The Prophecies of Fahrenheit 451

Table of Contents Introduction............................................................................................................................4 First Body Paragraph .............................................................................................................4 Second Body Paragraph.........................................................................................................5 Third Body Paragraph............................................................................................................6 Conclusion .............................................................................................................................8

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Outline I. II. Introduction Body Paragraph A. First Body Paragraph B. Second Body Paragraph C. Third Body Paragraph III. Conclusion

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SJ Lee Mrs. Panks 9th grade Genre Literature 8 June 2011 The Prophecies of Fahrenheit 451 The famous Chinese thinker once said, “Ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or star.” In this quote, Confucius noticeably expresses that a life of ignorance contains darkness without a guiding light. An epitome of this quote is shown in a novel called Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury. He narrates a story involving a 30-year-old fireman, named Guy Montag, his immature wife Mildred, his coworker Beatty, and an college professor named Faber, who are all living in the futuristic world of America. The society shown here is badly corrupted by obsessive use of technology which caused human to be hedonistic and ignorant. The most devastating result of this corruption that worsens the situation is the fixed mind of society, which thinks that books are useless, and therefore they think that firemen should burn books. However, there are few exceptional people, such as Montag, who knows the truth and tries to restore the world by saving the books and memorizing the information in their head. Through this story, Bradbury tries to teach the readers lessons and wake them up to reflect about their own world. The modern society’s destructive tendency to apply censorship, to promote instant happiness, and to cause people to be obsessed and dependent to technology is clearly prophesied in this novel. The excessive censorship of Montag’s society conceals the truth, which causes the instability of people’s mind and other ironic results. Despite this matter, people do not seem to realize these problems and that is not the right way to promote happiness. In his talk with Montag, Beatty says, “There was no dictum, no
student 6/8/11 11:27 PM Deleted: they student 6/8/11 11:29 PM Deleted: should be burnt by firemen. student 6/8/11 11:32 PM Comment: Describe more about Montag. student 6/8/11 11:31 PM Deleted: intends student 6/8/11 11:27 PM Comment: Explain more about the Hook. How does it relate to your novel

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declaration, no censorship to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick…” Beatty explains the origin of censorship by saying that it was actually done by people. He says that the development of technology naturally brought indolence and indifference among people that they cared less about education and truth, but more about entertainment, health, and happiness. Also, in this novel, some people were pressured by the educated ones, and thus knowledge created the group of inferior. As fear and jealousy grew, intellectualism became a weapon. As a result, they believed that by restricting the knowledge, censorship would bring equality, peace, and ultimately happiness. However, this was not the case. Censorship only masked the discontent of the people, not fixed it. There came many tragic results. For example, Mildred attempts suicide numerous times by overdosing sleeping pills. In addition, one of Mildred’s friend, Mrs. Phelps, acts like she is happy, but she reveals cries like a baby when Montag reads her a poem. Lastly, Beatty, even with his education of literature, holds too much stress and vaguely infers to Montag to kill him with the flamethrower. Mildred, Mrs. Phelps,

and Beatty all try hard to believe that their lives are happy. However, looking at their hidden melancholy lives clearly show that censorship did not bring happiness at all. Another result that censorship brought is ignorance. For example, the media tricks the people and tells them that Montag is captured and dead while, in reality, he has escaped from the government forces. Not knowing the real truth, their credulous mind let themselves fully believe their government’s false information. They are manipulated by the government. The idiocy of people is also shown when Mrs. Bowles, a friend of Mildred, mentions that she voted for a president just because he was “nice looking”. Since she doesn’t have any knowledge about politics, she decides to vote for the candidate with good appearance. These results, such as ignorance,

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stress, and instability of people’s mind, were ironically brought by the censorship, which the people originally believed that it would make their lives happy. Moreover, Bradbury warns the modern society by illustrating how the pursuit of instant happiness could bring ignorance, poor decision, and empty lives. In Montag’s society, technology and censorship has driven the people to look for entertainment that gives them immediate amusement and an escape from reality. For example, Mildred is addicted to the fourth wall TV, which makes her feel as if she’s in a virtual world in the TV show. Additionally, she listens to her seashell, which

