Name: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Utopian and Dystopian fiction
Text Type: Novel (Extended Text)
The dystopian novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’ written and published by Ray Badbury. In 1953 he tells the story of a 30-year-old fireman, Guy Montag. In the beginning, he is a loyal servant of a consumerist society (where having more is better) that was encumbered by heavy censorship and a pending war. After a sequence of events, he seeks ways to break free of it.
Ray Bradbury attended a radio show in 1956 where he stated that he wrote Fahrenheit 451 because of these concerns at the time of the McCarthy era, where someone could accuse someone else of treason without any sort of evidence. This McCarthy era lasted from the 1940s to 1950s
In the novel, the idea of censorship was pushed across by the firemen. Burning of books, in the novel, they burnt books because of the public, the public didn’t like the offensive/ graphic material contained within the books. Members of the consumerist society focus only on entertainment and speeding through life. If books are found in one’s possession you are arrested, if the owner refuses to give up the books as in the case of the old woman she was a victim of the firemen (people who are specialized in burning down houses containing books).
Throughout the novel the themes of knowledge and ignorance and how they conflict with each other throughout the novel. The fireman duty in the book is to destroy knowledge, to promote ignorance to keep the sameness of society. “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” is a quote from Guy Montag, a firefighter who burned the old woman’s house. This changes his views after he embraces this, he begins his fight against ignorance, trying to help others welcome knowledge into their lives. An example of this is when his wife’s friends come over he forces them to listen to his poetry. Although being outraged after listening to what he reads are they able to experience true emotion.
Life verses establish itself early in the novel by Mildred Montag, Mildred is Guy Montag’s wife. Mildred attempts suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills, Guy finds he passed out and calls for emergency medical assistance and the medics save her life. Guy learns through the medics reviving her that suicides come through every other day. The frequency of suicide attempts and resurrections blurs the line between life and death in this dystopian society. Guy thinks to himself for a while, until he comes across an idea of what life is actually like and why it feels so hollow and dead.
The biggest shock for me from this film was the power of knowledge that books give you, today people don’t read as many books which in the society in the book is what it could be like if the wrong people came into power, indirectly controlling us through our lack of knowledge.
Ray Bradbury’s main message is a society that wants to survive, thrive, and bring its people a sense of importance and reason they must encourage them to conflict with different ideas. He creates a society that pulls full attention towards providing people with a false sense of happiness.