The burning of these banned books is meant to be a way of censoring targeted ideas and messages in a dystopian society. Similarly, our society has once tried to censor certain books by creating a banned book list in the United States. This list challenged books that mentioned controversial topics, and the ideas from these books were silence and censored from the public. Another similar trait shared by our society and the society in Fahrenheit 451 is how media and technology have made an impact on the functioning of society. This impact can be found in Fahrenheit 451's society when observing the way average citizens, like Mildred, spend their time.
Where owning a book can get your house burned and free thinking is severely frowned upon. This allows the society to “change” history as they see fit, such as the history of the first firemen “They pull out their rule books and show Montag the history of firemen in America which reads, ‘ 'Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.’”(Part 1). They also took away any books that may be offensive to somebody, which could have also warped people’s views on certain subjects. With this all in mind, the government had to do all of this very slowly so they could gradually change people’s views on books and such.
Initially, Montag’s phony propensities to burning books stimulated by society conceals his humanity from himself within this seemingly ideal civilization. Over the span of the book, Montag is considerably impersonal as he relishes his brutal and destructive work and diverts himself by watching the suffering he inflicts, displaying that he is satisfied with his illusional lifestyle and his occupation as a fireman. Amid his walk home Montag ponders, “ it was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (1). As appeared in the statement, Montag’s attachment to burning books hinders his internal clash in his mission for truth and a sense of identity through pursuing, creating two sides in him: one with a yearning for burning books and another for discovering truth and knowledge within them. However, his unquenchable craving for burning books enhances, as a result of being a mere pawn of his illogical, persuasional government, eliminating his inquisitiveness for a sense of identity through their brainwashing, creating a fraudulent state of happiness.
Censorship of literature has always been a powerful means of manipulating society by limiting what the people are exposed to. This has been used as a way to suppress free thinking and new ideas, that could cause a shift in power in the society. The censorship of literature has been used by the powerful members of society forever, because of this societies fear the idea of their governments hiding information from the public. In Americus, a small town in Oklahoma is divided over a new teenager book series that some feel the series should be banned from the library. In contrast in Fahrenheit 451, a curious fireman indulges in a banded book, which enlightens him to a new outlook on life.
In the first four pages of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses figurative language to describe how Montag lives jocundly ignorant about his superficial society, when in reality he is destroying it. Bradbury begins by describing Montag as someone who enjoys destruction with his “fiery smile” (Bradbury 4) alike most citizens in this futuristic society similar to current society, for “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (Bradbury 2). Blackened and changed is a metaphor for the process in which firemen burn knowledge out of society, something Montag believes is right and takes part in. He thinks that burning is a beautiful thing to do, and that his hands are “the hands of some amazing conductor playing
“There’s no reason to change.” In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Captain Beatty, the Captain fireman said this quote, but Montag was able to prove him wrong by changing. Prior to this quote, the main character, Guy Montag is a fireman, and his job is to burn books at people’s houses because they are illegal in the society that they live in. He realizes that he is not truly happy with his life and with this society, so he decides to steal books and then read the hidden ones in his house. He becomes a fugitive in the society and has to run away, and eventually, the whole city gets bombed, and Montag is going to help rationalize and bring the ruinous society back to its feet the right way. Ray Bradbury uses the motif of contrasts to portray the theme that human beings are complicated and perplexing and that people are able to change in diverse approaches.
Ironically, instead of putting out the fire firefighters begin fires; however, this happens to be Montag’s occupation. In Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, consecrates societal expectations but is taught to overcome them and change what he believes is the right. As he is consumed in the ideology of society, Montag concludes setting a blaze to books is justifiable to appease to the law and maintain equilibrium. He sought a “pleasure to burn” the novels, observing them blacken is what he enjoys but moreso he enjoys the feeling of justice after burning books (Bradbury 3). Over the years, society implanted this idea into Montag's head telling him it is laudable.
Fire is used to burn away the hidden wisdom within literature, to never be heard or seen, only turning to ashes of forgotten knowledge. We can find in our own history books that we too once did this. Dating as back as the middle ages the burning of books has been an issue in our own history. In the book Christianity, Book-Burning and Censorship in Late Antiquity: Studies in Text Transmission, Dirk Rohamm states, "some late antique emperor and early medieval kings used book-burning and censorship as a means of social control"(18). In other words, fire has been used as a weapon to burn books in the hopes to control nations socially and intellectually.
Montag learns that the best place he can be is with the scholars, a group of men deemed outcasts because of their love for literature (143). When the city goes up in flames after a bomb is dropped Montag describes the ashy seen. Montag’s friend, Granger believes the city resembles a phoenix, from destruction it will rise; brand new and better than the previous
In any utopian society, two of the main causes for actions, thoughts, etc. is fear, or the lack of fear. The government leaders use their access to propaganda to either cause fear, or to eliminate whatever could potentially be the source of fear. Part of the reason why there is a “lack of fear” in the citizens, is because they don’t even know what to think! The government leaders were sure to destroy all books, which could possibly be propaganda, which might contradict their propaganda.
Another rhetorical question was, “Were all firemen picked then for their looks as well as their proclivities?”, this was also resolved in the next sentence by the reference of the appearances of the firemen as well as the way they all enjoyed smoking(Bradbury 33). While this may have originated as an individual taste for smoking society clearly made it commonplace and almost expected of the firemen to be smokers. The authors use of rhetorical questions projected the firemen as conformists to society which removed their sense of individuality. Bradbury characterizes the firefighters in Fahrenheit 451 as duplicates in this
A fireman that starts fires to burn books. In Fahrenheit 451 a fireman doesn’t save people from burning buildings, or try to save houses. They burn illegal books, which, so happens to be all books. This is one example of how this society is different than ours. The book even quotes, “It was a pleasure to burn (books).” On the contrary, books today are highly valued and loved all over the
Burrough investigate about the use of censorship by the government and the their power over citizens which restricts individual’s freedom of thought. He states that the power the government gained through censoring certain materials is questionable and censorship is merely making people more sensitive towards censored materials. Burrough’s journal discusses censorship used by authorities relates to Fahrenheit 451 because the novel is based on a society where anything that might provoke one to question is censored: books are burned and the peculiar individuals are removed from the community. William Burrough studied English literature in Harvard University and he is famous as an essayist and novelist with famous work such as Naked Lunch. This