My Side of the Mountain and Fahrenheit 451
In the book Fahrenheit 451, control is the government’s biggest concern, sole purpose, and endgame. After reading this book, an old fable came to mind, it is the story of putting a frog in water, and slowly boiling it, the changes are so subtle that the frog does not notice it, but in the end, winds up boiling. This old parable is an excellent example of how the ruling elite micromanages the day to day activities of the citizens.
One way of the government is aiming to accomplish this task and keeping the citizens in check, is to keep them in a constant fight or flight state. On page (7) Clarisse says to Montag ‘I bet I know something else you do not know, there’s dew on the grass in the morning’. This way of keeping people in fight or flight stops them from noticing small things while shutting off higher brain functions like imagination, and having new ideas. By doing this, the people in the book are slowly being brainwashed, but they do not notice it because it is so subtle. Micromanaging like this is done by having a speed minimum, and keeping things moving too fast, keeps people focused on what they think is important. The fight or flight example does not apply to the frog; this is to sever. Cite an example of small, micro changes and micromanagement that occurs on a constant minute by minute basis, and this will redefine and reframe their definition of normal, that is the frog in the water.
Another higher brain function is compassion for something other than the individual. So when one of Millie’s friends said on page 92 You know I haven’t any! No one in [their] right mind, the Good Lord knows, would have any children! goes to show how much the average person cares about something outside of themselves. Being so self-absorbed is a big problem to the individual, but a powerful leverage point for the ones in power in the book. There is another example in the book when Millie and her friends talk about politics, little do they know their votes did absolutely nothing, and the future president was already decided, and what they were watching on the parlor walls was just an act. The citizens think that they are exercising free choice and self-empowerment, but in actuality, the people are so self-absorbed that they do not see things for what they are. Discuss here in more depth how these self-centered decisions, under the guise of the individual thinking they are exercising free choice and self-empowerment are undermining themselves and denying themselves some of the most essential and fundamental human joys in life.
Parlor walls are a sign of wealth and happiness in the world of Fahrenheit 451. What a parlor wall is instead of having a TV on a wall, the TV is the wall. TV characters dance around the walls, on people favorite shows. However, it has gone too far. People have been consumed by their ‘family’ on the parlor walls.
An example of this is when Millie is watching the parlor, Montag says to her Will you turn the parlor off? and Millie responds But that’s my family. People like Millie have become accustomed to the parlor as a significant role in their day, and life. The parlor wall is a substitute for thinking, and doing other non-essential activities like going for a stroll, or reading the newspaper which in turn has taken every second of their time not used for essential things in their world. This citation and paragraph is the perfect example of the frog in the water, incremental electronic immersion, and addition, allowing control in the most pervasive of fashions.
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