is like today’s iPod. These acts show her desperate desire to escape from her boring reality. She tries to do this by losing herself in the TV world which gives her instant happiness and excitement. However, she has a serious after effect that even she denies to acknowledge. Though Mildred says that she is happy, she attempts to kill herself numerous times in the beginning of the novel. It is pretty obvious that she suffers some kind of mental illness inside. Not only Mildred, but many other people go through the same suicidal dilemma as it is stated by a hospital operator when he says, “We get these cases nine or ten at night. Got so many, starting few years ago, we had the special machines built.” These characters prove how sedentary, profligate life style can bring fatal consequences. Meanwhile, the tendency to seek immediate satisfaction can also be shown in the modern world. For instance, today people who are addicted to drugs, sex, games, and/or gambling put all their money and even risk their lives to get whatever they want. As they go through the short time of exhilaration, they experience a little bit of happiness that they cannot taste in their normal lives. Eventually, their meaning of life becomes all about their addiction, from which they cannot escape. Afterward, they may commit suicide or become homeless. In conclusion, both Montag’s and modern world implies that living hedonistically

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brings pleasure for a short time, but ruins and wastes the rest of person’s life. The biggest enemy of this novel, the technology, is the ultimate cause of the corruption, and it is responsible for replacing literature, intellectualism, and curiosity. First of all, technology was the main reason why books are burnt. Beatty explains this as he talks with Montag and says, “Picture it. Nineteenth-century man with his horses, dogs, carts, slow motion. Then, in the 20th century, speed up your camera. Books cut shorter. Condensations. Digests. Tabloids. Everything boils down to the gag, the snap ending… Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thoughts!” Beatty tells Montag that technology allowed people to be really inactive and lazy. They wanted to obtain the key information in shortest time, so they started reading short digests, abridged version of novels, and watching movie files. In a while, books lost their values and people didn’t care if they were burnt. Furthermore, the novel shows how technology destroys family relationship. In the novel, Montag asks Mildred to turn the TV off to have some conversation. However, Mildred answers back with shocking words: “That’s my family.” Mildred is so obsessed with her TV that the characters in the TV show became her family. She finds her real husband boring and annoying. Mildred’s friend, Mrs. Bowles, also feels the similar. She says, “I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it’s not bad at all. You have them into the ‘parlor’ and turn the switch. It’s like washing clothes; stuff laundry in and slam the lid.” The technology had even messed up the mother-and-child relationship and makes Mrs. Bowles to like TV more than her son. She compares her children as laundry as if they are the “chores” that she has to do. The more violent and destructive side of technology is shown in the novel too. A mechanical hound is

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a killing machine that the government makes to capture people who are rebelling or being disloyal to the rules. It scares Montag numerous times and almost kills him. Also, it is dangerous because anybody could set up its memory and use it to kill someone. Bradbury might be telling the modern world that one day technology would have risen over the humanity and holds much power than humans. Another destructive example of technology is the nuclear war. At the end of the novel, the

city is destroyed by nuclear bombs sent by an enemy country. This kills the whole population and leaves no remains. This is a great reminder for the current world and teaches that technology should be used carefully. Without serious consideration, it is possible that technology will change our society to become like Montag’s world. Maybe it already started. Today, there are already various problems caused by technology, such as computer games addiction, online chatting, pornography, plagiarism, identity crisis, and cyber bulling. Another thing that is disturbing is that like Montag’s society, books are becoming less important because of the internet. Students especially tend to use internet searching engine to obtain information. This unreliable information that might be false and misleading can make them ignorant like the characters from the novel. To prevent these frightening things to happen, it is important to remember Bradbury’s prophesies through tragic results and mistakes of the characters and their society. Throughout the whole novel, Bradbury teaches and gives various warnings to the modern society. The ignorance and the buried depression of the people, such as Mildred and her friends, demonstrate that excessive censorship could make life miserable and meaningless. Additionally, Bradbury uses Mildred and other characters again to show that hedonistic life could bring short term happiness and relaxation, buy ultimately poor, ignorant life. The most important and applicable warning that the

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novel gives to the current world is the danger of technology. Bradbury tells how technology was the foundation of all problems and how it can make people indolent and ignorant. Today, there are many occasion when these prophesies seem like they’re coming true. As technology develops rapidly, the duty for all people is to remember that technology should not overpower the humanity. It should be limited and never make people dependent and obsessed to it. If the humanity fails to stop the technology from exceeding them, then someday they will see themselves living in a world like Montag’s. As Confucius says, ignorance is the night of the mind, a night without moon or star. Therefore, it is important to be educated and have knowledge because they are the essential components to making the right decision, the key of happiness.

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Reference Jepsen, Chris, and RIchard Jonston. "A Brief Biography." Ray Bradbury Online. Ed. Chris Jepsen. N.p., 3 Mar. 2009. Web. 23 May 2011. <http://www.spaceagecity.com/bradbury/bio.htm>.

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