Fahrenheit 451 Essay, Research Paper
For more than half a century science fiction writers have thrilled and challenged
readers with visions of the future and future worlds. These authors offered an insight into
what they aree expected man, society, and life to be like at some future time.
One such author, Ray Bradbury, utilized this concept in his work, Fahrenheit 451,
futuristic look at a man and his role in society. Bradbury utilizes the luxuries of life in
America today, in addition to various occupations and technological advances, to show
what life could be like if the future takes a drastic turn for the worse. He turns man?s best
friend, the dog, against man, changes the role of public servants and changes the value of
Aldous Huxley also uses the concept of society out of control in his science fiction
novel Brave New World. Brave new world also deals with man in a changed society.
Huxley asks his readers to look at the role of science and literature in the future world,
scared that it may be rendered useless and discarded. Unlike Bradbury, Huxley includes
in his book a group of people unaffected by the changes in society, a group that still has
religious beliefs and marriage, things no longer part of the changed society, to compare
contrast today?s culture with his proposed futuristic culture.
But one theme that both Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 use in common is
the theme of individual discovery by refusing to accept a passive approach to life, and
refusing to conform. In addition, the refusal of various methods of escape from reality
is shown to be a path to discovery. In Brave New World, the main characters of Bernard
Marx and the ?Savage? boy John both come to realize the faults with their own cultural.
In Farenheit 451 Guy Montag begins to discover that things could be better in his society
but, sue to some uncontrollable events, his discover happens much faster than it would
have. He is forced out on his own, away from society, to live with others like himself who
think differently that the society does.
Marx from the civilized culture, seriously questions the lack of history that his
society has.He also wonders as to the lack of books , banned because they were old and
did not encourage the new culture. By visiting a reservation, home of an ?uncivilized?
culture of savages, he is able to see first hand something of what life and society use to be
like. Afterwards he returns and attempts to incorporate some of what he saw into his
work as an advertising agent. As a result with this contrast with the other culture, Marx
discovers more about himself as well. He is able to see more clearly the things that had
always set him on edge: the promiscuity, the domination of the government and the
lifelessness in which he lived. (Allen,2)
John, often referred to as ?the Savage? because he was able to leave the
reservation with Marx to go to London to live with him, also has a hard time adjusting to
the drastic changes. The son of two members of the modern society but born and raised
on the reservation, John learned from his mother the values and the customs of the
?civilized? world while living in a culture that had much different values and practices.
Though his mother talked of the promiscuity that she had practiced before she was left on
the reservation and did still practice it, John was raised, thanks to the people around him,
with the belief that these actions were wrong. Seeing his mother act in a manner that
obviously reflected different values greatly affected and hurt John, especially when he
returned with Marx to London. John loved his mother, but he, hybrid of the two cultures,
was stuck in the middle. (May, 5)
Like Brave New World characters escaping from reality through the use of soma,
Montag?s wife , and many other characters, escape through watching a sophisticated form
of television. This television system covers three of the walls of montag?s TV room, has a
control unit that allows the watchers to interact with the characters on the program and
another unit that inserts Mrs. Montag?s name into specific places, thus creating the image
they are actually conversing with them. Montag?s wife, having only a few friends and ones
she rarely sees, spends much of her day in this room, watching a program called ?The
Family?, a government sponsored program that shows the viewers what life at home
should be like.
The problem with this is that Montag?s wife takes the program as a substitute for
reality. She is almost addicted to buy the program, much as people were with the soma in
Brave New World. Bradbury uses this television and it?s programs as a way of showing
the escape he is worried people look will look for in the future. Without actively
questioning society?s values, he is concerned that people will look for ways to idealy
Through these various diversions from normal behavior in society, Marx, John the
Savage and Guy Montag are able to see the truths behind the societies they live in and are
able to learn about themselves. And though their discoveries meant that their lives would
be changed lies in thinking and questioning. These men found themselves through their
own discoveries, much as Bradbury and Huxley hope others will do.