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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by George Orwell

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Before World War I, the literary term known as the Utopia emerged. Many people believed that society would be happier if the individual made sacrifices for the “common good”. However, the war changed all of that. Society began to fear governments in which everyone was the same and was ruled by a dictator. Thus, the genre of the dystopian novel emerged. “Dystopian novels show that any attempt at establishing utopia will only make matters much worse.” (Dietz, 1996) Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and 1984 by George Orwell are considered classic examples of this genre by such critics as Frank Dietz, Beaird Glover, and Donald Watt. These distinct novels both warn against utopia through the portrayal of the protagonist begins as part of a society in which the individual is non-existent, come into contact with influences that cause their rebellions, and eventually come into contact with some upper hand of the government.

Bradbury’s dystopia is an unnamed futuristic city sometime in the 24th century. Although many things in today’s world, like houses, cars, and plants, are in this world, there are also many scientific creations. These include fireproof houses, wallscreens, and the Mechanical Hound. Television is totally interactive. As Bradbury describes, a person can spend an entire day perched in front of the screen and not become bored:

“In the other walls an x-ray of the same woman revealed the contracting journey of the refreshing beverage on its way to her delighted stomach! Abruptly the room took off on a rocket flight into the clouds. … A minute later, Three White Cartoon Clowns chopped off each other’s limbs. … Two more minutes and the room whipped out of town to the jet cars wildly circling an arena …”

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