The Importance of Books and Ideas to Overpower Censorship
Ray Bradburyr’s, Fahrenheit 451 novel details a dystopian future in which a firemen receive orders to burn books, therefore, the public consists of people who are oblivious and controllable because of government control. The title refers to the temperature at which book paper burns. Throughout the book, Fireman Guy Montag lived the last ten years supporting government oppressing until multiple events including talks of a war lead him to glance at the things he was censoring.
In the beginning of the novel, Guy and his co-workers, including a robot dog, ferret out books and burn them under orders from the government (Moss). While meeting a young woman one night, clarity is brought to his mind and he begins to question his own ethics which leads him on a significant journey. Through the character of Guy Montag and the symbolism of the firemen system, Bradbury reveals how books and ideas can overcome an oppressive dominion imposing censorship.
Throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451, censorship is revealed from the effects of McCarthyism and post World War during the 1950s. Upon meeting a young girl, Guyr’s character changes because he believes that he being fed with lies by the government. Shortly after meeting Clarisse McClellan, Guy Montagr’s eyes are sprung open behind the fireman system. The work her’s been doing for the past ten years is questioned by his own self and the thought if he is truly happy. She looked at him with wonder and curiosity. ?Are you happy (Bradbury 7). As Montag first meets Clarisse, he finds her very odd because he never questioned his way of living or looked beneath the surface of life. Almost as he was chosen to be a fireman instead of the other way around. In society today, Clarisse would not have been known peculiar. But in the novel, Bradbury reveals the government has censored the standardized way of living. In the book, the botched society relates to the era where the Nazis ruled over Germany and in which Americans were blaming another for being communist.
Like in these countries, the government in the novel make peopler’s ideas and thoughts of any philosophy gone or clouded. Just like in the beginning of the book, Clarisse noticed how dull and meaningless everyone around her thought, and she eventually disappeared along with her family because they were not like everyone else. According to Joyce Moss, Clarisse McClellan, an almost-seventeen-year-old girl who wants to live freely and question everything, changes guyr’s life. He becomes curious about books and and how their censorship began (Moss). Clarisse changes Guyr’s life because she gains his trust as a friend, Montag says she is more mature than his own wife. Even Montagr’s wife Mildred lives under the systemr’s rules and laws. She spends her days watching television, creating an intimate relationship with the characters on screen. When Montag tells her to turn of the parlor. She tells him, thatr’s my family (Bradbury 49). Mildred has been consumed by conformity, just like everyone else, Montag begins to see how the fireman system is a lie that censors peopler’s ability to think and read books. Analyst Bloom mentions how the programing is simplistic and subject to extremely rapid altercations, designed to keep citizens entertained, content, tractable, distracted, and divided (Bloom 16). The fireman system keeps its citizens distracted from the real truth by the means of television. A little while later during a job call, Montag faces his own identity when the sight of the old woman burning to death in defense of her own ideals. He begins to wonder how the book-burning began and why most of the people of the city come to believe in it (Moss). Here, Montag faces his own actions, the question if there really is a meaning in books gathers at the back of his mind. Bradbury embraces the realities of the world being manipulated by a big oppression.
As the novel progresses, Montag begins to migrate from what he believed to the truth. As weeks go by, Montagr’s presence of uneasiness is scented by the mechanical hound, the hound half rose in its kennel and looked at him with green-blue neon light flickering in its suddenly activated eyebulbs. It growled again, a strange rasping combination of electrical sizzle, a frying sound, a scraping of metal, a turning of cogs that seemed rusty and ancient with suspicion (Bradbury 23). The hound possesses a stinger that attempts to sting Montag. Despite the protestations that the hound is not a danger to him, the hound starts to get suspicious around Montag. Here, His shift of perspective around the firemen system is what makes the hound growl, the author foreshadows the events of which Montag can no longer remain a fireman. As time passes, Montag hears from Mildred that Clarisse has been killed by a speeding car. Montagr’s discontent of life grows as he hears this news. He begins to search for clues in books he has stolen from his own fires that he hides in a vent. He recalls the time of the old woman being burnt to death, there must be something in books, something we cant imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house (Bradbury 34).
