Ray Bradbury Short Stories
The Tone and Mood of Self-reflection in “Fahrenheit 451” Movie Trailer
Everything within the trailer depicts the overall tone and mood of self reflection. The movie trailer for Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, begins with a full shot of a major explosion, and then cuts to the scene of an advanced society all at eye level. This scene is included to draw in the audience’s attention, as it helps bring curiosity to the events leading up to the explosion. This tone of curiosity is included in the first scene to get the audience thinking, which is crucial for the next scene as it is referring to the daily lives of people in this society. Through the use of both full and mid shots along with high angle and eye level, you can visualize the aspects of their society that are similar to our own society along with aspects that show, how we ultimately have the potential of becoming like them if we stay on a blinded course. This idea makes the scene more relatable, therefore further engaging the audience at a greater extent. The scenes of lifestyle are shown in a negative way intentionally in order to develop a disgraceful tone. The scene following depicts Montag is emerging as an enlightened being.
The brief scene following depicts Clarisse, through through the use of mid shots and eye level angle with Clarisse being in front on the camera. This is meant to show how Clarisse is more enlightened than Montag, as well as showing how Montag is enlightened by Clarisse. Beatty is depicted in this scene as he is crucial to the book. He is shown when the audience sees someone burning a house down whereas the house represents Montag’s house burning which is a symbol of essentially the “death” of fireman Montag and the man being Beatty. This scene also includes the moment just before Montag jumps in the water and looks over it. This scene in connection with the biblical reference made in the book and ultimately symbolizes purity and rebirth. These scenes were chosen as they all allude to the idea of a new beginning, and the opportunity to a have a second chance at life, which allows to convey a tone of rebirth. The following scene conveys the obstacles he had to overcome during his early enlightenment phase. This scene depicts Faber through showing his lessons, while a train is driving away from the city. This train represents the scene where Montag is trying to understand the bible, but isn’t grasping the message of the book. Also, this scene includes where he is running away, and trying to get away from the city.
The use of high and eye levels angles in conjunction with mid and close shots, the center of attention is able to be placed on Montag, and shows him as someone who is looking down upon and he is going against the culture of the society. These scenes were chosen as they display key milestones in Montag’s development as an intellectual which are important to understand the story and Montag’s evolution in society. The scenes of Montag trying to break free from the influence of society conveys a tone of rebellious or mutinous. Also following is another explosion. The purpose of this explosion however, is meant to show the ultimate consequence of the society’s actions. Lastly, Montag and his group return to the destroyed city, shown by the truck driving towards the city on fire to start a new society. This is to show Montag new beginning with his group of intellectuals. The tone of this scene is meant to be hopeful, intense and optimistic as they essentially now have a second chance at life.
The Idea of Bravery in the Literature
The concept of bravery can mean many things, to many people. To some, being brave means standing up to injustice and fighting for change, while others being brave means aiding those who are fighting for change for everyone’s well-being. But what most people do not know about bravery is that, they must be brave enough to be the change they want to see in their society and government. If individuals are not changing themselves for the better and are criticizing others for doing the same, they have no right to preach about the need for change. In order to better the future of the greater good, individuals must seek change within themselves before they demand change from their society and government, because everyone needs to be okay with doing what needs to be done for the greater good, fighting temptation, and relying on strangers, to instill these changes.
Nothing comes easy to a leader because they must carry the weight/burden of the hard decisions that have to be made, so the people they are fighting for do not have too. And leaders must be brave enough to stand up and fight for the change they want to see, to ensure the safety of the greater good. The fictional character Clarke Griffin from the book and television series, The 100 by Jason Rothenberg, she too has to continually make difficult decisions that revolve around her people’s safety and she swears she will never let them carry the weight of things that have been done in order to ensure their safety, “I bear it so they don’t have too” (Rothenberg). Although the pressure of having to make the hard decisions is weighing down on Clarke heavily, she would not dare to ask anyone to help her solver her problem because she cares too much for her people. She cares so much about their well-being and mental/emotional state of mind she is willing to completely willing to disregard her own, and that is why Clarke Griffin is a great leader; she is brave enough to tarnish her soul so her people’s will stay pure. When enticing a revolution that will ultimately better the future of everyone (no matter race, sexual orientation, or class), tough calls and hard decisions have to be made (such as deciding who is worth saving, who is dispensable, who’s a liability, etc.). Without someone to take lead and deal with the hardships that come with life, there will be no order and all of humanity will be lost.
Breaking the law and doing things that may seem wrong, but will ultimately make society a better place, should not be seen as crimes. If it ensures the safety and well-being of society and future generations then so be it. Guy Montag (who is also hero that stands up and fights for change) from the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury too has had to do unspeakable things so the people of the future are never harmed by the people he has terminated. Guy killed another character (along with multiple others) named Beatty who tried to stop Guy’s plan to restore books into people’s lives again. Guy killing Beatty can be seen as multiple things: a mercy killing, a vengeful killing, etc., but at the end of the day Montag killed Beatty so he could not hurt anyone else. Beatty, the Hound, and the rest of Guy’s fire-squad (along with his house) all had to go because they signified the old ways of life and Montag could not let them continue to be a reminder of what is keeping them from prospering as a people again, “Beatty, he thought, you’re not a problem now. You always said, don’t face a problem, burn it. Well now I’ve done both” (Bradbury 115). Guy will forever feel guilty about killing everyone and for the “mess” he had made, but he knew what he had done was for the greater good, and needed to be done.
Being true to oneself and morals that have been set is crucial to anyone who is trying to change themselves for the greater good and fight for change. Values keep people grounded and sane, without them there would be no order within society. Individuals may be surrounded by people who are too scared or do not care enough to stand up for what they know is right, but that should not deter the individuals from doing the right thing. When individuals feel something that is going on around them is not right, it is their duty to bring it to other’s attention and try to change things for the better. In the article “Like No One Is Watching” by Beverly Flaxington, she explains what being a good person means and what they do when faced with injustice, even if others are not supportive, “Sometimes doing the right thing may bring about criticism from other people, including those whose perspective matters to you. However, you need to remember that no one else lives your life… At the end of the day, the only person who must deal with your conscience is you alone” (psychologytoday.com). The only person that has to deal with decisions they have made is that said person, so if others do not approve of things that person does should not worry them at all. They have to live their lives for themselves.
Guy also struggles with being true to who he really is and figuring out what he values in life. When he is considering whether or not he should pursue his knowledge and understandings of books it is a key example of values, and what they mean to people. Guy started valuing books [long before the reader was aware of it] even though it was against the law. He knew one day it would be up to him to gather the books he collected over time and find out the meaning of each so he could one day share the knowledge to those who are ignorant as well, “Nobody listens any more. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me. I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read” (Bradbury 78). Guy is pleading with Faber to teach the meaning of books because he knows (deep inside) that there’s something to books that changes them in a way that makes themselves and everyone around them more pleasant. And those are the types changes needed for a prosperous society and government filled with honest people who value integrity.
When people are just driven by temptation and idiotic fixes that ultimately end up harming the individual and everyone around them, there is no structure and people start living dangerous selfish lives. Having integrity is crucial when wanting to demand change to help better society’s lives, because it shows you are in the right state of mind and are in no need of development to help you prepare for the change that is sure to come. If a person does not have integrity, and is shouting for change within their society and government, nothing will ever improve. Improvement will never happen because that person has to be willing to see that change needs to happen within themselves before they can change anything else. Not having values that are important and meaningful sets everyone up for failure, because they have nothing to live for. In the article “What Matters Most In Life?” by Dennis Prager, he explains how people can never change and improve if they do not have anything meaningful to live for, “Almost everything that is wrong with the world comes from people either not having higher moral values, or not living by them, because they feel they want to something else” (prageru.com). When individuals start to realize that what is wrong with the world may (and most likely) stem from them, the world will ultimately be a better place because everyone will be more aware of their actions.
Acts of rage further proves the point that Guy is the perfect person to lead the “rebellion” and demand change for those around him (and himself) because he is not afraid to speak his mind to people he does know. Hereby meaning he deeply cares about setting things straight once and for all, and saving the people of the city from themselves. As Mildred (Montag’s wife) and her friends are watching television and conversing amongst themselves, Guy becomes really aggravated at what he hears. After hearing enough of their ridiculously selfish conversations he decides to speak up and confront the women on how their absurd behavior. Montag calling the women out on their selfish, frivolous actions really connects to the ideas of having morals that people live by every day in order to change the systems of society and the government perfectly. If everyone lived the way they wanted with no morals and no remorse, society and the government would deteriorate immediately. People need structure and rules to live by, to ensure everyone’s morality, safety, and mental assurance,
Go home, Montag fixed his eyes upon her quietly. Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you’ve had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarean sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it? (98).
Guy could no longer hide his distaste of the unconcerned women and really opened their eyes to the reality Guy has been recently introduced to. Every now and then, people need to be reminded of morality and values in order to change both their lives and themselves for the better. Montag needed to hear those women speak and chastise them for their horrible actions, to show him the brutal truth of how life really is for them and to further motivate him to do what needs to be done. He just needs the help of an old, wise, retired English teacher to point him in the right direction (figuratively and literally).
