A Warning to Society

A Warning to Society

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A Warning to Society

Fahrenheit 451 Essay--A warning to society

Social Satire: “trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly”, as defined by Merriam-Webster Online. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury uses social satire in a most direct way to expose censorship today. When Bradbury wrote this book, censorship was just creeping into the lives of humans, and today censorship has built a protective bubble around everything we do. Fahrenheit 451’s satire of censorship is aimed at American media and mind, American society, and our entertainment.

The medium in Bradbury’s book is the epitome of a controlling media. Due to books being burned and forgotten, the government is capable of changing the outcome of history by rewriting it; therefore, history can be whatever the media want it to be. America’s government is autonomous in that they are afforded the same liberties as the free media. If the media get their hands on a certain story, they can change or omit important details that affect the story. The media of our time can censor what they want, and moreover, control the minds of American citizens. In Bradbury’s world, the media is so powerful that they burned books to oppress any uncontrolled thoughts or subliminal messages. As a result, people are then forced to stop reading. Books are condensed into smaller and smaller pieces, removing all “unimportant” information in today’s world, and the general public doesn’t care. Many pieces of literature in our world are now abridged; people can not get the full meaning of these books by reading a much shorter version. In Bradbury’s book, both the media and government were guilty of censoring books to the point of nonexistence; the written word had no substantial meaning. School is described by Clarisse as a place where one can’t think. With our society’s increasing stupidity, how long will it be before our books become burned?

Much of American society today is focused on what we censor, and we are so worried about the small things in life that we don’t focus on the big things. In the land of Fahrenheit 451 the people of the society focus on the burning of books, and they don’t seem to care that the overall quality of life is declining in their society. Parallels can be drawn with our world today. For example, the government has groups specifically focusing on the censorship of media.

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As a result of this censorship, society will continue to be on a downward spiral towards complete ignorance. In Bradbury’s society, suicides are commonplace. Today, about every 15 people out of 100,000 people commit suicide. Is this number large enough to have suicide be considered normal? In our current society and the society of Fahrenheit 451, something must be done in order to focus on why the quality of life is declining rather than filtering out something that may be harmful.

Entertainment is becoming more and more mind-numbing day after day. One example is the parlor walls that Guy Montag’s wife, Mildred, constantly watches. All she does is watch big screen TV’s so much so that she is brainwashed by the messages she sees. This is similar to today’s world as TV screens are getting bigger and bigger, and covering entire walls might not be too far off in the future. Many movies today are not made with meaningful content, but rather focus on a visual and mental assault of loud, colorful, meaningless images with idiotic plots aimed at the sole purpose of making money. Also, TV is turning into somewhat of a tedious norm. Now, all TV shows seem to rely on gunshots and shock value, rather than rely on a plot, such as reality TV shows. Bradbury is simply recognizing the fact that our entertainment is becoming increasingly more monotonous and will continue on a path towards oblivion.

In the novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury criticizes many aspects of society, but the main focus is on our oppressing media and our persistently dulling minds, our culture, and our stupefied entertainment. While many of the problems are being addressed with the introduction of more children’s learning intensive shows, such as the Wiggles, we still have a way to go before our society becomes less jaded and influenced by what it sees, or doesn’t see. If we continue this upward spiral, many of our big TV’s will slowly dwindle away, and we will be on a path to becoming a better society.
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