Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about a materialistic society that has forgotten social interaction with each other. This materialistic society is where Bradbury believed society today is headed. The materialistic society in Fahrenheit 451 created through Bradbury’s cynic views of society His views of society are over-exaggerated in contrast with today’s events, especially in the areas of censorship and media mediocrity.
The purpose of media is quite SIMPLY, “a warning signal–information–that alerts the citizens that something is wrong which needs attention and resolution. An aware and informed populace could then influence its leaders to act upon that information in an effort to solve that problem” (Jensen, Project Censored). But Media has often been criticized for promoting a mass mediocrity, because it only tells the public what it wants to hear. The idea of Media promoting mass mediocrity is a reoccurring image in Fahrenheit 451. Such is not the case in today’s society. One of the most successful freedom fighting campaign has been the Tibetan Freedom Concert, a rock concert where artists and citizens converge, sharing their views for Tibetan freedom from Chinese oppression. Over the three years of its existence, the concert has generated so much publicity that it has forced President Bill Clinton to step in and try to hasten the negotiation between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. In a Sonicnet Music News article, the Dalai Lama said, “‘Through this live show, many, many Chinese will have gained a better awareness of President Clinton’s feelings about Tibet, and also President Jiang’s feelings, and I think that can be enormously helpful in the long run.'” (Media Inclusion 1)
The Dalai Lama expresses the importance of publicity that has first been generated by the Tibetan Freedom Concert. Not only did it create awareness for the Chinese as the Dalai Lama suggested; it also created awareness around the world, especially in North America. Ask any North American teenager,”What they feel towards the idea of Tibetan oppression from the Chinese?”, just ask him “Where Tibet is?” three years ago and he would probably look confused and answer by asking “Would you like fries with that?”. Ask that same teenager now, and he would likely give an educated response. The Tibetan Freedom Concert is just an example of how powerful modern media is if it can be used properly.
Censorship in Fahrenheit 451
Censorship in Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 begins on the East Coast, IN LARGE AMERICAN CITY OF THE FUTURE. The futuristic world described here is chilling, a future where every type of book, save inexpensive comics, are burned by “firemen.” One such fireman is Guy Montag, who is tall and dark-haired like most firemen. One thing sets him apart from his colleagues, though he secretly loves books.
One night while Montag is walking home from a day’s work, he meets a young, bright girl named Clarisse McClellan. She is idealistic and hates the social structure of the times. She says that firemen once put out fires started accidentally instead of starting them. Montag thinks this to be nonsense, for the Chief told him firemen have always been fire-starters. Clarisse goes on to tell him about her uncle, who remembers the past and has a sharp intellect. She tells Montag that her family stays up all night talking about a variety of different subjects. He finds this to be extremely odd. Why would anyone want to stay up and talk?
Montag decides that Clarisse is eccentric because hardly anyone except for firemen walk down the street at any time. He goes home to his wife Mildred, a woman who has very little to do except to take part in interactive TV shows. She has three walls of the living room equipped with such walls. She thinks that a fourth wall would be great, while Montag refuses because he thinks it is useless and expensive.
The next day, Montag finds Clarisse waiting at the bus stop. He asks her if she goes to school. She says she does NOT, because she HAS been labeled anti-social by her teachers. They SPOKE for a while, and he eventually goes to work. When he gets to work, an alarm is sounded, so the two firemen go to destroy the house of books. Before they burn the house down, Montag takes two books. When the owner of the house refuses to leave, a fireman burns her along with the house and its books. Montag feels sorry for the old lady, and he becomes depressed. The next day he calls in sick.
Captain Beatty, comes by and talks to him. Montag is lying in bed with a book behind his pillow.