Anonymity is one of the main reasons people talk to strangers. There is a sense of safety that comes with telling secrets to strangers, because in the end the stranger cannot use your secret against you because they do not know you. When individuals turn to strangers to talk about important things that have happened to them or in their lives, it normally means those individuals are too afraid or are unwilling to share what has happened to them to close friends or family members. The individuals may not be able to trust or feel comfortable with those who which they share “intimacy”, so they confide in strangers who are not able to judge them because the stranger does not know the individual personally. Individuals may also need to speak to someone they know will give them good advice. In the article “Why Don’t We Confide in the People Closest to Us? by Bella DePaulo Ph.D, she provides statistics as to why people confide in strangers rather than individuals they are familiar with, “20% of the time, participants said they looked for someone with particular expertise or insight. Those included doctors, therapists, spiritual guides, and personal advisors, including financial advisors” (psychology.com). When speaking freely to someone trustworthy (who is also not going to judge you) can be very liberating. It could be the right amount of motivation and/or inspiration an individual needs to go out and change the world for the better. But no one can change the world on their own; others must be willing to change within themselves as well.
If everyone talked to one another about their issues and had a little faith, they would be able to save themselves from the injustice they are enduring every day. Guy expressing his (and everyone else’s) discontent with life to Faber portrayed a sense of self-discovery that he has never experienced before. He needed someone to sit and listen to all of the despair that has plagued their world, so they can come to some sort of resolution, “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help” (Bradbury 78). Confessing that the lives they live are not as pleasing as everyone makes them seem is very important to Guy’s development because it shows that he is changing to be the person he needs to be, in order to change everyone else so they can finally start living their lives as well. Seeing the misery that surrounds him is what pushes him to go out and try to change things before it is too late.
Leading individuals relying on those who they rarely know to help aid them in fighting for justice is crucial when trying to fight for change in a community, society and government. This act is crucial because it shows that strangers can come together and fight for the same cause even if they do not know each other, because they know they are fighting for the right thing. In the scholarly journal “Standing Up to Violence” by Craig Sautter, he told the story of young James Darby who asked President Clinton to stop the spread of violence that had plagued his city, a few days before he was killed. Even though James was only nine years old he knew someone had to speak out about the injustice that was going on in his town, which is why his story is so significant to those who also want to make a difference in the world, “I want you to stop the killing in the city… I think someone might kill me. I’m asking you nicely to stop it. I know you can do it” (Phi Delta Kappan). Even though James was unable to save himself from the injustice happening in his town, he was able to save millions that could have been killed later on. After his death, Clinton went on to invest five billion dollars into youth programs that would contribute to the dramatic decline of minor fatalities in his town. James will forever be remembered as a leader who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others in need and conclusively became the changed he wanted to see in the world, just like a character named Clarisse McClellan from Fahrenheit 451.
Small things such as asking questions and simply bringing other’s attention to things that need to be changed can be the right amount of “push” someone needs to start a rebellion or become the change they want to see in their society and government. Clarisse questioned Guy about his life and what it means to him. She interrogating Montag about his job and finally asking him if he was happy with his life is similar to small James’ plea to president Clinton. Clarisse asked about his happiness because she knew that he was not happy with what he was doing and that would open his eyes to seeing the true problem with his line of work and society. Both James and Clarisse pleaded with their “foreign confidants” in hope of change within their worlds, “Then she remembered something and came back to look at him with wonder and curiosity. “’Are you happy?’” she said… Of course I’m happy. What does she think? I’m not? he asked the quiets rooms” (Bradbury 7-8). Clarisse will always be remembered as the person who changed Guy’s heart forever.
Being the one who has to stand against all odds and fight for what is right may not be the easiest thing to do, but things will always get better after the war is won, even if a society has to wait seventy four years for their chance. In the book Mockingjay (third book of The Hunger Games series), Katniss Everdeen decides to become the Mockingjay after she realizes how evil her tyrant (President Snow) is and how much suffering he has caused. When he sent fighter jets to burn a hospital filled with injured war victims that was near Katniss to “send a message”, she knew she needed to officially stand up for her people and demand change, “President Snow says he’s sending a message? Well, I have one for him. You can torture us and bomb us and burn our districts to the ground, but do you see that? Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” (Collins 99-100). After realizing President Snow will stop at nothing to prove that everyone within the districts are just little pieces of a game they call life and he is in control, she knows she must fight with all she has to eliminate him so people can live their lives the way they want to live them.
Guy witnessing the woman being treated so poorly and ultimately being left to burn by the firemen when they came to burn her books and house, was essential to him because that was when his hatred and distaste for how they lived life and treated one another developed, “You weren’t there, you didn’t see… 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” (Bradbury 48). Montag seeing the woman’s devotion to her books really made him question what was so great about them. Never in his life has he seen someone willing to burn for their books and what they believe in, and this just made him all the more curious about the things that have been forbidden for so long. He knew there had to be a misconception about books because no one is willing to burn for something that is not crucially important.
Despite the fact that the entire society lost their freedom to take control of their lives, they seemed quite happy with their mundane lives. Before Guy met and Mildred overdosed, he never even questioned his line of work and way of life. That was because he (along with everyone else) was ignorant to the way things really were. This goes to show that ignorance truly is bliss. If everyone followed the rules and did not think about why things were the way they were, they would have continued being happy. They would have continued living their average American lives by constantly being entertained and occupied. Being oblivious to the bad things that happen in the world keeps individuals happy and focused on their own lives, and how great they are. After all, happiness is the key to living an admirable life.
Realizing that not everything is what it seems within their world (community, society or government) is the first step individuals need to take when trying to better the future of the greater good. When individuals seek change within their “worlds” they must first become the change they want to see in order to demand change from others. No one will support a hypocrite that does not even practice what they preach. Once that is done, it is up to them to then fight the systems to achieve the change that will help better everyone’s future. Anything can fall if there are enough people willing to fight and see it through. They just have to be brave enough to seize the opportunity once it is present.
The Destructive Power of the Technological Progress in Novels by R. Bradbury
Imagine if all those fortune tellers and palm readers are right and their “predictions” hold meaning. Think of how much that would change our world today. Everyone would be given an opportunity to change the negative aspects of their futures. Through his writing, Ray Bradbury can be seen as a fortune teller. When reading his stories, the reader gets a sense that Bradbury is issuing a warning about the future and technology. In Rocket Summer, There Will Come Soft Rains, and Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury warns against technology’s effect on the environment, its destructive power and its control over society. Bradbury’s writing forewarns the reader of the consequences that come with the unheeded development of technology.
Bradbury warns the reader of the negative effects technology has on the environment. In Rocket Summer, Bradbury takes a winter scene and changes it to summer in a blink of the eye: “The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land.” (Bradbury 1). Bradbury made the dramatic change from winter to summer to emphasize the rockets effect on the environment. The change in weather warns to not forget about the environment as technology develops, or else the technology will change it completely. The rocket destroyed its surroundings, changed the season, its landscape, and therefore man: “The failure of man to live in harmony with nature is the failure of man.” (Eller 1). By neglecting nature man has forgotten that the earth is essential in providing basic human needs such as food and water. By disregarding these necessities, man fails to provide for themselves and will suffer both the short and long-term consequences of the rocket’s environmental impact. Bradbury creates a drastic environmental change to warn about neglecting the environment. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury takes a different approach to technology’s destructive potential on nature; he ignores nature completely. Bradbury creates a world that is so filled with technology that it distracts not only the reader from nature, but the characters as well: “Bet I know something else you don’t. There’s dew on the grass in the morning. He suddenly couldn’t remember if he had known this or not, and it made him quite irritable.” (Bradbury 50). Montag lives in a world so overwhelmed by technology that he is distracted from nature that is all around him. Bradbury explores the idea of being trapped in a world of overwhelming interference from technology to demonstrate man’s neglect of the environment. Bradbury uses the dramatic change in weather and the disregard of nature to warn against the negative effects technology has on the natural world.
Bradbury uses fire to warn the reader of technology’s destructive power. He includes a great deal of fire imagery because fire – like technology – can easily become out of control. The amount of destruction fire causes in Fahrenheit 451, obviously has some meaning. The fire destroys not only books, but entire houses and people. Throughout the novel, the enabling of fire’s destruction is done by technology: “With the brass nozzle of the flame-gun in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning” (Bradbury 3) The flame-gun enables the firemen to burn books and houses, the salamander (the fire truck) enables them to get to the books. The flame-gun enables Montag to kill the woman and Beatty. Technology is so developed in Fahrenheit 451 that it makes things that normally should be impossible to comprehend (burning an innocent woman alive) easy. Technology essentially lessens the consequences of the crime. Without consequences there is no incentive to stop, leading to continual destruction. In There Will Come Soft Rains, Bradbury further expands on fire and technology’s power to destroy through its inevitable destruction of itself: “Bradbury’s themes are structured around fire and death as though it is necessary to forewarn the coming of an America bent on destroying itself.” (Zipes 11). When fire burns out of control it burns everything around it, and eventually it runs out of things to burn. Without anything to burn the fire dies. In There Will Come Soft Rains, technology does the same. Every aspect of the house is run by technology and there is no need for human control: “The house was an altar with ten thousand attendants, big, small, servicing, attending, in choirs. But the gods had gone away, and the ritual of the religion continued senselessly, uselessly.” (Bradbury 3). It is no surprise that after the house ran out of people to use it, food to make, dishes to clean, and dogs to pick up after, it went up in flames: “Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!” (Bradbury 4). Bradbury warns that technology enables endless destruction due to lack of consequences and it’s inevitable destruction of itself.