His search is activated by the burning lady and by the words of Clarisse McClellan. Guy feels uncomfortable with the fireman system that one day he calls off from work, feeling a sense guilt makes him wonder if he is ever going to return being a fireman. His fire chief, Beatty show up at his house knowing that he is going through some sort of phase, Beatty explains that it is normal for a fireman to be curious about what books contain, after all, they are banned from reading. Then the chief goes into a deeper sense, saying that books were first prohibited by a group of minorities who objected books that offended them. And soon, all the books contained the same meaning because the writers in them didnt want to be exposed of the lies that they were being offensive. Beatty explains that firemen stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought (Bradbury 59). Beatty and the firemen shut down those who have an opinion just because they dont like what they have to say. The firemen enforce rules in how they see fit instead of what the people want. The society is ruled by a dictatorship, except the people dont realize it because they are being manipulated.
Furthermore, Guy Montag breaks free from his life as a fireman, he realizes that there is a meaning and a man behind books. His search for happiness drives him to call a retired english professor named Farber. Before he finds Farber Montag believes he has the last copy of the Bible, in order to prove his story, Montags rides in the train trying to memorize Ecclesiastes; a book of the Bible. As he is studying, Montag recalls a time when he had sat upon a yellow dune by the sea in the middle of the blue and hot summer day, trying to fill a sieve with sand…the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering. His hands were tired, the sand was boiling, and the sieve was empty (Bradbury 74). The sieve and the sand symbol a time frame in which Montag tries to memorize passages of Ecclesiastes during the train. The faster he reads, the less he takes out from it. As he meets Farber, he tells Montag that the value of books lies in the detailed writing of life they contain. Faber says that Montag does not only needs books but also the liberty to read them and the freedom to act upon their ideas. To proceed, Farber explains to Montag that the captain belongs to the most dangerous enemy to the truth and freedom, the solid unmoving cattle of the majority, the terrible tyranny of the majority (Bradbury 104). In order to take down the status quo, Farber learns they must not underestimate Beatty, their plan must be devised carefully. Montag finally returns to the fire station and to his surprise, the alarm rings giving the address of his own house.
As the firemen arrive to Montagr’s house, Beatty demands Montag to burn his own house while his wife Mildred drives away in a taxi, but the whole time Farber has been helping Montag control his emotions by whispering in his ear with earpiece. Farber has been trying to help Montag by whispering in his ear, but now Beatty discovers the ear radio and takes it away. In his confusion, Montagr’s hand again move on their own and turn the flamethrower on Beatty, killing him (Fahrenheit). At this turn of event, Mildred has betrayed Montagr’s trust and gives Beatty the lead on Montag. Montag then reacts, turning on Beatty and the rest of the firemen as well as the mechanical hound. At this point of the novel, Montag escapes from the government and Farber heads to St. Louis to meet with a retired printer. During Montagr’s escape to the river, he meets with a group of intellectuals and man named Granger whose purpose is to lead the group and memorize books until a new order is born. But before Montag meets them, He goes on to walk through a forest, until he finds the campfire of the book-people where a collective reverie of the forge is in progress. It completely reverses the value previously associated with fire, being humanly warming, and it places time at the service of men whose voice have the power to talk about everything (Touponce). Here, Montagr’s view of fire changes significantly because the fire signified destruction, but now, the fire symbolizes anew, and power. Moments later, an atomic bomb destroys the city leading to the rise in Montagr’s new crew and their ideas. In the end, Montag and the intellectuals were the last ones standing because of their ideas and books, they did not involved themselves with what the government was demanding them to do.
The events that Guy Montag faced throughout the novel, Fahrenheit 451, demonstrate Ray Bradburyr’s theme in the importance of books and ideas to defeat a tyrannical system. He wanted readers to understand the importance of reading and thinking. He once said, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them” (Bradbury). Bradbury depicts the meaning behind the novel, such as the censorship the government lays on society. Literary critic Adam Bogar explains, reading for Bradbury is a metaphor of movement in the philosophical sense, that is, of change, of life, of existence, and symbols of, thinking, communication, and interpersonal relationships (Bogar 165). Bradbury demonstrates life lessons which highlights that reading and thought can defy censorship from a dominant control.
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