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Fahrenheit 451

 
 
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2008 10:22 am


Fahrenheit 451 is set in a future dystopian society where books have become illegal. Since this book represents a dystopian society, it easily lends itself to be compared and contrasted with both '1984' and 'Brave New World'.

Like the other two dystopian books mentioned, Fahrenheit 451 works on the basic premise of general happiness throughout an entire society. In 1984 the goal was to have the people happy with the current workings of government and their status in life. Brave New World instilled happiness by conditioning people to a predestined life, thereby making them happy with their assigned role in society. Fahrenheit 451 seeks happiness for the people by keeping life simple and childish. It outlines what I see to be a superficial happiness that is founded on pleasure through base entertainment.

One of the aspects I enjoyed most about this book is that I generally did not know what was going to happen, and I want to preserve this enjoyment for those on the forum who have not read the book. However, there are a few points that I would like to make.

As opposed to 1984 and Brave New World, the dystopian society in Fahrenheit 451 is not represented by an overarching government that tries to keep their respective societies happy through conditioning. The only government control is the law that books are illegal, and this came about not because the government thought it was best, but because the people they represented did. The people felt that all books led to was despair and controversy, which lead to unhappiness. Happiness, the people thought, was to be found in base entertainment and simple living. Thinking became something that was looked down upon . Intellectuals were seen as loonies because the populace at large deemed higher education useless and destructive.

I find this to be a warning to any society where thinking comes second to entertainment. While I can hardly say that America is going down hill because of television, I do find that without moderation the passive entertainment that television provides can severely hinders ones ability to expand their minds and grow as a person, both socially and intellectually.

Another point that this books (candidly) makes is our need to have 'Gadflies' in our life. I derive the term gadfly from Plato's 'Apology'. The main character is awoken from his state of superficial happiness by a little girl who does no more than have simple conversations with him about how he feels. She asks him one very important question: "Are you happy?" I feel that this is the turning point in the main characters life. His 'awakening' could not have happened if it was not for this little girl's simple question. It is easy to fall into the trap of becoming unknowingly arrogant. And sometimes, the only way out of this arrogance is to have a strong bite of humility right in the rear end.

Regarding the literary aspects of the book, I have recently discovered that novellas are excellent because of their heavy content that is condensed into a quick read. I found the authors style unbecoming. But, since this book is a novella, the style can be easily overlooked.
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Professer Frost
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 06:15 am
@de Silentio,
Dear de_Silentio,
Thanks very much for bringing this book up because it's one I really love!
Just two questions:

What did you think of the scenes near the end where Granger is talking to Montag (especially the scene where he discusses his Gandfather's influence on his life) ?

Specifically what elements of Bradbury's style are "unbecoming"?

- The Prof.
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 06:14 pm
@Professer Frost,
Professer Frost wrote:

Thanks very much for bringing this book up because it's one I really love!


If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you love about the book?

[quote]What did you think of the scenes near the end where Granger is talking to Montag (especially the scene where he discusses his Gandfather's influence on his life) ?[/quote]

I think that the ending showed that no matter how hard people try, they cannot stop what knowledge means to mankind. We are not base creatures, no matter how hard anyone tries to make us be. Knowledge is something that, once tasted, creates an everlasting appetite in those who truly feel the need to understand.

Regarding Grangers Grandpa, I think Granger's story shows the importance of childhood influences. If his Grandpa had been like the rest of the population in the book, Granger would not have had the experiences of charity, hard work, and love that his Grandpa modeled. The goal of any parental figure should be to leave behind a legacy of virtue and adoration in those he loves.
[quote]Specifically what elements of Bradbury's style are "unbecoming"? [/quote]

You must understand that I am by no means worthy of critiquing any literary work. The majority of the books I have read are philosophy books (I am one of the few who actually enjoy reading Kant!)


However, I think it is his sentence structure that strikes the wrong cord in me. He uses a lot of commas where I don't think there should be commas. It also seemed erratic, which may have been his purpose.
Professer Frost
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 06:57 pm
@de Silentio,
Quote from de_Silentio:
If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you love about the book?

Professor Frost says:
I find the scenes near the end particularly moving. They set it apart (to my mind) from any other dystopian novel I've read. And also I think the very force and immediacy which Bradbury gives to his "w
O
r
L d-in-fragments" is truly awesome. What does that force consist of? I don't know. Dissect beauty with too much reason and it vanishes. Never look a muse straight in the eyes.

Quote from de_Silentio
I think that the ending showed that no matter how hard people try, they cannot stop what knowledge means to mankind. We are not base creatures, no matter how hard anyone tries to make us be. Knowledge is something that, once tasted, creates an everlasting appetite in those who truly feel the need to understand.

Regarding Grangers Grandpa, I think Granger's story shows the importance of childhood influences. If his Grandpa had been like the rest of the population in the book, Granger would not have had the experiences of charity, hard work, and love that his Grandpa modeled. The goal of any parental figure should be to leave behind a legacy of virtue and adoration in those he loves.

Professor Frost says:
Excellent appraisal!

Quote from de_Silentio
I think it is his sentence structure that strikes the wrong cord in me. He uses a lot of commas where I don't think there should be commas. It also seemed erratic, which may have been his purpose.

Professor Frost says:
de Silentio
 
  1  
Reply Mon 2 Jun, 2008 07:18 pm
@Professer Frost,
Professer Frost wrote:
They set it apart (to my mind) from any other dystopian novel I've read.


Agreed. When I left Fahrenheit 451 I had a sense of hope, a sense that the world will begin progressing again. When I left 1984.. Hope, yeah right, "I love big brother" says it all. In Brave New World, the 'Savages' Mother, Linda, clearly represented that the conditioning created an innate longing for the dystopian society that they live in. (I use innate metaphorically, as to not contradict myself.) This longing would never let the society fall.

[quote]And also I think the very force and immediacy which Bradbury gives to his "world-in-fragments" is truly awesome. What does that force consist of? [/quote]

I think the force is actuality. Brave New World and 1984 seemed far fetched. Control on that level is not something we can relate to. Fahrenheit 451 on the other resonates with a facet of our current society. I can walk down my street at night and 2/3 of the houses have that eerily-blue shade of light coming from their windows. Does this mean the downfall of society, no. But I find that the beginning of a society like the described in the book begins with a focus on the easy entertainment television offers.

[quote]Professor Frost says:
Excellent appraisal![/quote]

Thank You.
0 Replies
 
philosopherqueen
 
  1  
Reply Fri 11 Jul, 2008 05:55 pm
@Professer Frost,
I'm so glad this was brought up it was one of the first books that I was introduced to when I entered into Junior High. I own it and I love reading it over and over again. I'm glad this post got so much interaction.

p.s. sorry about being gone so long. I'll be around more nowadays
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