Materialism In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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(AGG) Fahrenheit 451 has a message that was once very clearly explained by John Lennon: “If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there 'd be peace” ("Quotes about"). (BS-1) The main character in Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag, lives in a very material-desiring society. (BS-2) The citizens living in his society end up less compassionate due to this materialism. (BS-3) Those who aren’t materialistic, however, are not lacking in the trait of compassion. (TS) A major message in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is that materialism is the root of a lack of compassion in society.

(MIP-1) Montag’s society is very materialistic. (SIP-A) Throughout the novel, one example of this is Montag’s wife, Mildred, who only cares about her material
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(MIP-2) This materialism causes a lack of human compassion. (SIP-A) When Montag is clearly distressed and looks toward Mildred to confide in, she doesn’t show any compassion towards him. (STEWE-1) Montag stays home sick one day. After smelling kerosene, Montag vomits on the carpet, and-very obviously looking for comfort-talks about his experience the previous night. "Mildred came in, humming. She was surprised. 'Why 'd you do that? ' He looked with dismay at the floor. 'We burned an old woman with her books. ' 'It 's a good thing the rug 's washable '" (Bradbury 47). The only thing that Mildred is worried about is her object, the rug, not her husband or his health. She is only concerned that her piece of furniture was damaged, not about the mental state of her own family. Mildred’s lust for objects distracts her from the things that should really matter. (STEWE-2) The day before this incident, Montag also asked Mildred whether she could remember where their relationship had started. Mildred responds with: " 'Funny, how funny, not to remember where or when you met your husband or wife... It doesn 't matter '" (Bradbury 40). Mildred does not think of her relationship as being anything worth remembering; She doesn’t care about it. The only thing she cares about is how this relationship brings her more material objects. (SIP-B) Mildred’s friends also show this lack of compassion, through how they treat their children as well as each other. (STEWE-1) When…show more content…
(MIP-3) One can regain that compassion by dissociating themselves from this materialism. (SIP-A) An example of this are the characters Faber and Granger, who are not materialistic, as they often criticise the materialism of others. (STEWE-1) When Montag meets the travelers, Granger explains the things which his grandfather told him, many years ago. “‘See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories’” (Bradbury 150). Granger’s grandfather told Granger this piece of wisdom, along with others, that Granger admits shaped him into the man he is in the present. “Granger turned to Montag. ‘Grandfather’s been dead for all these years, but if you lifted my skull, by God, in the convolutions of my brain you’d find the big ridges of his thumbprint. He touched me’” (Bradbury 150). In following his grandfather’s guidance, Granger did not become as acquisitive as the rest of his society; rather he opposed this
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