amazing easy idea: the ability of the government to keep or change info that passes into the general public. All governments have some type of censorship, and some federal governments have less censorship than others. Yet censorship can also become a tough principle to understand, for censorship enables the federal government to influence how individuals think. The less censorship there is, the more individuals begin to believe, which according to requirements today, is an advantage. Nevertheless, police states such as the ones in Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 do not want people to believe. They desire individuals to just do, and thus it becomes an ideal apparently Utopian world that the reader interprets as a piece of dystopic literature. In Fahrenheit 451, Beatty describes,” Colored people do not like Little Black Sambo. Burn it.

White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it” (pp.59). Beatty is declaring that there are many minorities as well as distinct groups of people. A perfect world must satisfy all of them, so if a book comes up that someone doesn’t like, burn it. However, burning is a permanent process. A burned book cannot be recovered. Thus, as more books are burned, more history, information is being erased. People’s minds begin to dull from lack of reading and in the end; people accept the fact that the government controls them and their actions. Similarly, a quote from 1984 explains, “The messages he had received referred to articles or news items which for one reason or another it was thought necessary to alter, or…rectify…It was therefore necessary to rewrite a paragraph of Big Brother’s speech…” (38, 39).

In this quote, Winston works in the Ministry of Truth to change the information that reaches the public. This is also censorship in order to keep the proles, the majority of the population, ignorant. By changing the information, there is no proof that people have against the validity of the government, and therefore people are sedated. In a similar way to Fahrenheit 451, the people come to gradually accepting the censored documents that reach them. They could take one fact one day, and the completely opposite fact another. Thus when the two books of dystopic literature are compared, the similar motif of censorship can be seen to play a huge part in the way the world runs. The government utilizes censorship while the common people accept it. When the reader sees this, it imparts a sense of horror in the seemingly Utopian world, and thus makes the two pieces of literature dystopic.

Another aspect that connects the two pieces of literature together is the idea of a totalitarian government ruling the people. In both works, the government creates the sense of a utopian world. The idea is that the government rules every aspect of the people’s lives, and that is the only way for a utopia to exist. This way of thinking is also twisted in a sense, because totalitarian governments do not care for the well being of its people. The people who rule only want power. That is why the reader realizes that the piece of literature is dystopic. In Fahrenheit 451, the totalitarian government controls the police, mechanical hounds, and the firemen.

The firemen act under the wishes of the government to burn people’s books. An explanation of the firemen is revealed in Beatty’s quote, ” …there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of out peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior: official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me” (58, 59). Beatty is explaining the reason that governments created firemen to burn books. The government can censor information that the public receives with the creation of the firemen, and it is the job to the people and the firemen to do their duties without question. That illustrates the totalitarian government in the society of Fahrenheit 451.

In 1984, the totalitarian government is led by a figure, Big Brother. The Inner Party and the Outer Party are also part of the totalitarian government, only consisting of 15% of the population of Oceania. These people in the Inner and Outer Parties, with the exception to Winston, are devoted to Big Brother. Big Brother is the figure that holds the party and utopian society together, and the propaganda and demonstrations center around the totalitarian form of government. What is really scary about the totalitarian society is that when someone goes against protocol, like Winston did, he/she was not executed immediately. Instead, they are made to love the totalitarian society and show devotion towards it. Then they are killed. This is illustrated in the quote, ” He looked up again at the portrait of Big Brother…the final, indispensable, healing change had never happened, until this moment…

The long-hoped-for bullet was entering his brain… He loved Big Brother” (297). Winston was tortured at the Ministry of Love in order to love Big Brother. The government never killed him, and finally at the end, Winston loved Big Brother and was finally in bliss. This shows the horrors of the government. The government has total control over the people, and no one can escape from committing a crime against the government. The government will always and forever be. That is one of the reasons why the piece of literature is considered dystopic. It is also a reason why 1984 is a powerful book and serves as a warning to the readers. In conclusion, a similar aspect of both dystopic literatures is the totalitarian form of government in both. That type of government holds the Utopian society together, and it is precisely that aspect that horrifies the reader and makes both pieces of literature dystopic.

A final point that both Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 have in common is that the protagonist as well as the antagonist who know the truth about the type of
society they live in. Unlike the common people, the protagonist realizes that the world they live in is not perfect. The majority of people are content with their society, but Winston, in 1984, and Montag, in Fahrenheit 451, realizes that there could be so much more in the world that they live in. Montag discovers the truth and knowledge that the burned books contain. Montag shows curiosity for books by saying, ” There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing” (51). Montag shows interest at books because he saw a woman voluntarily burn herself alongside her books.

