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Transcript of Fahrenheit 451
In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury emphasizes the dangers of a society based on happiness and a lifestyle that is fast and easy. Books and intellectual thought are seen as a danger, and people are more connected to television characters than their own family.
Mildred represents our society. She is self involved and completely absorbed by technology, with no regard for the world around her.
“How do you get so empty? he wondered. Who takes it out of you? ...Well, wasn’t there a wall between him and Mildred, when you came down to it? Literally not just one wall but, so far, three! And expensive, too! And the uncles, the aunts, the cousins, the nieces, the nephews, that lived in those walls, the gibbering pack of tree apes that said nothing, nothing, nothing and said it loud, loud, loud.” (pg. 44)
When Montag meets Clarisse, he realizes how empty his life is.
“How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible;
for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you? People were more often- he searched for a simile, found one in his work- torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” (pg. 11).
Montag believes these things missing from his world will be found in books. He comes to understand, with Faber’s help, that it is not the books themselves that provide what he is searching for, but the content of the books.
“‘It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the ‘parlor families’ today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radio and televisors, but are not. No, no, it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature, and look for it in yourself… The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.’” (pg. 82-83)
“‘This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life in the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch of paper… The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her leaves her for the flies.’”
Knowledge and Censorship
Like in most of the books we have read, people in Fahrenheit 451 are controlled by ignorance.
Bradbury uses paradoxes throughout the novel to make his point.