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In spite of its primary categorization, the novel Fahrenheit 451 adopts a social critic approach portraying the adversity of censorship. The author, Ray Bradbury utilizes the genre of science fiction as a liaison platform to depict the adverse ramifications that emanated from oppressive government frameworks. Published after the world war II, Fahrenheit 451 denounces not just the counter intellectualism of the Nazi regime in Germany, but also the general oppressive political framework in the 1950s. Most remarkably, the author can use an intense fictional social criticism. Such constructs in the novel coupled up with similar literary works in the same era, uncover the threat of the US is advancing into an abusive, tyrant society in the post-World War period. Furthermore, the novel is the author’s protest pathway to advocate for creativity and innovativeness. Today, we can draw an immense inference from Fahrenheit 451. There are numerous similarities between the society in which the novel describes and the present day social constructs. From the book, conflict, and social degradation stems from technology and desertion of books. Furthermore, technological advancement hinders the level of physical interaction. Today, technology and innovation are the order of the day. Consequently, the society is characterized by reduced interaction and a heightened knowledge gap. In light of this comprehension, this paper endeavors to explore the importance of knowledge in Fahrenheit 451.
Knowledge vs. ignorance is the most significance theme in Fahrenheit 451. In spite of the various definitions of the concept of knowledge, it is plausible that ignorance and knowledge are contradictory in every setting. Millie connects herself to the Seashell radio every night, portraying her ignorance. She also takes an overdose of pills and forgets the whole ordeal. What’s more, she watches TV in the living room and finds the programming interesting, despite the fact that she doesn't learn anything and is not accorded a room for creativity. Consequently, the government uses the lack of knowledge as a tool control the society, locking people in ignorance. Such arrogance emanates from a precise manipulation and monitoring. Ignorance dependably develops in the community as a result of the increment in administrative power and oversight. As a consequence of the common misinformation over the years, the people fall under a spell and develop ignorance hence the portrayal of the society as dystopian. Thus, the importance of information becomes imperative.
Knowledge can only be developed through a life free from oppressive control structures and the ability to make independent decisions. The author affirms that people can gain from their missteps and it is essential for them to be accorded opportunities to learn from their mistakes. The characters in the novel were deprived of the possibilities to make errors and a platform to learn and develop. Obliviousness is created through uneven encounters, and the characters in the book lacked diverse encounters to grasp information. Be that as it may, Montag acquired knowledge through Clarisse, who genuinely opened his heart, vision, and perception. Following his encounter with Clarisse, Montag was now in a position to develop an open-minded approach towards human behaviors and comprehension of the environment. Montag then set out determined to impart the newly acquired knowledge to others and was eventually successful in joining a gathering of normal intelligent people. Knowledge was, therefore, significant in differentiation with ignorance.
Bradbury wrote, “…our path is simpler; we think better. All we want to do is keep the knowledge we believe that we will require” (Bradbury 152). This quote mirrors the society’s intention to maintain knowledge in an endeavor to keep even the little that they possess. Thus, it becomes apparent that knowledge is an imperative component. However, it also depicts that this knowledge can only be extracted from the society and on the off chance that their purpose and direction is ruined, only an ignorant society will be left behind. Additionally, the author writes; “Books aren't people. You read, and I look all around, but there isn't anybody...” (Bradbury 73). This excerpt fails to recognize the significance of books the current world. Today, books are imperative and account for a significant aspect of our lives. In the novel, however, books were irrelevant hence their disbandment as the society could not comprehend the underlying benefits of books asking themselves why I should read?
In conclusion, Bradbury depicted the society to be anti-intellectual. Following the move to outlaw books, the author endeavored to predict the direction in which the society was headed with the replacement of the media by narrow substitutes such as TVs. Today his arguments can be reciprocated to the address the rise of social media and heightened internet use. These are the shallow alternatives that replace books hence dragging the society on an un-intellectual path. In the novel, Millie’s ignorance is depicted by her constant television watching from which she derives no knowledge. Today, social media and television shows have adverse distracting effects on the society. In light of the distractions found on social media platforms like buzz feed, these platforms would arguably support Bradbury’s arguments. Consequently, synonymous to the society portrayed in the novel, the current technological advancements and innovation deprive the society of basic knowledge.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. London: Harper Voyager , 2013. Print.
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