Thus he reasoned that books must contain substance. It also illustrates that Montag is a flaw to the perfect Utopian society. Even his wife shows little care for books or the fact that a woman was burned with her books. However, Montag starts to glimpse the imperfect society he lives in. Winston is also unhappy with how the government is and especially because of how there is little or no privacy. He is driven with the dreams and hopes of a better place, a better government in which to live in. He demonstrates this by writing in a diary, which was against the rules of the government.

He also rebels in a sense by writing in the diary, ” DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER” (20). Another connection that is shared by Montag and Winston is that both their wives illustrated the perfect form of beings in the society. Winston even stated that he hated his wife because she really didn’t have a mind of her own. This showed that there were only few people in the Utopian society that realized the society and government for what it was, and that the society was terrible.

The antagonists also know the truth of the world they live in. In Fahrenheit 451, the antagonist is Beatty, who has read many books himself. He is very knowledgeable and uses literature to confuse Montag. In the end, the reader gets a sense of Beatty wanting Montag to kill him in order to be free of the acts he is committing and the government he is in. Beatty provokes and pushes Montag to kill him by saying, ” Go ahead now, you second-hand litterateur, pull the trigger” (119). Although it doesn’t state clearly in the book that Beatty wanted Montag to kill him, it is one way of viewing this matter. In a similar way, O’Brien is the antagonist of 1984. During the part when he interrogated Winston, the reader learns that O’Brien is really with Big Brother, and he has accepted the fate and results of the current government a long time ago.

He even admits that he wants power and control. O’Brien proves both these facts by stating, “They got me a long time ago” (239), and, “The party seek power entirely for its own sake…It is exactly the opposite of the stupid hedonistic Utopias that the old reformers imagined” (263, 267) O’Brien admits to siding with the current totalitarian government, but also admitting that the current society is flawed and grants power to a select few, at the cost of the other 85% of the population. Thus, the two pieces of literature also share the fact that the protagonists and antagonists know the whole, or part, truth. It is these connections that bring together these two books written about dystopic literature.

And to conclude, Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 are both pieces of dystopic literature. Both have many aspects in common. Although the two books are unrelated to each other in the sense of characters and the setting, both illustrate a dystopic world and give similar reasons and ideas about such a world. Both books illustrate how censorship can be used to control the people under the influence of the government. The books also reveal the necessity for a totalitarian government in order for the world to be a utopia and yet to the reader, dystopic.

Finally, both pieces of literature show that there are flaws to this type of world to the protagonist as well as the antagonist in it. However, the way that the authors illustrate the outcome of the protagonist and antagonist is different. In George Orwell’s cruel dystopic world, the protagonist loses all hope and loves Big Brother at the end. In Bradbury’s dystopic world, Montag retains the hope that with his knowledge of books, humans can one day dispel the cruelty and censorship of the totalitarian government.

While Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 can be read and just taken as a fantasy, a book that illustrates what could have happened, but did not. However, the authors of these books did not intend them to be simply read and discarded. What the author wants to impart to the reader is a warning. The warning is that in the future, the world that humans live in might one day mirror the world created by Bradbury or Orwell. If there is one thing for certain, it is a threat that the current world will reflect a world in Fahrenheit 451 or 1984. After all, humankind is evolving with swiftness, and anything can happen. There are many televisions in the world. Only one more step to make them all interact with each other and transmit/receive images, and the telescreens in 1984 exist. Sound, which is a predominant part of the utopian world, is taking up people’s time and thoughts in the real world.

With all of the MP3’s and all of the other music tools that people constantly listen to, life indeed is starting to mirror the worlds of Orwell and Bradbury. Finally, people go at a quicker and faster pace now. Eventually, there will be a point where people have to stop and think about what is truly happening around them and to think about nature. If this does not happen, then indeed the world will be thrust into an unending cycle of chaos, and some may call it utopia when that happens. When a government arises to take power without the question or consent of the people, then is it utopia, or chaos and slavery?


Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. The Ballantine Publishing Group, 1953.

Orwell George. 1984. New American Library, NY, 1949.

“Fahrenheit 451” Study questions and answers

Part 1: The Hearth and the Salamander

1. a) When does this story take place?

The story takes place in the future, approximately 500 years from the time this book was written, so we estimate around the year 2450. The story is also set in the autumn. b) What clue does the author offer to support this theory on page 4? The author uses technology that doesn’t exist yet to support his theory. The example on page 4 would be: « the silent air-propelled train slid soundlessly down its lubricated flue in the earth and let him out with a great puff of warm air onto the cream-tiled escalator rising to the suburb.

» On page 5 we know it is autumn when the author writes: “ The autumn leaves blew over…”.