Along with fire, Bradbury uses the setting to further emphasize the destructive power of technology. Bradbury sets up Rocket Summer as a “classic” Ohio winter: “One minute it was Ohio winter, with doors closed, windows locked, the panes blind with frost, icicles fringing every roof, children skiing on slopes, housewives lumbering like great black bears in their furs along the icy streets.” (Bradbury 1). Even though the setting is futuristic, he makes it very easy to visualize. The reader can get such a clear image of winter in Ohio in their mind, making the unexpected change from winter to summer even more startling. This emphasizes the destruction the rocket reeked on the setting when it completely changed the weather. Bradbury does the same thing in There Will Come Soft Rains. However, this time Bradbury uses the setting of a desolate land destroyed by the radiation of an atom bomb: “The sun came out from behind the rain. The house stood alone in a city of rubble and ashes. This was the one house left standing. At night, the ruined city gave off a radioactive glow which could be seen for miles.” (Bradbury 4) The desolate land itself, emphasizes the destruction of technology, specifically nuclear warfare. The setting – once a thriving city – and the in-depth detail of the now lone house, allows the reader to emotionally connect with the story, making the destruction of the atom bomb more impactful. Bradbury uses setting to emphasize technology’s destruction, warning the reader of its potential.
Bradbury explores the idea of materialism to warn the reader of technology’s control over society. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury uses futuristic entertainment to demonstrate technology’s control through materialism. “It’s really fun. It’ll be even more fun when we can afford to have the fourth wall installed. How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollars” (Bradbury 19). Bradbury creates a society that worships technology purely for entertainment. “Bradbury has drawn the sword against materialism, and against society as a producer and consumer equation.” (Kirk 17). Technology’s control lies in consumer spending. The more people spend on technologies they don’t need, the more they begin to rely on it, giving technology control. In There Will Come Soft Rains Bradbury demonstrates technology’s control through a self-sustained house. “In the kitchen, the breakfast stove gave a hissing sigh and ejected from its warm interior eight pieces of perfectly browned toast, eight eggs sunnyside up, sixteen slices of bacon, two coffees, and two cool glasses of milk. “Today is August 4, 2026,” said a second voice from the kitchen ceiling, “in the city of Allendale, California.” It repeated the date three times for memory’s sake. “Today is Mr. Featherstone’s birthday. Today is the anniversary of Talita’s marriage. Insurance is payable, as are the water, gas, and light bills.” (Bradbury 2). Bradbury demonstrates technology’s control over mankind through the house doing everything for the people that live in it. By doing everything for the owner, technology controls everything. Bradbury makes the point that people should not give technology control by depending on it to do something as simple and as necessary as making breakfast.
In Rocket Summer, Bradbury exhibits technology’s control through the citizens of Ohio’s reaction to the rocket’s impact on the weather: “The rocket stood in the cold winter morning, making summer with every breath of its mighty exhausts. The rocket made climates, and summer lay for a brief moment upon the land. (Bradbury 1). Before the rocket, the people did not need to rely on technology to change the weather, Mother Nature did that for them. However, after the rocket destroyed the environment, the people became more materialistic and had to depend heavily on the rocket. Henceforth, technology gained power and control over the citizens of Ohio. Bradbury warns the reader of materialism and demonstrates technology’s control through entertainment, the self sustained house and the rocket.
To warn the reader of technology’s control through fear, Bradbury uses animal imagery. In Fahrenheit 451, animal imagery is used to demonstrate how technology controls us through the fear of what it might become: “The Mechanical hound slept, but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel.” (Bradbury 64). The fear Montag has for the hound effects his actions throughout the novel. Montag is reluctant to go back to the fire station because he knows the hound will be there. In the end, it is the fear of the hound (technology) that he has to overcome in order to escape from the city. The imagery of the hound is used because dogs can be both depicted as vicious and lovable. Montag is not afraid of the hound; he is afraid of what the hound can do to him. Bradbury demonstrates that it is not our fear of technology that controls us, it is our fear of technology’s potential. In There Will Come Soft Rains, Bradbury uses animal imagery to demonstrate how technology controls us through the fear of living without itL “It quivered at each sound, the house did. If a sparrow brushed a window, the shade snapped up. The bird, startled, flew off! No, not even a bird must touch the house!” (Bradbury 2). The house protects itself from other animals out of fear that even if a small bird were to touch it, it would break. Bradbury uses the imagery of a small animal to depict the caretaker’s fear of the house breaking. The owner can’t imagine life without their “do everything” house and this makes even a small bird a threat. Bradbury warns against technology’s control through fear with the mechanical hound and the bird, illustrating our fear of technology’s potential and life without it.
Ray Bradbury is a fortune teller; in his writing, he issues a warning to the reader of technology’s potential negative effects, if it keeps developing without restraint. To warn against technology’s negative effect on the environment, Bradbury creates drastic change and neglects nature completely in his writing. To warn against technology’s destructive capability, Bradbury uses fire to exhibit how technology enables endless destruction and will inevitably destroy itself. Bradbury also warns about technology’s destruction using the setting to allow the reader to visualize and emotionally connect to the destruction. Bradbury uses futuristic entertainment, a self sustained house and the rocket to warn about materialism and emphasize technology’s control over society. He also uses the mechanical hound and a small bird to warn about technology’s control over society through fear. In Rocket Summer, There Will Come Soft Rains and Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury uses a foreboding theme to warn the reader of the consequences that come with too much use of technology.
Conformity in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles
After World War II, United States was growing in prosperity as a seeming winner of the war; yet, growing alongside of it, was an omnipresent fear and tension about technology and ideology—the summation of the oncoming Cold War. As a young writer in the midst of this mid-twentieth century panic between the Capitalistic U.S. and the Communist USSR regime, Ray Bradbury, like many others, communicated and protested the irrationality of the hidden war through a series of short stories and novels published at the time. Of those, The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451, published consecutively in 1950 and 1953, respectively, still remain the best received for their adventurous take on the American mass culture hysteria and the irrational policy passed by Congress during the Cold War. An episodic novel, The Martian Chronicles focuses on the American superiority and conformity complex through a series of independent short stories that follow the American conquer of Mars. It often hints at the purification and destruction of ideas on Earth, aspects that are more fully explored in Fahrenheit 451. Well known for its extensive analogy of government censorship and mindless materialism, Fahrenheit 451 walks through the metamorphosis of a book-burning fireman as he realizes the necessity of the knowledge and thoughts produced from novels and stories. In both worlds, Bradbury emphasizes the process of conformity–first, purification of public opinion to an ideology via mass appeal and majority pressure, and then, eradication of future differing opinions that might birth under the established purified society. However, Bradbury’s attitude on the process, as reflected by character analysis of the two novels, changes over time, growing grim as the Cold War movements escalated at the time of publication.
Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920. Since he was young, Bradbury was known to have a future in liberal arts. As a lifelong devotee to drama literature, and poetry, he claimed that his major influences include Edgar Allan Poe, William Shakespeare, and later contemporaries such as Aldous Huxley. Bradbury often hinted and referenced the style and works of his favorite poets and writers to pay respect to their contribution to literary arts. Besides being a novelist, Bradbury was also a prominent playwright and screenwriter, occupations that were particularly targeted and harassed during the McCarthy Era. because of his experience with the Cold War reactionaries, Bradbury questioned the integrity of freedom of expression in his books. As exemplified by The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451–both about American obsessive control of ideology–Bradbury’s personal witness of his time influences and stands as important elements in his novels. As he stated in an interview in 1980, the Cold War Era was arguably the mind-settling period for Bradbury’s criticism of government, when he “was warning people…[when he] was preventing futures” (Hoskinson).
To demonstrate his disapproval about the Cold War policies, Bradbury first embarks on extended symbolism of majority conformity in both of his novels. Through specific characterization, Bradbury presents the rivaling relationship between majority and minority, in which the former dominates the latter and purifies the public with mass appeal and pressure. In the two novels, the government’s justification for these conformity policies is the resulting harmony and happiness among the people; yet, as many critics has deciphered, the metaphors of these books represent the mirroring early Cold War policies that brought about narrow-mindedness in people and in terms, “Bradbury’s strong distrust of [those]‘majority-held’ views” (Hoskinson).
