The Theme of Entertainment and Technology in Fahrenheit 451


Fahrenheit 451 tells a story of a futuristic society where the people do not read books, enjoy nature or think independently. They drive to fast, watch way to much television and listen to “seashell radio”. The characters in the story are unhappy and empty inside. There is a sense of dissatisfaction. With all the technology in our world I see many similarities and also some differences.

Fahrenheit 451 relates to our world because of the technology in it. In the book it shows that they are not allowed to read or have books. In our modern world now they have removed bookstores because people don’t read as much today as they did before or if they do they read on a kindle or other electronic device. Many also use audio books. This is because of such things like tv, phones, computers, netflix, games on a phones or any electronic devices. The society depicted in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 is obsessed with entertainment. Entertainment was not only a distraction, but a way to control people's behaviors, thoughts, and interactions. Bradbury describes two key pieces of technology, the 'Seashell' and the television. Today we thrive for the latest technology they come up with, the newer the better.  We keep wanting more. Bigger, faster and better quality just like the people in the book. This book especially relates to millennials because there are reports on them not even being able to go 5 mins without their phones. Everywhere you go nowadays everyone has a phone in their hand.

One article was posted about a girl who accidently broke her phone and she kept trying to turn on her phone for hours, which shows how dependent we are on technology now. Students are especially dependent on computers because a lot of assignments are online. Students will also be on the computer a lot to research the information they need to do the work because it’s faster than if you look for the information in books. In the book it mentions seashells which are like our version of airpods in this world where people would be crammed full of “noncombustible” data.

They will “feel they’re thinking,” Bradbury wrote, “and they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change.” Today it seems that half the words online have been replaced with emojis. As the virtual world becomes more dominant, owning books becomes an act of rebellion. When a printed book is in your possession, no one can track, alter or hack it. The characters in my film have never seen a book. J. K. Rowling spoke out against Donald Trump on Twitter, people tweeted that they were planning to burn their Harry Potter books. A lot of people’s books today are even taken out of schools because as we evolved from technology our brains began to develop into a whole different view on the books. “Bradbury believed that we wanted the world to become this way. That we asked for the “firemen” to burn books. That we wanted entertainment to replace reading and thinking. That we voted for political and economic systems to keep us happy rather than thoughtfully informed. He would say that we chose to give up our privacy and freedom to tech companies. That we decided to entrust our cultural heritage and knowledge to digital archives.”

Fahrenheit 451 also posited cultural diversity, a population so big, a culture so diverse, that every group – defined by colour, race, profession, hobbies and what not – was a minority. And a time came when nothing could be written without offending someone or the other; without some group or the other outraging. As the book puts it, “Don’t step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico. The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere.

The bigger your market… the less you handle controversy, remember that!” Bradberry wanted to prevent our world to become like that in the book but he did not succeed in doing so. On the other hand individuals are different from today's society and in the society of fahrenheit 451. They are restricted from education and learning. For example captain beatty was explaining to montag about the education in their society, “school is shortened, more relaxed philosophies, histories, languages dropped. Life is immediate and your job counts, pleasures lie after work why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”

It shows how people in fahrenheit 451 are being put to learn at a kindergarten level to make everyone happy for themselves. In our society we are always being challenged to be the smarter ones and are expected to have some sort of high intelligence. Another example of this is “Give the people contest they win by remembering the world to more popular songs of the names of state capitals or how much corn lowa grew last year. Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damaged full of facts they feel stuffed, but absolutely brilliant with information. Then they’ll feel like they are thinking, they will get a sense of motion without moving.” The rights of individuals were taken away completely which in some ways are similar to our society. 

Another similarity between the book and our society is the dissatisfaction with life. The more our society thrives on violent entertainment and focuses on all the negative things happening in the world, the more violent and uncaring our society becomes. If there is a video of something bad happening then it gets all these views. It seems like people nowadays only want to know and see the negative things happening. Our news is filled with this and it's what sells. You don’t see any of the good things people do. In the book Montag's wife tries to commit suicide and a women he confronts with her books would rather be burned alive than be without them. The violence is also so common that people also enjoy watching it too. There isn’t any sensitivity to the violence which is how our society is becoming.

Our technology is very similar to fahrenheit 451 and our entertainment that we all depend so much on to keep us entertained. People are becoming desensitized by all the violence and the violence is increasing. Our reliability on this technology is also changing how we react to each other and is causing isolation and dissatisfaction. Bradbury’s predictions were right even though he wasn’t necessarily trying to predict what was going to happen to our society now more like trying to stop it from happening. Which is more or less exactly what happened. I personally believe as time goes on it is only going to get worse and worse like with Farhinet 451.

 

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