Fahrenheit 451 is recently Bradbury’s most renowned work of social criticism. It is greatly concerned with serious problems of the control of the masses by the media, the banning of books, and the suppression of the mind. The leading character, Montag, lives in a society where the earlier periods have been ruined by fire and government brainwashing techniques. In a short-time frame, Montag is changed from an intolerant and narrow-minded conformist into a full of life person dedicated to social transformation and to a life of saving books rather than destroying them.
One thing that Bradbury criticizes is our society’s use of technology. Bradbury is a conventional believer that technology is gradually becoming a detriment to the society. Further, he strongly believes that technology is something that human beings can live without. But when they depend so much on it, then technology will consume their lives. The water imagery of the first part of the book somehow entails regeneration and is likely connected to the disingenuousness of the people’s lives in the futuristic dystopia of Fahrenheit 451. Every night prior to resigning herself in bed, Mildred inserts small, Seashell Radios into her ears, and the music whips her away from the monotony of her day after day reality. As Montag lies in bed, the room appears empty because the effect of sound,” came in and bore her off on their greatest tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward the morning” (Bradbury 40-46) Nevertheless, Mildred is not away that the music she listens to is robbing her of the wisdom and meaning of life. Here, Montag shows to us deliberately that Mildred has deserted truth through her use of these small technological gadgets that infuse gentleness.
The other thing that Bradbury focuses his scathing attack is on the way the education system is structured. In part one there is a scenario where Montag asks Clarisse “You think too many things?” (Bradbury 60) She explains to him that she is perceived as an antisocial person by her peers. And through their conversation Clarisse reveals that she does not like how teachers blubber out knowledge and expect student to just digest it. Bradbury’s fictitious society is generously similar to ours where students are expected to holistically listen to their teachers and assume that whatever they are teaching is flawlessly true.
Lastly, Bradbury is determined to criticize the materialistic society that has neglected social contact with each other. To him, he holds a strong belief that the social order was slowly turning into a materialistic society that overlooked social interaction. The media has not escaped Bradbury’s scathing attack as well. In Fahrenheit, he has labeled the media as responsible for promoting a mass patchiness. Also, Bradbury is keen on criticizing the existing censorship in his futuristic media and society. Guy Montag has the duty of destroying not only the books he finds, but also the homes he finds them. “It was a pleasure to burn” (Bradbury 12-13) This is something that gave them pleasure. It was the state that gave them the authority that all books must be burned. For that reason, Montag alongside other firemen set the books ablaze to show conformity. Even so, censorship still exists in today’s society no less.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. Print.