Several of The Martian Chronicles episodes contain clashes between majority and minority that result from the effort to purify ideas; most significant of them all is “And the Moon Be Still as Bright”, originally published as an independent short story in 1948 (Hoskinson). In the story, Captain Wilder is the leader of the Fourth Expedition crew to Mars and in terms, the central figure of the majority. His identity as the will of the majority is highlighted when he is challenged by an outcast crew member, Spender, who, unlike the other colonizing crew members, wants to protect the lost Martian civilization. Wilder stands by his identity throughout the story whenever he converses with Spender; and later, he wins the battle with Spender, representing the success of the majority. Afterwards, Wilder acknowledges, but more ever, begins to doubt the majority:
Who are we, anyway? The majority? Is that the answer? The majority is always holy, is it not? Always, always; just never wrong for one little insignificant tiny moment, is it?…how the devil did I get caught in this rotten majority? (Bradbury, Chronicles, 95)
In executing his responsibility to purify minority, Wilder himself becomes conflicted with, as Hoskinson puts it, “the issue of individuality vs. conformity.” By establishing the majority and furthermore, criticizing the majority through its own leader, Bradbury sculpts out the use and faults of majority pressure.
Because of the publication chronology, themes of The Martian Chronicles, such as the one above, are often more fully explored in Fahrenheit 451. Whereas the majority-minority conflict is limited to each of Chronicles episodes, the idea of purification is the essence and is found throughout F451. Characters such as the wife of protagonist Guy Montag, Mildred, and Captain Beatty, represent the nature and features of a purified mind of the majority. Mildred–with her head filled with government-issued soap operas on “parlor walls”(Bradbury, F451, 130), her ears addicted to “electric ocean of sound” (Bradbury, F451, 10) for ten years, and her attention span lasting no more than a few seconds–she is the poster-woman of the materialistic and ignorant population. She even values the imaginary characters on TV more than her husband. When Montag asks her, “Will you turn the parlor off?” she refuses and replies, “That’s my family” (Bradbury, F451, 46). McGiveron points out that this kind of mindless behavior “is the result of the public’s active desire to avoid controversy…in favor of easy gratification and, eventually, intellectual conformity.” Though he argues that the public majority is the cause of this purification, government policy certainly plays a part in spreading and maximizing conformity to mass appeals, thereby erasing controversy and solidifying harmony. Captain Beatty of the Fire Department understands this well. As an unusual intellectual who actually agrees with the government, Beatty, too, “just like[s] solid entertainment” (Bradbury, F451, 61); but he also emphasizes the need for a uniform public. “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, like the Constitution says, but everyone made equal” (Bradbury, F451, 55). However, by defining Beatty as the antagonist of the story (who is later burned to death by Montag), Bradbury shows his disapproval to Beatty’s ideas of conformity. In fact, the opposing intellectual character and the aid to Guy Montag, Faber, identifies Captain Beatty as “the most dangerous enemy to truth and freedom, the unmoving cattle of the majority” (Bradbury, F451, 104). Similar to Wilder, the majority representative in Chronicles, Beatty is antagonized because of his symbolic identity; however, it is important to note that Wilder of the early Bradbury publication is self-antagonized, and Beatty, from Bradbury’s later work, is deemed as enemy by another character, while he himself still believes in the absolute will of the majority. The intensification of the symbolic character’s belief in majority-held views through the publication years parallels the growth of McCarthy Movement (roughly 1950-1956) and U.S. government and public push for advance weaponry (caused by USSR becoming a nuclear power in 1949). This parallelism of literature to reality not only legitimizes the pretense of Bradbury’s Cold War criticism, but also shows the evolution of Bradbury’s disillusion with government conformity policy–from believing that it could change, to completely downcasting it as antagonistic to the people’s freedom.
After the act purifying ideals and destroying any current opposition in society, Bradbury continues onto the next step of government policy to obtain peace—eliminating any future possibilities of different opinions so that the uniform ideology sustains. Bradbury already shows the eradication of opportunities to learn new ideas through the prominent book burning events in both of his novels, but he also demonstrate how government reacts to newly spurred ideas post-purification by introducing rebellious characters in his worlds. Furthermore, these rebels of different novels, though similar in their characterization, have different ending to their interactions with the governmental censorship. Standehl of The Martian Chronicles is targeted by government oppression for celebrating Edgar Allen Poe, but he is able to defeat censorship officials and continue his free expression; however, in the later publication of Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse, a delinquent who questions social ideology and structure, is killed for her behavior. The fact that Bradbury’s characterization of the end to these outlaws depresses over time indicates his growing pessimistic view on the consequence of free individual expression in the real American society of his time.
In chapter “Usher II” of The Martian Chronicles, Bradbury already describes Earth as a conformed and closely censored world. Eminent and high-ranking people of society and government condemn books, fantasies and imagination; ordinary citizens are all “Clean-Minded” and believe “the Burning [of books] was a good thing” (Bradbury, Chronicles, 165). A censoring organization called the “Moral Climates” is established and is, at the time of the story, responsible to have the newly colonized Mars “as neat and tidy as Earth” (Bradbury, Chronicles, 166). In the midst of conformity, Standehl builds a horror house, “Usher II”, on Mars to celebrate Edgar Allen Poe, who described a house of the same name in one of his horror stories. This act, obviously against the societal establishment of prohibiting supernatural and imaginary books, leads to Standehl’s arrest by Garrett, an Investigator of the Moral Climates. However, Standehl is not censored like most of the outlaws in Bradbury’s stories—he in fact tricks Garrett, and later, kills him along with all of the other “‘majority guests’ [to the House of Usher] with different approaches to murders seen in Poe’s stories” (Hoskinson). The fact that Standehl is able to not only maintain his freedom of expression in the form of exercising Poe’s fantasies, but also succeed in “paying back…the antiseptic government for its literary terrors and conflagration” (Bradbury, Chronicles, 170), demonstrates, what Hoskinson called, an individual’s unusual “sinister triumph over the majority.” More ever, in characterizing Standehl with such success, Bradbury shows hope in reforming his own government from its eradication policies of anti-communism.
Yet, it is important to note that “Usher II” is originally published in 1950, when the “Second Red Scare” led by Joseph McCarthy was only solidifying its ground. By 1953, the year Fahrenheit 451 was published, the Anti-Communist crusade had reached its pinnacle with its arrests, allegations, and general harassments. In this later book, Bradbury gives a much graver portrayal of the outcome for outspoken outlaws.
In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury again constructs a world in which conformity is essential and opinions are criminal. Schools, starting earlier and earlier to muster complete brainwash of children’s minds, require their students to embrace and praise materialism and ignorance. As the new generation born completely surrounded with intense indoctrination, the seventeen year old Clarisse McClellan is a surprising outcast who still believes in questions and wonder. She criticizes that her classmates “name a lot of cars or swimming pools mostly and say how swell…but they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else” (Bradbury, F 451, 28). Instead of following that socially accepted behavior, Clarisse chooses to ask the why in protest and in tribute to the part of innate humanity that pursues individuality. Yet, even though her behavioral protest to the social doctrine is similar to Standehl’s rebellion against the established condemnation of fantasy and books, she does not have the same glorious fate as Standehl. As Captain Beatty, the representative of the majority and the firm believer in the established structure of conformity, later explains—“She was a time bomb. She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why…The poor girl’s better off dead” (Bradbury, F 451, 58). And she is. The fatal end of Clarisse, most likely fabricated by Beatty and his majority bunch, “shows how intolerance for opposing ideas helps lead to the stifling of individual expression and hence of thought” (McGiveron). Yet this process contradicts the outcome of Standehl, as he is in the end victorious in the combat of individuality v. conformity. One may suspect this polarizing contrast of Clarisse’s fate from Standehl’s in confronting pre-established government regulation to be an error in Bradbury’s philosophy, but given the historical context, this in fact may be due to the change of his philosophy. Chronicles is a collection of short stories Bradbury published in the years 1944-1950; since then, many issues that Bradbury addresses in Chronicles had changed, or escalated. When Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953, the McCarthy movement was at its height when all opposing opinions seem to lead to accusations and outcasting. And not only was it a time for the Red Scare, it was also when people were just generally so focused on the absolute Americanism that they either oppressed or ignored any contradiction to their ideology. Such a change in social and political absolutism must have shifted Bradbury’s view on government tolerance to freedom of expression, from hopeful to grim.
Many critics claim that The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451 contain prophetic interpretation of the future. Yet, while the imagination that Bradbury shows within his stories indicates that he has the capacity to predict the future, the act of doing so requires an active willingness to see the unknown. Bradbury’s attitude in his books suggests a more depressing and passive incentive. Through his increasingly bleak portrayal of characters that manifests the different sides of government’s combat to conformity, Bradbury expresses his evolving disillusionment with the future of freedom of expression and government tolerance of it. The fact that Bradbury does not focus on the practicality of his worlds, such as Mars having sustainable air for people to live on and children learning about materialistic trivia for school, rules out his incentive to prophesize. Instead, Bradbury intends to evoke the similar grim emotion in his readers so that they can understand and take caution in their response to conformity. As he declared in his 1980 interview and his discussion with the Los Angeles Times thirty years later, “I’m not a futurist. People ask me to predict the future, while all I want to do is prevent it.”
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.
Bradbury, Ray. The Martian Chronicles. New York: Harper Perennial, 2011. Print.
George, Lynell. “Ray Bradbury Dies at 91; Author Lifted Fantasy to Literary Heights.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 06 June 2012. Web. 16 May 2013.
McGiveron, Rafeeq O. “What ‘Carried the Trick’? Mass Exploitation and the Decline of Thought in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.” Extrapolation 37.3 (Fall 1996): 245-256. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 235. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Literature Resource Center. Web. December 2012.
