Rights And Freedom in The Film “Fahrenheit 451”
Fahrenheit 451 is a 2018 film that depicts the role of government restriction in an advanced, revolutionary American world. The movie takes place in a futuristic world where all types of media as well as books are out of reach. In the film, Guy Montag is the movie’s protagonist and is played by Michael B. Jordan, a well-known individual whose job is to intimidate the citizens by burning any findings of information such as books in order to cut off what life is like outside of its society. For them, a book “is a loaded gun meant to burn.”
Fahrenheit 451 was written by Ramin Bahrani and produced by David Coatsworth. The goal of the creators of Fahrenheit 451 is to illustrate a world where the government could control society by forcing constraints to thought rather than letting people think and govern themselves. If individuals act outside those constraints and the government’s constraints, the government would retaliate harshly, physically and socially. The film Fahrenheit 451 traces its origins to its novel, which also named Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury. The novel was a strong base for the film and shares much of its plot and purpose with Bradbury’s film. The film Fahrenheit 451 was finally released on May 19, 2018 by HBO, an independent movie and television show studio. The movie is set in a more contemporary era, as opposed the book’s original audience from the Victorian era.
Although the film’s focus relates to government restriction, I feel that the action of burning books to suppress society and hinder them from gaining knowledge from the outside world is the opposite of what we are taught in present day society, where the love of literature and learning is highly encouraged, and ignorance is discouraged. I think HBO did a good job in providing a glimpse of what life could be like in a conversely dystopian society with heavy government restrictions, even though the movie’s setting is contrary to our everyday image of society and government. The totalitarian government in this film overpowered in order to take control of its citizens lives. The government embarked on a mission for complete conformity where its citizens will say and think only as the government says, with no thought of their own. The government’s longing for power led itself to creating The Nine. The Nine is a social media platform whose goal is to deconstruct the citizen’s ability to think for themselves.
In this film, Americans surrendered control of all information to the government and tech companies; however, The Nine is the one and only media platform that was granted to stay. To be part of The Nine involves staying cautious and attentive to any mysterious reports from book burnings to other criminal activity. Hence, the phrase, “Stay vivid, if you see something say something,” caught on quick with The Nine as it was their job to report any notice of skeptical actions done by the citizens. Rather than looking out for the welfare of society, the totalitarian government seeks to destroy peace and freedom of the citizens’ life.
Set after World War 2, the film sets a spotlight on the totalitarian government’s goal to control. This controlling nature was ultimately developed from the fear of the human civilization destroying themselves again. In hopes to stray away from such occurrences, the government sought to overpower. When Montag felt pressured under the common totalitarian regimes, Captain Beatty reminded him saying that “We are not born equal, we could all be made equal by the fire. Then we can all be happy.” Bradbury brought upon the ideal in which humans were not determined to live on Earth where they could have “unalienable rights”. However, the film’s method of maintaining peace is through the burning of books and conformity with the government’s ideals. In this way they remove that which they consider an enemy of peace: freedom of thought. The wise words of Ben Parker that live on till today “With great power comes great responsibility” ties in with the power of freedom and the impact it can have on an individual’s decision. Hence, it is and ironic to notice Clarisse longing for a world in which there are “no two sides to a question to worry” but “simply only one”, the government’s way. Furthermore, when Clarissa told Montag, “We did it to ourselves we demanded a world like this,” it was surprising that one would ask for a lifestyle where individuality and freedom was taken away. Line also shows the classic example where one can get carried away with many options and freedom and make a wrong decision. Therefore, it is easy to see that the balance between freedom and security must remain, as imbalances can lead to harmful consequences for not just an individual for society as well.
Unlike the restricted and harsh world illustrated in Fahrenheit 451 where freedom is taken away, the Constitution of the United States was founded on a completely different platform. A platform where one’s sense of self and lifestyle would be determined by themselves and not the government. The world illustrated in the film Fahrenheit 451 is a prime example of a lifestyle that takes away a democracy where the rights and freedom of an individual is ripped away. The process of burning books strips away the independent thinking, yet this independent thinking enables society to truly progress. Free thought enables incremental steps in society and democracy. Here the principle of law and order does not derive on taking away an opponent to an ideal. Peace and solace cannot come about by eliminating opponents to thought, because in the very nature of eliminating an opponent to thought you are eliminating peace.
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