Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

June 9, 2017

The sixteenth century German writer, Johann Wolfgang van Goethe, once said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Rad Bradbury's novel, Fahrenheit 451, embodies every aspect of this quote with its own twist on a dystopian society. More specifically, Guy Montag, the protagonists of the story, begins as a faithful member of his city’s fire department; yet the job of a fireman is the exact opposite of that of the typical fireman. Montag, along with many others including his hypocritical boss Beatty, are forced to burn down the houses of those believed to possess books. The goal, as Beatty later explains, is to extinguish rebellious thoughts or actions that threaten government institutions. However, Montag’s encounter with his neighbor, Clarisse, changes his viewpoints on society and the nature of his job. Overall, Fahrenheit 451 perfectly represents the dystopian society through its development of the protagonist, environment, and societal control.
The rebellious actions of the protagonist is the paramount of any dystopian novel. Montag, in this case, does not fail to reveal these essential actions and attributes. In particular, the scarring incident in which Montag views an innocent lady burn alive along with her books instigates his quest for answers. He questions, "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” (49). The recurring image of the woman on fire leads Montag into questioning foundation of his society, thus making him an ideal protagonist. Additionally Montag explains to his wife, Mildred, “Last night I thought about all the kerosene I've used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books” (51). Montag questions the government’s institutions, much like any other protagonist entrapped in his or her flawed world. His outbreak, which has been developing for some time now, questions the ban on books in his society. As former-member of the agency that enforces the ban on books, Montag offers an interesting perspective that deviates from the norm of any dystopian protagonist. The actions Montag takes in the novel reveal not only his own viewpoints, but also the inclinations of almost every dystopian protagonist.
Though vague and poorly explained at times, Bradbury encapsulates the surveillance and cofinity that Montag and the rest of his city encounter. Generally, dystopian novels outline a society in which independent thought is restricted, thus making it one of the foremost characteristics in this type of genre. Bradbury does not fail to this incorporate chief attribute into his own novel, as Beatty explains to Montag that, “Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs or the names of state capitals or how much corn Iowa grew last year. Cram them full of non-combustible data … Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy” (83). Through psychological conditioning and a merit system that tricks its individuals, the government in Montag’s society clearly suppresses independent thought and therefore represents the dystopian world. Further, the illusion of a “perfect society” is yet another recurring attribute in the dystopian genre. Once again, Bradburry highlights this characteristic as Beatty mentions, “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy” (84). Beatty’s remarks on the lack of a social hierarchy epitomize the dystopian society that they live in. Through an obscure, uncertain telling of the events, Bradburry’s novel embodies the environment of the dystopian world.
Furthermore, the utilization of technology is one way Bradburry illustrates the societal control present in the story. In the novel, he explains that Montag and Mildred own three full-size television walls in their parlor. For the majority of the day, Mildred talks to her “TV family”, while Montag becomes progressively impatient with the imaginary family. Although it is not explicitly said, the “TV family” offers assurance for its owners against the bombings around their city. The government utilizes the TV parlors in order to manipulate the people into believing that they are well protected, thus accomplishing their goal of making society ignorant to the outside world. In addition, the mechanical hound found in the novel is the pinnacle of government surveillance. Unlike typical firefighter dogs, whose job is to rescue the weak and injured, the mechanical hound is a government apparatus used to intrusively surveil society. The infamous scene in which the hound kills a innocent civilian not only highlights their technological control, but also their desire for authority. Bradbury describes, “The victim was seized by Hound and camera in a great spidering, clenching grip. He screamed. He screamed. He screamed!” (111). The sacrifice of innocent individual in order to exhibit power over society epitomizes the manipulative government in place. Clearly, societal control in the novel has taken the form of the technological devices instilled to sway the actions of the people.                                                                                                  
Overall, Fahrenheit 451, is innovative version of a dystopian novel that perfectly fits its role. While the ambience of novel is similar to most dystopian novels, Guy Montag provides a new perspective on the role of the protagonist. Also, the use of technology seizes control over all members of society, except the ones that evade it. Generally, dystopian novels provide its readers with incite on the flaws that develop in society if not regulated. Thus, it is important for readers to learn from the deficiencies that can spur from similar contexts.

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