Apathy In Fahrenheit 451

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Through the years, authors have recorded a number of thoughts and ideas between the covers of books, preserving the information for centuries to come. In today’s society, these books are revered for the plethora of invaluable information recorded within their pages. However, in Ray Bradbury’s depiction of the society of tomorrow in his novel Fahrenheit 451, books are reviled and seared in the flames of hatred, fear, and conformity. This unraveling dystopian civilization revolves primarily around a sense of superficial happiness and ignorance, so the knowledge contained in books is abhorred for the stimulating thought it inspires. With the absence of deep thinking provoked by literature, characters remain passive and tend to ignore pressing…show more content…
As the majority of characters in the novel live in a constant state of passivity, Mildred, Montag’s wife, serves as a representative of this thoughtless society. Throughout the novel, Mildred remains engrossed in the meaningless plots of her beloved television programs. All too often, Montag finds Mildred enraptured by the overwhelming displays of sound and color on the screen, hopelessly entangled in the mind-numbing webs of these senseless programs until she has no recollection of their meaning. As Mildred becomes absorbed in her television programs, she tends to lose her connection to reality, remaining passive and unconcerned when there are more pressing issues at stake. Despite an impending nuclear war, which is constantly foreshadowed by the passing of the black bomber jets, Mildred responds to the war indifferently, considering the potential deaths to be of little significance. Like many others in her society, Mildred tends to regard life and death with little importance and prefers to settle for the shallow pleasure provided by entertainment. Thus, Mildred and the stoic society she represents reveal the central theme of apathy and passivity. However, the dystopian society the story revolves around is partially to blame for the general thoughtlessness of society, and the setting contributes greatly to Bradbury’s development of the…show more content…
First and foremost, this civilization functions mainly on the basis of conformity and government censorship. In this dystopian society, individual expression is met with great disapproval as it inspires deeper thinking, disrupting the delicate balance of impassiveness surrounding the society. In order to maintain control over the thoughts and minds of citizens, the government ensures that people remain ignorant of political and public issues by brainwashing them with unstimulating television programs. Specifically, from the government’s viewpoint, “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him… [G]ive him none” (58). By restricting and controlling thought, the dystopian government forces society to descend into a state of passivity. This lack of conscious thought dehumanizes people, obliterating their emotions and ability to make judgments. Thus, the dystopian setting of Fahrenheit 451 is instrumental in conveying the overall theme of apathy. Moreover, the dystopian setting of the novel focuses on conformity, which also contributes to the novel’s major theme. In an attempt to promote complete conformity and equality, all citizens are expected to maintain a set of low mental standards. Possessing the qualities of a high intellect and creative expression are greatly frowned upon as knowledge grants one person

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