Hoskinson, Kevin. “The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury’s Cold War Novels.” Extrapolation 36.4 (Winter 1995): 345-359. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 235. Detroit: Gale, 2007. Literature Resource Center. Web. January 2013.
“Ray Douglas Bradbury.” 2013. The Biography Channel website. December 2012. https://www.biography.com/writer/ray-bradbury.
Forces Behind Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World
To many modern readers, the science-fiction genre is a genre built upon utopic visions of peace and intellectual advancement, of idealistic worlds where logic always triumphs over primal instinct. Although the hopeful scientific novel is not written in vain, the science fiction genre has been used throughout history as a way for concerned writers to warn – if not prophecy – against forthcoming events. This dark sub-genre of science fiction is usually known as “dystopian literature,” and has become a popular literary mode in the twentieth century (Holmes 37). The antithesis of the Utopia, the term “dystopia” comes from the Greek word for “bad place,” and is traditionally set in a harsh society in which self-expression and individuality are forcibly repressed (Holmes 39). Although dystopian fiction is traditionally associated with science fiction and fantasy, it should not be dismissed as mere story, as it is often based upon social and political trends that the author has observed in the primary world. Both Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, and Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, were able to accurately depict the intellectually dangerous trends of their times, while making startling observations about the future.
Although Bradbury and Huxley wrote during different time periods, both were exposed to the political, social, and economic turmoil that spanned the time period from World War I to the end of World War II, eventually leading into the rise of Communism as a major world power in the Soviet Union. Shortly after World War I, two basic themes became prominent in literature – “isolation and relationship within a decaying moral order” (Keanu 237) Both authors deal with these themes in their dystopic masterpieces, with Huxley focusing more on the isolation factor and Bradbury exemplifying the need for relationship within even the most rigid social structure. Huxley chillingly portrays a disenchanted world dehumanized by scientific achievement, while Bradbury focuses his attention more on the power of individuals despite the restraints of society. Perhaps the best examples of these two contemporary themes are the characters within the novels themselves. In Huxley’s “John the Savage”we see a man literally and figurative isolated from the World State, while Bradbury gives us Montag, a lonely fireman who must face the question posed to him by a young girl – “are you happy?”
Aldous Huxley’s ideas were formed before Bradbury’s, and this is reflected in his writing. Brave New World focuses on many early twentieth-century ideas, as is clear from the many references to Ford that are sprinkled throughout the book. Huxley, having come from a strong intellectual background, was heavily influenced by the literary scene of his time. In fact, Brave New World is modeled largely on an earlier book by H.G. Wells called Men like Gods, which deals with similar dystopic themes (Brave New World: Historical/Literary Background). Additionally, a prototype for the methods used by Huxley’s World State can be discovered in the pages of Wells “Experiment in Autobiography”, as well as in the scientific works of the period. These include Charles Darwin’s “Origin of the Species”, Pavlov’s “Conditioned Reflexes”, and Bertrand Russell’s “The Scientific Outlook” (Holmes 139). From these works, Huxley acquired a keen understanding of the scientific way of life, but also realized that an overemphasis on science could lead to the destruction of the individual self, as was evident from the impending secularization of American thought.
Huxley’s lifestyle and upbringing are also of key importance to understanding the context of his writing. Born into a staggeringly intellectual family, Aldous Huxley spent most of his childhood in various preparatory schools for high class children, indulging in his family’s various intellectual pursuits in his spare time (Brave New World: Historical/Literary Background). During his school years, Huxley noted the rigid caste system that seemed to exist even in a democratic society, with the upper class separated from the lower classes not just by their wealth, but also by their intellectual abilities. In Brave New World, that perceived social system is brought to life through the genetically engineered classes – Alpha, Beta, Delta, Gamma, and Epsilon.
On the other hand, Ray Bradbury was aware of many of the same principals that had influenced Huxley, but was writing from a later, post World War II time period. Fahrenheit 451 is much less focused on science than Brave New World, its topic being censorship and intellectual repression. At the time of Bradbury’s writing, the threat of censorship was a reality, both in the United States and overseas. In Nazi Germany, for example, Hitler controlled the thoughts of the masses by destroying thousands of books that he saw as a threat to his government (Keanu 384). After World War II, Stalin did much the same thing in the Soviet Union, censoring materials that threatened Communism while supporting writers who depicted the government in a positive light. Despite the extremes of foreign censorship, Bradbury realized that the American response to the Soviet Union was no better than the initial problem. Under the leadership of Senator Joseph McCarthy, an intellectual witch-hunt began to seek out and eliminate materials considered “subversive to American Interests (Background Information on Fahrenheit 451).” Libraries came under fire for owning copies of the Communist Manifesto, and in some instances books were removed from overseas libraries and even burned.
Another historical factor that lurks beneath the surface of Bradbury’s narrative is the theme of nuclear war. More than any other theme, the advent of the atomic bomb is useful as a guide for dating Fahrenheit 451; it is conspicuously lacking from Brave New World, due to the fact that Huxley wrote his book prior to the Hiroshima incident. Further tying Fahrenheit 451 in with the Soviet Union time period, Bradbury was most likely influenced in his writing by the apocalyptic fiction that reflected the fears of 1950s America – namely Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank, and On the Beach, by Nevil Shute (Holmes 231). The threat of nuclear war is by no means central to the plot of Bradbury’s book, but permeates the background of the story, and subtle references are made to prior wars involving atomic weapons. Many readers associate the destruction of Guy Montag’s city with a nuclear blast (Keanu 98), but that is left ambiguous. From what is told in the story, however, it seems likely that the bomb that destroyed the city was a conventional warhead, as a nuclear attack at such a close distance would probably have killed Montag and his companions, if not from the explosion than at least from the radiation.
Despite the fact that Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 are powerful reflections of earlier historical climates, both books reach beyond the moments in which they were written and demonstrate a keen sense of foresight. By the time Huxley wrote Brave New World, the cultivation of the embryos of small mammals and the cloning of parasitic insects had already been accomplished (Brave New World: Historical/Literary Background). The novel prophetically predicts that those technologies would eventually be applied to human beings, as they are today in the twenty-first century. Scientific pioneers like Darwin and Freud had already begun supplanting ethics, religion, art, and philosophy with science at the writing of both dystopic novels, yet many of the predictions made by these books had not yet come to be at the time of their writing, but are now a reality. One need only make a cursory reading of Fire Chief Beatty’s monologues in Fahrenheit 451 to understand just how close to a dystopia the modern world really is.
In conclusion, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World need to be understood within the historical context of their time in order to better apply the books’ messages to the contemporary world. The post World War I and II period was a time of monumental change and instability, and a heavy cloud of anxiety was upon all people. Because of this chaos, many sought a simple formula that could be a panacea to all of the world’s social and economic problems. The totalitarian regimes of Bradbury and Huxley are such a panacea, but the authors illustrate how a government-controlled welfare state can never truly be the answer to global concerns. However, these novels need not be read only as testaments of a bygone era, because the warnings contained between their covers are needed more today than ever before. Both books depict societies that most readers would consider pessimistic or even nihilistic, but it is the way in which the charmingly human characters function in these brave new worlds that strikes a chord of hope. In that formula of pessimistic society versus optimistic humanity, the writers make their mutual point with the strongest resonance – the fact that a government can never simulate true peace and prosperity, which must be sought within the individual.
- Background Information on Fahrenheit 471. Library Reading Room. Novemeber 11, 2002. Northbrook Public Library. November 25, 2002. <http://nbpI.nsn.org/readers/F451Background.html>
- Brave New World: Historical/Literary Background. Monkey Notes. September 16, 2002. PinkMonkey.Com. November 25, 2002.<http://www.pinkmnkey.com/booknotes/monkeynotes/pmBraveNew02.asp>
- Holmes, H.R. Dystopian Themes in Popular Literature. Boston: McDougal Littel, 1987.
- Keanu, Jennifer. In the Shadow of War. New York: North Atlantic Press, 1994.
A Dystopian Society In The “Fahrenheit 451” By Ray Bradbury
Our world as we know it today will turn into a dystopian society! Governments will end up stalking it’s citizens and soon control their own thoughts and behaviors about certain subjects. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books and later meets a teenage girl named Clarisse. One day when Montag goes home he realizes he wife Mildred had tried to commit suicide. IN a world where books are forbidden Montag become more unsatisfied with his life and starts to collect books secretly. His boss, Captain Beatty, starts to become suspicious since Montag starts to skip work to visit Faber a retired English professor.
Mildred finds out he had been collecting books and turns him in but Montag does not realize he has been turned in until he gets a call to burn a house down until he has to burn his own house down. Montag almost gets caught but somehow runs away to the country where he finds his place in society and escapes the jet bombing the city. Fahrenheit 451 is an ideal dystopia because citizens who depend on technology have trouble maintaining genuine relationships, freedom of thoughts are only slightly limited, and censorship is limited to books.
