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Fahrenheit 451 Paper

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					Fahrenheit 451 Paper
Imagine a World

Imagine a world where people prefer a TV to a spouse; a place where
people who are extroverted need to see a doctor. This is the world of Ray
Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. People in the book "say the same things and
nobody says anything different from anyone else." (Bradbury 35). The
people in Fahrenheit 451 are isolated and indifferent. They even actively
try to run pedestrians over (129). People are considered 'strange' if
they like to talk people. There are three factors that highlight this
indifference: SeaShells, the parlors and an aversion to books. However,
these technologies and ideas are present in the past, present and future,
as well as in Fahrenheit 451. Exploring these technologies and ideas
reveals a lot about our society as well as in Fahrenheit 451's society.
The parlors are rooms with giant television screens on all sides. People
watch these screens and interact, following a set script (24). These
parlors were radically different from the television Bradbury
experienced. In 1951, when the book was written, television had a small
black and white screen. Bradbury was concerned about the television
because he saw that people could get sucked into watching that one
special show every week, and how that might progress into watching
television almost all day. Today, we're well on the way to what Bradbury
predicted, as the average American adult watches 5 hours of television a
day (uoflife.com). Today, we have large screen televisions that almost
cover a whole wall, very similar to Bradbury's parlors. In the future, we
might reach Bradbury's predictions with a screen on each wall, but we're
not there yet. However, Bradbury's predictions get more accurate, with
the SeaShells.
In Bradbury's book, the SeaShells are small earphones that broadcast news
and music into your ears all the time. Mildred, Montag's wife, keeps hers
in all the time, and just lip-reads instead of taking out her SeaShells
to listen to people. These are similar to iPods today. People keep one
iPod headphone in while they talk to others. In Bradbury's day, the
closest thing to iPods were radios and record players, which were
becoming popular. He included Seashells in his book as a warning because
he realized if radios and record players were taken to the extreme, they
could become a social hazard. Music went from something one listened to
in your home some times to something that one could listen to all the
time. Bradbury's insights are eerily accurate, considering when the book
was written.
The aversion to books, and by association, knowledge, is a key factor in
the indifference and separation of people of the society of Fahrenheit
451. In our society, if we didn't have books, we wouldn't have learned
many of life's lessons or learned to step out of our own shoes and into
someone else's. For example, we might not have learned how it feels to be
discriminated against, both in the work force and in society. Books help
us gain a different perspective on the world.
The people in Fahrenheit 451 didn't value books, so they did not learn
how to see something from another's point of view. They became less
understanding, more secluded, and more indifferent. This attitude became
a major part in the dystopia that Bradbury created.
This attitude towards books in Fahrenheit 451 is much different than
Bradbury experienced. Bradbury lived in a society that liked to read.
Instead of reading solely for school, as many students do today, students
in 1951 read for their own enjoyment. As a result, they were much more
social. Teens today just don't talk as much about 'deep things,' such as
relationships or religion with elders or peers. In the future, we may
become even more reclusive and never talk about those things.
These three examples show how much our society has changed from
Bradbury's time. The average family, or teen, in the 1950's probably
didn't watch much television or listen to much radio or music. Today, the
average teen listens to much more music then the average teen from the
50's because it is more available and portable. Americans, as a whole,
seem to becoming less social and more involved in their personal worlds
of iPods and TV's, the technology of today. The world that exists with
these technologies is one that is far less personal then the world that
existed fifty years ago.
While Bradbury predicted a more extreme version of these three
technologies and ideas, the central idea remains the same: technology can
lead to social disorder. People can become less social and care less
about people and their emotions, because of technology. While Bradbury
experienced only the very beginnings of these technologies, he saw where
they could lead. He warned us about what they, and our society, could
potentially become. We have changed radically from the society in which
Bradbury lived, but we have drawn close to his predictions.
~Scooter

				
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posted:10/11/2010
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