Theme Of Disillusionment In The Great Gatsby

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A Burning Mirage Tick-tock, let us turn back the clock. Let us rewind to a time where writers reached for pens to express their feelings of disillusionment and loss of faith in the “American Dream” (Handout). From 1900-1950 Modernism seized the minds of writers as Americans lost their innocence due to both World Wars and The Great Depression. While emphasizing on “bold experimentation in style” (Handout) Modernism literature broke from traditional writing and developed an interest in the inner workings of the human mind. Likewise, inspired by the unfamiliar shift they were experiencing, the authors of this period known as the “Lost Generation” produced works of literature like Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, John Steinbeck’s…show more content…
However, as the story progresses Montag soon begins to to question his position in society as a fireman and whether he should continue blindly obeying the law. Bradbury introduces this sense of disillusionment when Montag first encounters Clarisse. Montag is astonished when Clarisse inquires “ are you happy?” (7). This question unnerves Montag and when finally realizes that what he is doing is not bring him any personal satisfaction he finally admits to Mildred “I’m not happy” (46) then begins to examine his life, job, and societal norms. The author does this to convey that conformity often leads to dissatisfaction. Bradbury uses Clarisse as tool of enlightenment. However, he becomes even more disenchanted after witnessing an elderly woman set herself on fire. This has a profound effect on Montag since he sincerely wanted to save her. As a result, he wonders “ There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house” (37). Montag returns home deeply disturbed, the smell of kerosene makes him want to vomit inducing him to become ill. This is what fuels his rebellion and desire to read books. In doing this, Bradbury shows that as society drifts further away from reading, the more simplistic individuals become which is not necessarily a positive reformation. Montag finds himself secretly stashing books in his homes. After…show more content…
For one thing, Bradbury creates a fictional dystopian society in which fireman no longer put out fires “instead of going to start them” (6). Significantly, this abandons the ordinary perception of fireman and alternatively alters in it in an ironic fashion. Another key point is that Bradbury excessively uses exclamation marks in almost every other sentence. For example, Montag shouts “ At the count of ten now! One! Two!” (92). In doing so, he creatively establishes a reverent tone. Bradbury also plays with the salamander’s symbolism. Clarisse originally identifies the “ salamander on his arm” as identification of Montag’s fireman status. The salamander is believed to be a mythical creature that could withstand fire. Despite being burned, the salamander would remain successfully unscathed. The firemen’s sole purpose is to burn down houses. Bradbury purposely uses the salamander to show his attention to detail. All of these factors construct depth that is often found in Modernist literature. In the final analysis, we may now fast-forward to the present-day. If Fahrenheit 451 was an element on the periodic table it would be oxygen. Oxygen is one of the four elements needed to create a fire and fire is perhaps arguably the most important archetype in this novel. Oxygen, is needed by all. Without, it sadly we
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