2. a) What does Guy Montag do for a living? (p. 3-4)
Guy Montag is a fireman. In this book, firemen start fires in houses to be able to burn the books inside of these.

b) How does he feel about his job at the beginning of the novel? Find one sentence that supports your answer.

(p. 3)
The main character is very happy with his job in the beginning of the novel as we can see in the first two lines: “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.”

3. a) Find a metaphor on page 3.
The metaphor found on page 3 is: “…with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world…”

b) Find a metaphor on page 5.
The metaphor on page 5 is: “Her face was slender and milk-white, and in it was a kind of gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity.” 4. a) Explain the symbolism of the girl’s “milk-white” face and white dress. (p. 5) The girl’s face and dress are milk-white and this symbolises purity. She is only 17 years old and very pure. White also symbolises the girl’s frailty and femininity. It also serves as a contrast to the very dark nature of the novel. b) At what other point in the story does the author use this same technique? (p. 36-38) When the author is speaking of the book as an innocent thing: “ A book lit, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering. In the dim, wavering light, a page hung open and it was like a snowy feather, the words delicately painted thereon.” Once again, the author has used the whiteness to show the oppression in this world so sombre.

5. a) Why do they have 200 foot-long billboards on the side on the highway? (p.9) The author explains this well when Clarisse asks Montag: “Have you seen the two hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last.”

b) What is Clarisse referring to when she talks about green, pink, white, and brown blurs (p. 9)
When Clarisse speaks of green blurs, she is referring to grass, pink blurs to rose gardens, white blurs to houses and brown blurs to cows. This is telling us that the drivers are driving very fast and therefore do not take the time to examine what’s around them.

6. What clue does the author give in order to describe human interaction in Guy’s world? (p. 10)
The author describes human interaction in Guy’s world as very superficial when he describes his apparently casual meeting with Clarisse as unusual. We know this when the author writes: “What a strange meeting on a strange night. He remembered nothing like it save one afternoon a year ago when he had met an old man in the park and they had talked…”

7. The author describes Montag’s bedroom as cold, dark, and quiet. Find two words that support this statement. (p. 11)
The author describes his room as cold, dark, and quiet when he says words
like: “mausoleum, tomb and darkness” The first two are resting places for the dead and the last one speaks for itself.

8. a) In your own words, summarize how Mildred was saved from certain death after overdosing on pills. (p. 14-15)
Mildred was saved from certain death after overdosing on pills by a couple of machinists. The first machine pumps out the poison with a tube that went into her stomach. It had a camera at the end of it that the operator looked through. The other machine served as a blood transfusion mechanism. It replaced the contaminated blood with new one. b) What is significant about the manner in which the “Operators” saved Mildred’s life? (p. 14-15)

The fact that it was a the operators saved Mildred in a very mechanical way, instead of doctors, shows us how evolved the technology has become. It is also significant in the sense that it is done in a casual manner and that it is very normal to do so in this world. c) Why do you think Mildred decided to take all of these pills? I think Mildred decided to take all of these pills because she was not satisfied with her life. She knew there was better ways to live and decided that she could never achieve this way of living because of her social status. We know there are a lot of these cases when the operator says: “We get these cases nine or ten a night. Got so many, starting a few years ago, we had the special machines built.”

9. What is the significance of Guy’s meeting with Clarisse? What effect does it have on him?
Guy’s meeting with Clarisse is very significant because it opens him to the thought process. He never stopped to analyse anything before. He just did what he was supposed to do, like burn books. It has the effect that he is beginning to think things out. Example: “Of course I’m happy. What does she think? I’m not? he asked the quiet rooms.” (p. 10) and “ There are too many of us, he thought…” (p. 16).

10. On page 18, what clue does the author give to show that this story is taking place in the future?
The author shows the us that this story is taking place in the future with the help of technology again when he says: “Toast popped out of the silver toaster, was seized by a spidery metal hand that drenched it with melted butter.” and “She had both ears plugged with electronic bees”.

11. Find an antithesis on page 24.
The antithesis found on page 24 are: “…a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling…” and “slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live”.

12. a) How does Captain Beatty describe the Mechanical Hound? Find on sentence that supports your answer.
Captain Beatty describes the Mechanical Hound as emotionless and it acts upon our reactions / way of thinking, on page 26, when he says: “It doesn’t like or dislike. It just ‘functions.’ It’s like a lesson in ballistics. It has a trajectory we decide on for it. It follows through. It targets itself, homes itself, and cuts off. It’s only copper wire, storage batteries, and electricity.”

b) What is symbolic about the Hound?
The Hound is a symbol of cruelty and bitterness. We know this when Montag describes the programming as: “all we put into it is hunting and finding and killing. What a shame if that’s all it can ever know.” (p. 27) Beatty further proves the symbolism of the type of justice in this world when he replies to Montag by saying: “It’s a fine bit of craftsmanship, a good rifle that can fetch its own target and guarantees the bull’s-eye every time”. It is also symbolic of the society because it just does and doesn’t think before doing.