The citizens encompasses multiple technologies such as telescreens making them have problems with sustaining pure relationships. In Fahrenheit 45, Ray Bradbury illustrates the dangers that come with the overuse of technology such as troubled relationships with other citizens in society. Mildred has been watching the tv parlor for a long while now and Montag, Mildred’s husband had wanted her to stop watching so much of the telescreens.
Montag had had enough so he asks Mildred to turn the parlor off and she replies with no. Montag asks, “‘Will you turn the parlor off?’ he asked. ‘That’s my family’” (Bradbury, 48-49).Mildred seems to be a lot more focused on the telescreen rather than her husband, Montag. Technology is being used to entertain the citizens and is slowly diminishing the purity in having genuine relationships with other citizens. Mildred shows how the society is controlled by technology and how the tv parlor is affecting the authentic relationships. Mildred is overusing the tv parlor and her social interactions are repressed due to the obsession of technology. Mildred’s obsession of telescreens are preventing Mildred from being more social towards her husband. Mildred is not the only character throughout the novel that proves that this is the most ideal dystopia to live in.
Clarisse shows how freedom of thoughts are only slightly limited. Freedom of thoughts are slightly limited to society because the government want to allude to the fact they live in a perfect society.Bradbury emphasizeshow the citizens freedom of thinking had been restricted to make the society look perfect. The government did not want the citizens questioning the society or become curious about how the outside world works, however, Clarisse had asked multiple questions which leads to Montag taking a look at his profession of burning books. Clarisse exclaimed, “I’ve lots of time for crazy thought, I guess”.
Clarisse take the time to slow down and acknowledge the world around her instead of rushing. Clarisse had a lot of time to question many things the government is hiding from the society. She questions Montag’s happiness and tries to understand why he isn’t happy. Clarisse also questions things about the society that would affect her knowledge of the outside world that the government is trying to hid from the society itself to make the society look perfect when in reality it isn’t. Not only had the government been restricting the freedoms of citizens thoughts the government had censoring books.
Included by topic sentence to previous paragraph as a transition. Bradbury wants us to realize information and various other things are constantly being kept from us. Burning books is to keep the society unschooled in a way that the government is controlling what information is being passed to the citizens. Books present knowledge and the society is banned from books because it raises concerns of the way the government works and what’s wrong with their world. Captain Beatty proclaims to Montag, “Cram them all of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of facts they feel stuffed, but absolutely brilliant information”.
Books are illegal because the government wants the society not to be educated because knowledge of the outside world is bad. Having ownership of a book will end up with your house being burnt if the someone finds out you have one. The citizens are perceived to be under constant surveillance because one person will end up turning you in for possession of a book, this is the government’s way of controlling the society and keeping the citizens uneducated of the outside world or even the world around them. Censorship of books is displayed and present throughout the entire novel since the government doesn’t want its citizens to be educated.
Day to day nothing will change in a dystopian society, the way people think and interact with others will change with technology and show knowledge will be the same as it was today. Technology troubles many people interactions with other while people’s freedom of thoughts and censorship of books are limited. The United States government had its citizens under constant surveillance especially when we shop for things on the internet and go to facebook and see an ad for that product. The government tracks our technology and what we search as a way to control its citizens. The world will turn into a dystopian society over time with governments constantly tracking every citizens mover in their daily lives.
Dystopian Novel Rationale Annotation to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
This passage from Fahrenheit 451 is the most informative section of the book, it talks about the state of the world in the book. Some of the main themes of this book and passage are technology and modernization, since most of society is controlled by technology, and wisdom and knowledge, because Guy Montag inherits knowledge from multiple people in the book, in this section it was Captain Beatty giving him the knowledge. Captain Beatty goes to Guy’s house, because he didn’t go to work that day. He didn’t go to work because he recently burned down a house with a lot of books along with an old woman. Guy questions why they must burn down houses with books and is shocked that he killed a woman. So, captain Beatty came to talk to him about it.
Technology plays a really big role in this story and in this passage. In this passage Beatty talks about how technology eventually got rid of all of the books because in book people rely on tv for happiness as he mentions in another part of the book. This is also shown when Beatty says “Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick (to end books)” (Bradbury 55). Beatty tells Guy that technology is one of the big reasons that books aren’t around anymore. Guy know this because his wife is always watching tv. That shows that technology is one of the main reason that the government is manipulating everyone and is very important to the overall plot of the novel.
The figurative language of the passage is very prominent and essential for Captain Beatty to tell Guy about the state of the world. He uses idioms, hyperboles and a lot of other forms of figurative language in the novel. An example of this is when Beatty tells Guy that “But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comicbooks survive.” (55). The figurative language used in this sentence is “spinning happily” (55) and that is a hyperbole. The thing being exaggerated is the fact that people were glad. But using a hyperbole in this case is effective because it tells Guy that people were very happy and glad that books stopped selling, so it intensifies the fact that they were happy.
The syntax and structure of some sentences were very crucial to convince the reader and Guy why the things Beatty is telling them is true and applies to most of the population. When Guy asks Beatty about why firemen are necessary he replied with “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word `intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.” (55). He listed a lot of people that makes the reader and, maybe, Guy think that a lot that those are a lot of people. It helps Beatty convince Guy and the reader that everyone is happy with the state of the world now.
So overall, the annotated page has a good representation of the book Fahrenheit 451 in general. Throughout the book there is a major theme of technology, use of figurative language to intensify the meaning of some things in the book, and the use of syntax and sentence structure to manipulate the reader into thinking that the population wanted to be in the situation they are in right now without any manipulation.
I Am Doug Spaulding: Accessibility and Symbolism in “Dandelion Wine”
Ray Bradbury may have chosen Doug to be the twelve-year-old protagonist in Dandelion Wine, but I remain convinced that Bradbury took a pencil and paper to my childhood. Part of the reason why Doug’s character resonates with me so much stems from Bradbury’s use of symbolic language. Because symbolism leaves the audience to interpret the text’s meaning, every reader draws a different interpretation of the text based on his or her own personal experiences. By picturing the experience associated with Bradbury’s imagery, the reader gains a deeper understanding of the story. Bradbury effectively utilizes symbolism in Dandelion Wine to aid the audience in perceiving the text’s significance and to impart the messages that form the novel’s overall theme.
Bradbury reveals Doug’s youthful nature in the form of animals, allowing the reader to visually imagine Doug’s mental and physical characteristics. After Doug becomes aware of his existence, Bradbury writes, “Douglas, eyes shut, saw spotted leopards pad in the dark” (10). When Doug opens his eyes, Bradbury states, “The leopards trotted soundlessly off through darker lands where eyeballs could not turn to follow” (10). From a twelve-year-old’s perspective, leopards seem like the fastest and scariest animals in the world. The reader envisions the leopards and gathers that Doug’s realization of his existence strikes struck him unexpectedly, leading him to be justifiably frightened. When Doug opens his eyes, the leopards disappear because mortality now occupies his fears. Doug’s epiphany about his existence marks a slight shift in his transition from boy to man. Another instance within the text where Bradbury symbolically employs animals materializes when Doug purchases shoes. After Doug laces the tennis shoes on his feet, the shoe salesman asks Doug whether the shoes feel like antelopes or gazelles. Bradbury then writes that what the tennis shoes feel like: “Beautiful creatures leaping under the sky, gone through brush, under trees, away, and only the soft echo their running left behind” (25). Most children have a tendency toward wildness, which causes them to exude energy and excitement. Antelopes and gazelles perfectly capture the wildness characteristic of children like Doug because the two animals can often be found leaping and bounding through the grasslands. By symbolically comparing Doug’s attributes to animals, Bradbury aids the audience in sensing the novel’s youthful tone.
In yet another intricacy of his narrative, Bradbury symbolically exposes the limited nature of machines to communicate the message that human relationships prove more important than technology. Even though Dandelion Wine takes place in 1928 when technology was sparse, Bradbury includes various types of machines within his novel. In one instance within the text, Leo Auffmann, Doug’s neighbor, attempts to build a machine that captures happiness. Leo’s “Happiness Machine” brings more sadness than happiness and ends up bursting into flames (Bradbury 61). Leo realizes that real Happiness Machine was “patented a couple thousand years ago,” “still runs,” and has “been here all along,” meaning that true happiness exists in family dynamics (Bradbury 62). Another example of Bradbury’s message negating mechanical ability exists in the constantly changing nature of technology. Doug develops a fascination for the town’s trolley and relies on it for all his traveling and exploring needs. Doug’s enchantment with the trolley can be found in his statement:, “Need to run anywhere on the main streets, I got the Green Town Trolley to look around and spy on the world from” (Bradbury 88). When the town shuts down the trolley in favor of bus transportation, Doug says, “But … But … They can’t take off the trolley! Why … no matter how you look at it, a bus ain’t a trolley” (Bradbury 98). Doug seems to struggle with accepting the fact that nothing lasts forever. Current technology, especially, can only persist for so long before newer models phase out outdated versions. The only “machine” in Dandelion Wine that transcends the limitations of technology happens to be human. Doug and his friends describe Colonel Freeleigh, an elderly neighbor, as a “time machine” because Colonel Freeleigh transports the boys to other time periods with his stories. Doug says, “I got to travel all those ways. See what I can see. But most of all I got to visit Colonel Freeleigh once, twice, three times a week. He’s better than all the other machines. He talks, you listen” (Bradbury 89). Bradbury didoes not coincidentally choose to compare Colonel Freeleigh to a time machine; he wanted to illustrate the prestige human interaction holds over technology. With the representation of various machines, Bradbury successfully employs symbolism to convey his message about the inadequacy of machines and the importance of personal relationships.
