Kings' Courier

Filed under Fahrenheit 451

Preserve and Perservere

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In the dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451, the desertion of books and unique thought leads to the creation of a society that is oblivious and careless of the world around them. Love is virtually non-existent, and war is not feared. This novel by Ray Bradbury shows us that the spread of knowledge must continue in our society in order for us to keep our humanity. He shows us this through the use of pathos, allusion, and symbolism.

 

This society is full of people but has no love. When one thinks of love, he thinks of family because family can also be referred to as “loved ones.” Sadly, in this novel a more fitting term for a man’s immediate family would be “roomates” due to the fact that the only thing they really share is their home. Montag, the main protagonist, wants to speak with his wife when he has problems. In most households, the wife would direct her attention towards her husband, but this is not the case in this novel. Mildred, Montag’s wife, brushes off her husband as if he means nothing to her. This truly saddens me primarily because I see this happening in society today. A man may be watching sports when his wife comes in with a problem, but he’s too absorbed by technology to give her the attention she needs. I find it ironic that the lack of emotions expressed in this novel brings out a lot of emotions in me. The fact that love and compassion no longer have a place in the confines of a families home makes me feel nothing but sorrow for the poor souls in this story.

 

This novel adds to its sadness by alluding to the poem “Dover Beach.” In this poem, faith in humanity is compared to the ocean. The narrator describes the way the ocean withdraws itself from the shore. This shows that faith in humanity is rapidly depleting in this world to the point where people expect to be let down by things such as people and books, so they resort to letting technology envelope them completely. An example of this occurs when Mildred refers to the people on TV asher family and treating her real family as if they are nothing. This is what the government wants from her. Once she is fully drawn in by technology, she will be extremely susceptible to government manipulation. Whereas if she were to read books and converse with humans in real life, she would learn to have opinions of her own.

 

Mildred, along with every other character, symbolizes something in this story. This entire novel is developed heavily through symbolism. Montag represents the people that question the ideas of the government. Mildred, on the other hand, represents the people in society that conformed completely. Conformity will be the death of mankind. When and entire city conforms to the same ideals, nothing new will come, and nothing new will be created. No knowledge will be passed along because everyone knows an believes the same things. Non-conformists bring change to the world by thinking differently than everybody else. Alexander Graham Bell, for example, created the telephone, but what would happen if he decided to just continue writing letters because everyone else did it. He thought differently thus giving one of the biggest technological advancements known to mankind. Ina world full of conformists, no problems will ever be solved. We would have same problems for all of time

All of these problems in this novel frighten me to my core for the simple fact that I see similar problems in the world we live in today. People are continually getting more and more distant from one another. The use of technology makes it much easier for ideas to be planted in our minds. This slowly wipes out the non-traditional thinkers which could eventually lead to a society such as the one in Fahrenheit 451. I believe the preservation of knowledge and the ability to think outside the box to be of utmost importance in our society.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
Preserve and Perservere