13. a) How does Clarisse describe the education system in her society? (p. 29) Clarisse describes the education system in her society as her society in general, that is that you are told what to think. She describes a typical day at school: “An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures, and more sports, but do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film teacher.”

b) Contrast Clarisse and the other Students her own age (p. 29-31). Clarisse is considered antisocial and doesn’t mix with the others. While the others do as they are told, they are considered social. She gives this diverging opinion on socialism when she tells Montag: “Being with people is nice. But I don’t think it’s social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?”. c) What is ironic about the other students’ perception of Clarisse? It is very ironic that other children don’t like Clarisse because she is afraid of them. I say this is ironic because it would be normal to be afraid of people who kill each other. “I’m afraid of children my own age. They kill each other…I’m afraid of them and they don’t like me because I’m afraid.”

14. a) How does the author exemplify society’s indifference or lack of caring and understanding on page 32?
The author exemplifies society’s indifference when the firemen are playing cards nonchalantly while a war is going on outside. “ November fourth…sighing on their cards…The voice clock mourned out the cold hour of a cold morning of a still colder year…war may be declared any hour…”

b) Find another example of this on page 44.
Another example of society’s lack of caring would be when the author writes: “ And he remembered thinking then that if she died, he was certain he wouldn’t cry. For it would be the dying of an unknown, a street face , a newspaper image…”

15. What do we learn about Guy and Mildred’s relationship on pages 43 and 44? We learn that the Montags don’t really know each other when they can’t remember when they met: ““Why it was at-” She stopped. “I don’t know,” she said. He was cold. “Can’t you remember?” “It’s been so long.” “Only ten years, that’s all, only ten!” The author also mentions the wall between the two: “…wasn’t there a wall between him and Mildred…” 16. a) What do we learn about Clarisse on page 47

We learn that Clarisse is dead on page 47 when Mildred tells Montag: “I think she’s gone…I think she’s dead…no the same girl. McClellan.” b) Analyze Mildred’s speech. How does the way she talks reflect her personality? Mildred’s speech shows us that she is impersonal when she forgets about the neighbour being killed by a car four days ago. She also isn’t sure of the situation and doesn’t seem to care to much when she says: “No, not sure. Pretty sure…Forgot…I forgot all about it”.

17. a) What is the cause of Montag’s “illness”?
Montag’s illness is caused by the fact that a woman has died in a fire that they caused the night before. “We burnt a thousand books. We burnt a woman….she was rational as you and I, more so perhaps, and we burnt her.” (p. 50-51).

b) Do you believe he is actually sick? Explain.
I don’t believe he is actually sick because he is questioning his career and has a book he wants to read. “Montag fell back in bed. He reached under his pillow. The hidden book was still there. Mildred, how would it be if, well, maybe, I quit my job awhile?” (p. 50-51).

18. On page 51, what reason does Montag give for becoming a fireman? Montag tells us that he didn’t have a choice of career. He had to follow his family line of work when he says: ““Thought!” he said. “Was I given a choice? My grandfather and father were firemen. In my sleep, I ran after them.” on page 51.

19. How does captain Beatty justify the burning of books? What reasons does he give to support his theory? (p. 58-63)
Captain Beatty justifies the burning of books as a means to eliminate prejudice against intellectualism and thus improve happiness. We see this when he says: “the word ‘intellectual’, of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.” (p. 58) and “You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred…People want to be happy, isn’t that right?” (p. 59). He also says that this happiness is the backbone to his theory when he speaks of death on page 60: “Five minutes after a person is dead he’s on his way to the Big Flue, the Incinerators serviced by helicopters all over the country. Ten minutes after death a man’s a speck of black dust. Let’s not quibble over individuals with memoriums. Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”

20. As Montag looked through a window, he remembered that Clarisse had once mentioned that most houses had no front porches, no gardens, and no rocking chairs. Why do you think this is so?
Most houses don’t have any front porches, gardens or rocking chairs because this led to discussion and analyzation of the day passing by. It is considered as dead time, time to think. “…the real reason, hidden underneath, might be they didn’t want people sitting like that, doing nothing, rocking, talking; that was the wrong kind of social life. People talked too much. And they had time to think. So they ran off with the porches. And the gardens, too.” (p. 63).