Escapism In Fahrenheit 451

1408 Words6 Pages
The Next Dark Age
The world of Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953, is an extreme dystopia. Firemen, rather than shutting down blazes, run around burning books and the houses that used to hold them, trust is a rare find, and hatred for the intelligentsia of society runs absolutely rampant. Politics is superficial at best in Fahrenheit, where people vote based on image and appearance rather than policy simply because it is much easier on the mind than to carefully evaluate each part of politician’s platform. People disassociate from what is real, and because of this, violence becomes something to gawk at. Television escapism becomes the norm, and it’s quite fair to say that the need for instant gratification drives
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Morbid curiosity overrides compassion. In Fahrenheit, people run out of their homes to watch fires, watch the houses burn. This is just a more active rubbernecking, and it’s described on page 37. Bradbury writes, “Beatty flicked his fingers to [start the fire]... People ran out of houses all down the street.” This is significant because people, through television and general societal attitudes, don’t realize the emotional reality of death, destruction, and pain. All they see is the carnality on the screen, and they can’t parse that out from their actual lives. Thomas de Zengotita, in a 2002 essay titled The Numbing of the American Mind, writes about how a typical person would approach a hike. He says that upon seeing a wolf, one would think something like, “Wow, look, a real wolf, not in a cage, not on TV, I can’t believe it.” He then writes, “That’s right. You can’t [believe it].” And it’s because real life has become so far removed from what’s shown on a screen. We see this in our own society, where people only see tragedy as another thing to gape at. Truly, this is a disturbing likeness. This is indicative of America charging into an age of suppression of
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