Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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Literary Criticism of Fahrenheit 451 Don’t worry, be happy, or at least that’s what everyone in Ray Bradbury’s book Fahrenheit 451 thought. No matter what was going on around them, war, crime, or death, they were always happy… Or were they? Ray Bradbury wrote books about censorship in society forming around being censored totally or partially from books and television. In Fahrenheit 451 the main character, Montag, is a fireman whose job it is to burn books to keep the public from reading then and coming up with their own thoughts and ideas and not the ideas that the government puts in their heads. Wile he is burning books one day he opens one to read it and becomes obsessed with reading books. He turns on his fire chief and burns him, and goes to live with people who also read books and memorize them so that they can be reprinted then society is ready for them again. Three people that show that they are happy on the outside but are not truly happy are Montag, Mildred and Mrs. Phelps. In the story, Montag, who is a fireman for the city thinks he is happy until he meets a neighbor girl named Clarisse. Clarisse is considered an oddball in the society of Fahrenheit 451 because she is “antisocial” in their world which actually means that she is social by today’s standards. She talks to people about things instead of the people of 451 who talk about meaningless things that have no substance. Peter Sesario says that’s she is considered to be this way because, “She was a sensitive, observant person who questioned society and was consequently eliminated by the government (3).”One day as Montag and Clarisse are walking down the street Clarisse says to Montag, “Are you Happy?”(10). Montag is speechless and before he could come up with and answer Clarisse is gone. As he enters his house he talks to himself, “Of course I’m happy. What does she think? I’m not?”(10) When he is saying this he looks up to the ceiling where he has Hidden books which are things that actually make him happy instead of the things around him which he thinks makes him happy. She also notices that when Montag laughs it is a fake laugh and that he doesn’t really mean it when he laughs. Also when he smiles it is not a real smile which further goes to show that he isn’t happy. Another character that seems like she is happy but really is n... ... middle of paper ... ...racter other than Montag who sees for herself that she is not actually happy. Three of the main characters in this story who you may think are happy in the beginning of the book but you figure out how unhappy they really are by reading into the book are Montag, Mildred, and Mrs. Phelps. Montag is one of the few people in the book who actually realizes that he is not happy towards the end of the novel. Mildred never realizes what happiness really is and ends up leaving Montag because of her inability to grasp what happiness is really about. Mrs. Phelps, who finally realizes that she is not happy, gets mad at Montag when he shows her that she is not happy and does not appreciate the good that he has done in her life by showing her that she is a very heartless person. Even though the people in Fahrenheit 451 live by the saying, don’t worry be happy, no one in the 451 world is actually happy at all. Works Cited Eller, E. Edward. “Fahrenheit 451.” 1998. Exploring Novels. Ed. Ray Bradbury. Detroit: Gale, 2004. 3-4 Sisario, Peter. “Fahrenheit 451.” 1970. English Journal. Ray Bradbury. Literature Resource Center, 2004. 4 Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953

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