When comparing the masterpieces of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 the astute reader is immediately able to see a minimum of two recurring themes in both of them. “Orwell had produced an imaginative treatise of totalitarianism, cutting across all ideologies, warning of the threat to humanity should any government, of whatever political complexion, assume absolute power” (Nineteen Eighty-Four 12). Meanwhile Bradbury described the horrors of a society that became a totalitarian regime through the Firemen who attempted to control the ability of thought. Both of these structures depended on limiting the thought of the citizens either through Newspeak in which the undesirable thoughts could not be expressed or by destroying access to all previous insight forcing people to rely only on their own insights while at the same time discouraging them from having any. Captain Beatty tells Montag of society’s ideal, “We must all be alike. Not everyone is born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal” (Bradbury 58). Bradbury guarded against the burning of the collective knowledge of man by pointing out the reasoning through Beatty, “With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar.... Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?” (58).
Orwell’s main concern with the destruction of literature was the resulting loss of an external reality in which people could communicate and preser...
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...s of citizens. The only entity which citizens beheld with fear was the group of Firemen. Still without allowing trials, they would burn books and jail the owners. On the whole however, anarchy was generally encouraged so long as it kept the survivors happy. Both worlds are set in a future which has not, and hopefully will not, come to be despite the passing of the dates given by the authors. This futuristic setting, even with its minor use of “space-age” technology is science fiction.
“Background.” Ms. Taylor’s Handouts. : 3-11.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953.
“Language and Thought Control.” Ms. Taylor’s Handouts. Logan, IA: Perfection Learning Corperation, 1994: 22-26.
“Nineteen Eighty-Four.” Twayne’s Masterwork Studies: 1984. :6-23.
Orwell, George. 1984. New York, NY: Signet Classics, 1949.
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