Moreover, Bradbury uses dandelions as a consistent symbol throughout the novel to represent many overlapping ideas. Doug’s grandfather produces wine from the weeds of dandelions every summer, so dandelions seem to be a memory Doug closely associates with the sultry season. Bradbury explores the connection Doug makes between dandelions and summer when he says, “Dandelion wine. The words were summer on the tongue. The wine was summer caught and stoppered” (13). Dandelions generally sprout when the temperature rises, and they have a yellow hue characteristic of sunny days and lemonade, which possess a direct link to summer. Because of this association, the audience easily connects dandelions with summer. Bradbury also capitalizes on a dandelion’s position in nature by demonstrating the tie between man and earth. Grandpa says dandelions that “bend you over and turn you away from all the people and the town for a little while and sweat you and get you down where you remember you got a nose again” (Bradbury 50). Considering Bradbury’s negative portrayal of machines, it does not seem surprising that Bradbury thinks highly of nature. The phrase “remember you got a nose” seems to symbolize a recognition of man’s humble relationship with God’s creation. In addition to representing summer and the union between the world’s natural elements, dandelions symbolize a collection of memories. At the end of summer when Grandpa bottles the wine, he says, that “you get to live the summer over for a minute or two here or there along the way through the winter … that’s dandelion wine” (Bradbury 236). Bradbury reveals that drinking a bottle of dandelion wine during winter means reliving the memories of summer. Each bottle captures the essence of a different summer day. Because dandelions hold so many memories of summer unique to every reader, Bradbury was wise to choose dandelions as the novel’s prevailing symbolic feature.
Bradbury’s use of symbolism in Dandelion Wine proves overly effective in aiding the audience’s perception of the messages within the text. Bradbury takes advantage of all the feelings children associate with summer by convincing readers to recollect their own carefree memories of summers before the years of obligations and worries. When Doug Spaulding purchases a pair of Royal Crown Cream-Sponge Para Litefoot tennis shoes, I envision myself at nine years old choosing a pair of Suede Classic Black and White Puma sneakers at the shoe store. When Doug picks dandelions for his grandfather, I see myself in the backyard of my childhood home blowing dandelions and watching the seeds float over the trees into unknown lands. My statement still stands firm: I am Doug Spaulding.
Ray Bradbury Hates Technology: Analyzing “The Pedestrian”
In the year 2016, technology is part of our everyday lives, but in the future technology will become much more advanced and powerful, and not always in a beneficial manner. In the Ray Bradbury short story “The Pedestrian,” it is the year A.D. 2053 and technology is taking over the world. The main character, Mr. Leonard Mead, has a daily routine that includes walking for hours and miles around a quiet town until he returns to his house at midnight. Throughout the narrative, Bradbury shows through symbolism, setting, and dialogue that technology can take away from nature and the beauty of life itself.
The one thing Mr. Leonard Mead would long to do is to walk for hours along the streets of a “deserted” town. The powerful symbolism helps the reader to understand how strongly the author feels about the subject. The first glimpse of human life other than Mr. Mead is that “Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now. The tombs, ill-lit by television light, where the people sat like the dead, the gray or multicolored lights touching their faces, but never touching them” (58). The reader learns the author’s point of view when the homes are described as resembling tombs, where people sit motionless just like the dead. It is also implied that the residents living in the houses rarely have contact with other people, other than the people conveyed by television light, which never physically touches them at all. Another example involves how Mr. Mead “put his hand on the door and peered into the back seat, which was a little cell, a little black jail with bars. It smelled of riveted steel. It smelled of harsh antiseptic; it smelled too clean and hard and metallic. There was nothing soft in there” (59). The use of the word “jail” symbolizes the strong connection between technology and the dark, sad life of a prisoner. Using words like “hard,” “antiseptic,” and “metallic,” which do not appeal to the sense of smell or touch, also indicates the disillusioned stance towards technology.
Bradbury’s detailed description of the setting helps the reader visualize the dark and gloomy world bombarded with technology. Through Mr. Leonard Mead’s eyes, we see that, “On his way, he would see the cottages with their dark windows, and it was not unequal to walking through a graveyard where only the faintest glimmers of firefly light appeared in flickers behind the windows. Sudden gray phantoms seemed to manifest upon inner room walls where a curtain was still undrawn against the night, or there were whisperings and murmurs where a window in a tomblike building was still open (56). This description of the town helps the reader visualize the eerie and dark setting of the “abandoned” town, although it is inhabited. It also indicates the bustling life inside the eerie houses, in contrast to the empty streets with only whispering and creepy shadows to show signs of any life at all. While Mr. Mead continues his walk, he indicated that “The cement was vanishing under flowers and grass. In ten years of walking by night or day, for thousands of miles, he had never met another person walking, not one in all that time” (57). The cement not being kept up implies the lack of people actually walking and using the sidewalk. The quote also states that for ten years, Mr. Mead has never met another soul walking outside, which leaves the unnecessary sidewalk to disappear under the grass and dirt.
Today, newspapers and magazines are still somewhat popular and are sold in nearly every supermarket, restaurant, and pharmacy. Through dialogue between the police car and Mr. Leonard Mead, the reader obtains information about the future and how technology has drastically changed the world. Through Mr. Mead, the reader learns that he is a writer but “He hadn’t written in years. Magazines and books didn’t sell anymore. Everything went on in the tomblike houses at night now (58).” The context of the sentence helps imply that the tomblike houses are the television sets. All the information everyone needs to know is broadcasted on the television and there is no need for books, newspapers, or magazines anymore. The reader learns through dialogue between the police car that writing in the year 2053, the police car classifies writing as “Business or profession? I guess you could call me a writer. No profession, said the police car, as if talking to itself” (58). Due to the fact that technology is so widespread, writing is not considered a profession anymore. The police car discounted his profession as if it was not important anymore. Besides the fact that writing is insignificant, the police car finds it odd that Mr. Mead is “Just walking, Mr. Mead Yes. But you haven’t explained for what purpose I explained: for air, and to see, and just to walk” (59). The police car cannot wrap its head around the fact that Mr. Mead walks for air, when there is air conditioning, and that he walks to see, when there is a television that he could view anything he wants without leaving his home.
Bradbury’s short story implies that too much technology can isolate a person from nature and the world. In the end of the story, we learn that Mr. Leonard Mead was taken to a Psychiatric Center for research on Regressive Tendencies by a police car. It is ironic that technology, which is supposed to give someone more freedom and possibilities, took away the one thing Mr. Leonard Mead cherished and looked forward to every day.
Fahrenheit 451 Through the Lens of “We Wear the Mask” and “Barn Burning”
Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 explores the idea of a person living a tedious, restrictive life while trying to fool himself into believing in a sense of happiness. Similarly, Paul Laurence Dunbar’s poem, “We Wear the Mask,” proposes the idea that people are wearing masks in order to deceive themselves and others and suppress their real emotions. Fahrenheit 415 further elaborates that one can only find true happiness if he makes the decision to abandon everything familiar and just run away, achieving tranquility and inner delight. “Barn Burning,” a short story by William Faulkner, also presents the life changing decision to flee from the unpleasant, well-known life in order to find true contentment. This essay, through explicit use of “We Wear the Mask” and “Barn Burning,” will explore the superficial urban life of Guy Montag, the main character in Fahrenheit 451, and later on his important decision to run away from civilization, thus finding his true self and inner peace. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury argues that the best way to break free from the vicious circle that is exemplified by a fake monotonous life without real feelings or excitement is by making a conscious decision to escape from this reality and find a new place to begin exploring one’s inner self and observing new surroundings.
While going through this empty, false life, a person capable of thinking for himself has to pretend that he is foolishly content and oblivious to the faults of his way of living. The characters in these texts find different ways to escape or conceal the real feelings about their own lifestyle. In “We Wear the Mask,” the mask represents one’s face as something still and immutable, and this is the standard. “We smile” because this has become the only acceptable behavior. These two words insinuate that putting on this fake grin is effortless and simple. The genuine emotions, on the other hand, are heavily suppressed, and people “let them only see us, while / We wear the mask.” Allowing others to see one without his usual, content countenance is regarded as a sign of weakness. Therefore, this person may feel wretched or miserable but “let[s] the world dream otherwise,” for hiding his true feelings deep down inside the mind serves as the only way to ephemerally escape them. In “Barn Burning,” Sarty’s constant moving embodies the way he and his family try to break away from their critical problem. His father’s bellicose burning torments the whole family, so they flee from one town to another without knowing “where they are going” (Barn Burning, 7) in a desperate attempt to temporarily forget all about the Abner’s issues. “It was always somewhere, always a house of sorts waiting for them a day or two days or even three days away” (Barn Burning, 7). This quote illustrates Sarty’s attitude towards this nomad-like existence. He constantly keeps a little ray of hope inside, for he feels that there will always be a suitable place for the family, and they can carry on pretending to be happy in a new location. In Fahrenheit 451, people are accustomed to concealing all genuine emotional bursts and living this pseudo-delightful life, only showing what lays on the surface, similarly to “We Wear the Mask”. Montag and his wife, Mildred, are “not in love with anyone,” (Fahrenheit 451, 51) but pretend they are happy with their marriage. When he confronts her in regard to something real like “t[aking] all the pills in [her] bottle last night,” (Fahrenheit 451, 27) Mildred has already absorbed this problem, saying that she “wouldn’t do that” (Fahrenheit 451, 27) and dismisses it as a figment of Montag’s imagination. These two passages demonstrate that in Fahrenheit 451, people are unable to deal with unadulterated feelings, so they just hide them at the bottom of their minds.
