The main purpose of the paper is to study and analyze the book “Fahrenheit 451” written by Ray Bradbury and to underline the social aspect and the influence of the society on life of the individual and the general world development. The thoughts and ideas expressed within the book represent the perfect base for the analysis of the modern American society as many features of life described within the book can be found in the everyday life of the contemporary world. In “Fahrenheit 451” society controls people with the help of mass media, censorship and overpopulation, which are the powerful factors that play the key role in different aspects of people’s life. The complex character of the control organized over the individual within the book is the perfect example of the system that can be found in our real life. That is why it is extremely important to research the issues and be able to analyze how society keeps people from knowing particular facts and how it can monitor and filter all the information that people receive in their everyday life.
The control over the information is the power to form the worldviews of people, and that is the key to the world. In the book written by Ray Bradbury “society” controls people, and creates the social laws and traditions that make people easy to be ruled and targeted to the concrete aim. Within the controlled world of the author, the individual is not accepted and the intellectual is the synonym of the outlaw. Through these concepts, society makes people distanced from the information and knowledge as a whole. The system makes people uniformed and therefore easy to be controlled. The war against knowledge organized by the society can be perfectly seen in such changes and the professional competence of the firemen that are burning the books instead of saving people’s lives fighting against the destructive power of fire. Books are therefore are considered to be the main evil, and the reason of such attitude is obvious – books stimulate thinking process, as well as they make people question about everything in their life and, first of all, about their current circumstances. The lack of knowledge is enlarged with the absence of any historic information or appreciation of the past events. People with no past have no future and that is the effective way to control them, their attitudes to the variety of issues, their word views, values, life targets and wishes.
The author demonstrates the dystopian world, where the society wants to see people staying at home and watching their televisions, and this is also stimulated by the absence of porches. That is the additional demonstration of the fact that the society does not want to see the individual in the street, walking around, thinking, getting the information about the neighborhood, the people that live there and the general knowledge about the world around the one. The social pressure is enlarged with the specific restrictions for the people that ate walking outside. The Montag gets to know about the case with the uncle of Clarisse that has been arrested for being a pedestrian. This punishment for getting out of the house aimed to make other people follow the general rules and keep them from doing the same.
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Although these issues are extremely strict and that is why they pretend to be unreal and impossible to be present within the contemporary society, the deeper analysis shows that there are similarities in our real life. People nowadays are also kept form getting out of their houses. This is not stimulated by the implementation of the new restrictions or policies, but the same effect is produced by the mass media and its frightening observation of the enlargement of the number of cases of crimes committed in the streets, the horrific documentaries and fiction films. The image of the high danger of getting out of people’s homes is producing the same effect as the implementation of the severe punishments. People are afraid to get out of their houses as they do not want to get in the same situation as the victims of crimes in the public places. Moreover, the televisions are nowadays getting bigger, as the ones in the dystopia. In addition, the key effect is produced by the Internet and the social networks that give people ability to get the feeling of communication though their PCs, smartphones and netbooks. The enlargement of the opportunities people have with the help of the Internet make them stay at home for the unbelievable amount of time, as people can buy food, pay bills and work without getting out of their homes.
The development of social networks, computer games and film industry destroys the tradition of reading even faster than the firemen in the book with the help of fire. People do not read books because they can get the exciting and impressive entertainment by watching the new blockbuster in the cinema or just at home. Such films are always extremely bright and produce the remarkable effect, although they have a little sense and the plot is not that interesting. In addition, the computer game industry is also rapidly developing, and the new special effects together with beautiful graphics, ingesting tasks and exciting adventures take all the attention of people and make them want to play more and more. People get so involved in the game they do not want anything else except of getting to the new level. That is also the serious harm to reading, and the whole thinking process that is not stimulated by the society.
The development of new entertainments, together with the influence of the mass media, produces the same effect as the strict measures and social policies within the book of Ray Bradbury. People are distanced from knowing different facts and issues, and the lack of information make them more controlled and dependent.