Fahrenheit 451 and Freedom of Speech
In the science fiction novel, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the US has become a dystopian society that burns its books.
The government has banned most books and anyone with books will be arrested and their house, along with the books, will be burned by firemen. There are many similarities and differences between F451 and our society. One important theme in Fahrenheit 451 is the importance of history. There is little to no importance of history in this book. All of the history books are burned so nobody remembers the history. Also, many people lied about history and made it work in their favor.
For example, the government has made Ben Franklin, whom many people look up to, “The First Fireman” so people will respect the firemen. Nobody in this society cares about history, and therefore will repeat the same mistakes. For example, when the Nazi Party took over Germany in WWII, it started with burning books, but ended in millions of deaths. In Fahrenheit 451, the same thing happened. The society burned books and in the end, the city was bombed and everyone was killed.
Fahrenheit 451 is different than the US on the topic of importance of history. History is much more important in our society. Also, people will learn from their mistakes instead of repeating them, like the characters in F451 do. History is a very important part of our society and it needs to be valued. Another important topic in this book is entertainment.
Most houses have a TV parlor with TVs for walls. People treat the TV characters like family. Also, people listen to Seashell radios. The Seashell radios are tiny earpieces that people listen to for very long periods of time and they ignore the rest of the world when they listen to them. This shows how the society cares more about entertainment than the rest of the world.
Although the topic of importance of history is different in the US and F451, the topic of entertainment is much more similar. Many people only care about entertainment and think of nothing else. Some people are addicted to things like TV and video games.Addicts of the video game, World of Warcraft allowed their child to starve to death after playing the game for three months straight.This shows how there can be very bad consequences if entertainment is seen as the most important thing in life. Also, many people, including myself, listen to music with headphones all day and ignore everyone else.
This is similar to the Seashell radios that are in F451.On page 20, Mildred tells Guy that they should get another TV wall. “How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a fourth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollars.” “That’s one-third of my yearly pay.” “It’s only two thousand dollars,” she replied.
“And I should think you’d consider me sometimes.”This shows how Mildred cares about the TV much more than she cares about her husband. One more topic in this book is family. The families from this book are very different from families in real life. Many people don’t have children because it seems like too much work.
Parents such as Mildred’s friends treat their children very badly and when their husbands are killed in the war, they do not react. Also, they have TV “families” that they pretend are real families. In the US, the last theme, family, is very different than in F451. The families in the US usually care at least a little bit about their children, but the parents in F451 do not. They treat their children very badly and mothers like Mrs.
Bowles will have a Cesarean section so that they do not have to go through any pain for the baby. Mrs. Bowles also 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 just heave them into the ‘parlor’ and turn the switch.
It’s like washing clothes; stuff laundry in and close the lid.’ Mrs. Bowles tittered, ‘They’d just as soon kick me as kiss me. Thank God, I can kick back!” This shows how the families in Fahrenheit 451 are very different from those in the US. Although there are many differences between Fahrenheit 451 and the US, there are also many similarities, such as ignoring history, an addiction to entertainment, lack of face to face communication, and withdrawal from families. If these trends continue, these two societies could end up being much more alike.