At the most conscious level of one’s mentality, on the other hand, is situated the basic command to be obedient and follow the orders issued out by his superiors. Sarty “had not been permitted to choose for himself,” (Barn Burning, 21) so his father’s commands are carried out without question or hesitation. A simple “Go.” sends the son “moving, running, outside the house, towards the stable” (Barn Burning, 21). This single word conveys the strength of Abner’s influence over his son, for Sarty seems frantic, desperate to fulfill the commands given out. In the same manner, Montag is also being harshly controlled by his boss, Beatty. “Everything to its proper place. Quick with the kerosene! Who’s got a match!” (Fahrenheit 451, 44). These fast-paced, energetic orders show how Montag has been taught to succumb to instructions without thinking individually in his mind. Like other firemen, he has become a mindless slave as he “grin[s] the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame” (Fahrenheit 451, 11). This quote gives even more insight on the ways that Montag, akin to his colleagues, has been brainwashed. He has been fooled into believing that he loves and enjoys this dreadful profession, but in reality, he only burns these books because such orders are issued out to him.
Under this superficial appearance, a person can easily keep his true identity intact. In “We Wear the Mask,” our true emotions are being concealed behind the fake, plastic smile. The mask “hides [one’s] cheeks and shades [his] eyes,” as these two parts of the face are a dead giveaway of one’s emotions. Therefore, they are kept secret from others. In “Barn Burning”, Sarty describes his own father as being “without face or depth – a shape black, flat, and bloodless as though cut from tin in the iron folds of the frockcoat which had not been made for him, the voice harsh like tin and without heat like tin,” (Barn Burning, 8). This vivid illustration of Abner evokes the sentiment that he is this unreal entity, inhuman and almost alien in appearance and behavior. He does not need to hide behind a mask, for he stays stolid, like a blank canvas. Montag, on the other hand, starts hiding behind a mask deliberately, for he begins thinking in a more vivid, poetic way, which shocks and petrifies him. “What?’ asked Montag of that other self, the subconscious idiot that ran babbling at times, quite independent of will, habit and conscience” (Fahrenheit 451, 18). Guy tries to mentally distance himself from this other wiser personality because being different is something truly horrifying and dangerous in his world. The fact that these genuine thoughts come at random times make them even more unusual for Montag. As a result, he feels obliged to keep this part of his entity hidden well.
The second most important step of a person’s path to finding his true self consists of the many small clues that there is something wrong in his life, leading to the lightning-fast moment in which he realizes that his existence so far had been everything but perfect and that his previous outlook had been tinted by rose-colored glasses. While wearing the mask, a person takes into account all the difficulties he had experienced, forcing him to put it on in the first place. As “We Wear The Mask” reveals, “[A]ll [his] tears and sighs” have been carefully kept under control, but one finally comes to term with these misfortunes. The excruciating pain caused by the “torn and bleeding hearts” finally catches up with the person, and he realizes that he has to change something in the name of his future existence. In “Barn Burning,” Sarty fully realizes that his family’s life is not in its proper state, but feels helpless when it comes to improving it. He is “not heavy enough to keep him footed solid in [the world], to resist it and try to change the course of its events” (Barn Burning, 9). Being so young, Sarty has absolutely no influence over the other members of the family, so any form of resistance on his part would be futile. In Fahrenheit 451, Guy has many moments in which he questions his actual feelings towards his marriage and overall lifestyle. “Well, wasn’t there a wall between him and Mildred, when you came down to it?” (Fahrenheit 451, 51) He has already found out the answer, but inside, he refuses to believe that his marriage is failing. After a while, as he begins to think more and more, Montag realizes that his relationship with Mildred can be described as being “a silly empty man near a silly empty woman…” (Fahrenheit 451, 51). This further startles him because he had become used to thinking that he had a perfect, strong marriage full of mutual love. From this point on, Montag begins thinking in an entirely new way, feelings like “[h]e was in someone else’s house…” (Fahrenheit 451, 49). He finally realizes that there is no room for him in his own ordinary, sub-urban house, where he dwells with his emotionless wife, sharing no real connection with him; analogically, his formerly docile mind can no longer contain the new untainted thoughts, rushing though his head. Montag’s realization of his artificial life marks an important moment, for it starts the snowball effect, leading to his liberation.
In order to make this sort of life more meaningful, a person begins making miniature, but significant changes to his own lifestyle. In “Barn Burning,” Sarty begins to openly question his father´s orders and sees to it that other people discover about the father´s pyromaniac tendencies. At one point in the story, Abner gives orders to Sarty, expecting the boy to react like always; however, “[t]he boy did not move. Then he could speak. “What …” he cried. “What are you …” (Barn Burning, 21). This quote demonstrates Sarty’s first step towards finally reaching a better life. Even if he ends up complying with the father’s orders, at first, he tries to reason out why he has to obey. Correspondingly, in Fahrenheit 451, Montag also tries to understand the purpose of his job, but at first, he actually begins changing his life involuntarily. “His hand had done it all, his hand, with a brain of its own, with a conscience and a curiosity in each trembling finger, had turned thief” (Fahrenheit 451, 45). Guy practically steals the book, but due to his conscious upbringing that books should be burned, he is scared by his own act. As a result, he attributes this to his body’s impulses. Later on in the book, he contemplates that by using the power of books, he may be able to unite people again. “Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!” (Fahrenheit 451, 81). Montag is genuinely concerned with making changes to the whole world. He feels that the knowledge people can get from books is too valuable to be burnt away. As a result, Montag decides to finally break away from his fireman profession in order to learn all about books.
These changes begin to escalate, and in the end, a person is pushed to make a life-changing decision. In “Barn Burning,” Sarty makes this choice in a “flight or flight” moment. “I could keep on, he thought. I could run on and on and never look back, never need to see his face again,. Only I can’t. I can’t…” (Barn Burning, 21). He either has to follow his father’s orders like always or he can disobey the commands and think for himself for the very first time. Sarty has finally matured enough to realize that his father’s actions are wrong and unforgivable. He flees in panic and confusion, and “[a]t midnight he [sits] on the crest of a hill. He [does] not know it [is] midnight and he [does] not know how far he [has] come” (Barn Burning, 24). Sarty’s decision has great influence on himself and probably his family. The boy is overwhelmed by his own freedom and his senses are numb. Neither time, nor weather make any impression on the stupefied Sarty. In Fahrenheit 451, Montag makes a series of important decisions, but the most significant one is his choice to leave the city behind and run away to meet the people living on the railroad tracks. Upon exiting the city, he finds himself around nature. “But he was at the river. He touched it, just to be sure it was real” (Fahrenheit 451, 147). This quote exemplifies Montag’s disbelief that he can be at a place so far away from the fake, industrial city and so tranquil and relaxing. “He felt as if he had left a stage behind and many actors” (Fahrenheit 451, 146). This quote further illustrates his attitude towards his wife, Mildred, and all the other citizens. Guy believes that none of them ever took off their mask, and he feels delighted to be away from all this. Montag’s choice to abandon the urban stage life of unsuspecting actors, ironically unaware of their own costumes, transforms him into a whole new person.
After such a purifying decision, a person has to come to terms with his new outlook and being. Sarty’s feelings are summed up in exactly five words. “He did not look back” (Barn Burning, 25). He feels no remorse because he can finally make decisions for himself, without a barn burner telling him what to do, what to get, or what to say. Similarly, in Fahrenheit 451, Guy finds peace and mental balance when he is alone, exploring his new scenery. He “float[s] in a sudden peacefulness, away from the city and the lights and the chase, away from everything” (Fahrenheit 451, 147). The word “away” is stressed in this quote because it shows how Montag has distanced himself from everything that had previously made him sick. He is finally a new person in a new place. Where he meets the group of new people, they further reassure him. “You’re welcome here” (Fahrenheit 451, 154). Guy finally belongs to a community with the same sense of awareness as him, and he understands that he is part of an initiative bigger than just stealing books. At last, Montag has come to terms with all the changes around and inside him, and he feels that his true life is just beginning.
Through “We Wear the Mask” and “Barn Burning,” this essay demonstrates the personal path of Fahrenheit 451’s main character, Guy Montag, as he evolves from being an ordinary face behind an ordinary mask to becoming a new individual with real thinking skills, who finally makes the colossal decision to abandon civilization. Montag becomes liberated from the urban chains, hampering his mental power, and he can go on to accomplish his new goals, connected with his realization that books are good for people.