The Ways Government Influences Citizens' Vision on Freedom, in Fahrenheit 451 Novel

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In “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradberry the reader discovers a unique futuristic society. Here, the totalitarian government rules by censorship and intimidation. They send out robotic beasts armed with lethal injection needles. Mechanical hounds can be programmed to seek out specific objects i.e. people that get in their way. Most of society believes in its rules but a rare few believe that people have lost much of which makes their world great. These different perspectives of society are best represented by the varied personalities among the characters. The main character, Guy Montag, and his wife, Mildred, best represent these depictions of society.

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Guy Montag is a fireman. In the future firemen don’t fight fires but fuel them. “Ooh, mommy look. Firemen. Mommy, there’s going to be a fire”. They are government agents sent to track books, destroy them, and burn the owner’s home. “We burn them to ashes and then burn the ashes.” That’s the fire department’s official motto. The regime thinks books give people ideas of rebellion and change.

Up until one day when Montag meets a strange girl he is little more than a fireman who lives without thinking or feeling. ” It was a pleasure to burn”. This girl is unlike anyone he has ever seen. She strives to understand the world and nature’s essence. “I like to smell things and look at things, and sometimes stay up all night, walking, and watching the sun rise”. The rest of humanity relies on the walls (a form of virtual reality) and are obsessed with them. This girl introduces Montag to the secrets books hold and gives him the forbidden urge to read them. These urges lead Montag down a path to change the world and find people like him.

In the park Montag meets and old man whose house he burned years ago. At first Montag frightens the old man into hiding. But after he tells the old man that he wants to help preserve books, the man gives him information on a rebel group that live in the woods. This group’s goal is to reintroduce society to books one person at a time. They believe that if one man can memorize one book he can pass on his knowledge to the next causing a chain reaction. Montag joins this division and becomes a stepping-stone in the war against totalitarianism.

Mildred is Montag’s wife. She is more like a zombie than a person; another product of the government. She spends her time conversing with her parlor “family” that are mere computerized voices from screens. These parlor families are government-sponsored activities meant to distract society from the real world. Mildred is stripped of feelings and does not think. When Montag informs Mildred that she attempted to commit suicide she simply responds with “Wouldn’t do a thing like that”.

“Fahrenheit 451” is a powerful novel taking place in the future and discussing the role of government and censorship. Ray Bradberry’s opinion on totalitarian rule is that it destroys the essence of mankind. He thinks that when you limit what people can see and do you are actually taking away what makes humans great.

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