Happiness Explored in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

1170 Words5 Pages
The philosopher Aristotle once wrote, “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” This famous quote compels people to question the significance of their joy, and whether it truly represents purposeful lives they want to live. Ray Bradbury, a contemporary author, also tackles this question in his book, Fahrenheit 451, which deals heavily with society's view of happiness in the future. Through several main characters, Bradbury portrays the two branches of happiness: one as a lifeless path, heading nowhere, seeking no worry, while the other embraces pure human experience intertwined together to reveal truth and knowledge. Of all characters, Bradbury uses Mildred Montag to effectively portray the idea that the majority of society has taken happiness as a refuge in nothing but passive, addictive entertainment. She immediately reveals her character early in the book, by saying, “My family is people. They tell me things: I laugh. They laugh! And the colors!” (73). Mildred is describing her parlors, or gigantic wall televisions, in this quote. Visual technological entertainment is so important in her life that she refers them to as “family,” implying the television characters as her loved ones. By immersing herself in an imaginary world, Mildred finds herself able to relate to fake characters and plots, giving her a phony sense of security. This is necessary for her to achieve her shallow happiness, or senseless plain fun, as she lifelessly watches other people in her walls with a senseless mind. Her family in real life only consists of Guy Montag, her husband, whom she has no fond feelings about. Montag is so frustrated with Mildred because of her inability to express feelings for ... ... middle of paper ... ...ellect, free-thinking, and curiosity in the dystopia of Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury carefully implements these four important characters to bring a new outlook of life to the reader. Both the branches of Mildred and Faber might lead to joy, but the effects operate in polar contradiction. Though parlor entertainment and books can both allow a reader to place themselves in an imaginary world, the message in books can ultimately improve life, while parlor walls can destroy it upon fiction that consumes the mind. Bradbury essentially questions the foundation of life by defining what happiness should be based on. He is asking reader whether our lives are contracted on fantasy and materialistic desires like that of Mildred, or whether they convey the intellectual power of freedom, knowledge, and wisdom gained from experience that we are afforded as human beings.

More about Happiness Explored in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

Open Document