Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

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In the 1950 novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury presents the now familiar images of mind controlled worlds. People now live in a world where they are blinded from the truth of the present and the past. The novel is set in the, perhaps near, future where the world is in war, and firemen set fires instead of putting them out. Books and written knowledge is banned from the people, and it is the firemen’s job to burn books. Firemen are now the policemen of this time. Some people have rebelled by hiding books, but have not been very successful. Most people have conformed to this world. Guy Montag, a fireman, is a part of the majority who have conformed. Throughout the novel Montag goes through a transformation, where he changes from a Conformist to a Revolutionary. Guy Montag has never questioned his job before the day he met Clarisse McClellan. This is the first time where Montag is confronted with the idea that, he doesn’t understand the whole truth about books. Montag meets Clarisse as he is one day walking home from work, and they strike up a conversation. During their conversation Montag is questioned why books are illegal and why firemen burn the books. She also asks him if he had ever read any of the books that he burned. His reply was that it is against the law. Clarisse even asks, "… long ago [did] firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?"(Fahrenheit 451, page 38) Montag replies by telling her that that is nonsense, and that "Houses have always been fireproof,…"(Fahrenheit 451, page 38) Here you can see how brainwashed and blinded the truth is for the people. Clarisse says good night to Montag, and right before she leaves she asks him, "Are you happy?"(Fahrenheit 451, page39) Before Montag can reply Clarisse is gone, and she leaves Montag pondering her question. As he tells himself that her question was nonsense, he starts to realize that he is not happy with his life. Someone else who changed Montag’s thinking, changed it by their actions not by tell him anything. One day the firemen got a call with an address of someone who was hiding books. The firemen, doing their job like always, went to the house to find the books and burn them. When they got there they had found the books, but when they went to burn them the person who owned the books would not leave them.

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The firemen ordered her to leave, but she wouldn&#8217;t. She stood with her books and burned with them. This baffled Montag. He could not understand why this person would die for her books. This made Montag more curious to find out what were in these "books." As Montag started to question the idea of books being corrupt, he had people trying to stop these ideas. One person who tried to brainwash Montag was his Captain, Beatty. Beatty&#8217;s reasoning for banishing books was that they made too many problems. Beatty was not the only one that tried to stop Montag from thinking books might have some good in them. Having the firemen burn books was not the only way used to stop people from reading books. Montag was brainwashed, by a form of television, to keep him away from books. This form of television was called "the family." It wasn&#8217;t only Montag who was being brainwashed from the family. Every home had a family installed in it, and all showed the same exact programs. A good example of a person brainwashed from the family was Montag&#8217;s wife, Mildred. Mildred was completely obsessed with the family. She would watch it all day long. She even wanted to install a third wall in their "parlor," the room where the family is located. Montag did not only have people trying to stop him from opening his mind, he also had people helping him find the truth. One of these people was an elderly man by the name Fabian. Montag arrived at finding Fabian after reading a book that he had sneaked out of a house that was raided by the firemen. He had many questions and he wanted to find some answers. The only person that he knew that understood the truth about books was an elderly man he had once met in a park, Fabian. When Montag first met Fabian, Fabian did not want anything to do with him. Fabian was too much of a coward. Eventually Montag is able to change Fabian&#8217;s mind, and Fabian decides to help Montag. Still Fabian is scared because he stays in his house and talks to Montag through an ear-piece. Fabian will help Montag by telling him what to say. While Montag executes his plan of sabotaging the firemen by planting books in their houses&#8217;. Montag left Fabian&#8217;s house and went home to find his wife with a few of her friends there. Montag decided to now stand up for what he believed in and started reading a poem aloud to the women. This caused a big problem. Montag caused one of the women to leave in tears. After this Mildred decides that she has had enough, and turns Montag in. She could handle him secretly having books. When the firemen come to his house, Beatty orders Montag to burn his books. Montag rebels and ends up killing Beatty. After that there was a big man hunt for Montag, and he had to escape. Montag escapes from his home and finds himself following an old railroad, where he stumbles upon a group of men. The group is led by a man named Granger. Right away these men take in Montag because they have the same beliefs as him. That books are important. When Montag meets Granger, Granger shows him a small television set. Shown on the television set is the firemen chasing Montag. They show a man from far away and tell the people that it is Montag. The firemen kill the man, but never show a close-up on his face. The firemen did this to keep the people brainwashed, by making them believe that they have everything under control. The men Montag meets make up an underground group who have tried to keep books alive. Everyone has memorized a different book and then destroyed the book. This way the firemen will never be able to find the books because they are stored in these people&#8217;s heads. Montag has one book that he had saved before he escaped. He joins these men by deciding to memorize and then destroy this book. In the end Montag and the men watch the city be destroyed. "the war began and ended in that instant."(Fahrenheit 451, page 183)
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