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Can you see in "Fahrenheit 451" any aspects of materialism?     Do you think it's...

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doger1 | Student | (Level 2) Honors

Posted June 2, 2009 at 6:02 PM via web

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Can you see in "Fahrenheit 451" any aspects of materialism?

 

 

Do you think it's also up to date today?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 3, 2009 at 12:12 AM (Answer #1)

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The people in Montag's society have a world that revolves around key material possessions:  their t.v. walls and their fast cars.  The t.v. walls are extremely expensive; so expensive, in fact, that one wall alone costs "one-third of [Montag's] yearly pay."  So 4 months of salary would be sucked down the tubes through one t.v. wall.  It would take their entire life's earnings to keep up with the entertainment expectations that Mildred has.  Also, Clarisse alludes to the fact that all of her friends have cars that they like to drive around really fast, causing havoc and violence; in fact, "ten of them died in car wrecks" from their driving.  Mildred, when she is upset, likes to take their car out and "get it up around ninety-five and you feel wonderful."  So, their society's entire happiness is centered around these material possessions; it is a way for them to escape, to not have to think, and to drown their miseries.  Later, Montag is talking about all of the wars that they have gotten into and wonders why, saying,

"Is it because we're so rich and the rest of the world's so poor...we're well fed."

So at least in his society, they are rich, well fed, and living a life filled with ease and comfort.

Today, there are many similarities.  Many people think that they can find happiness in money; many parents buy their kids things in order to show their love and provide a "better life" for their kids.  In fact, it has been materialism, and the desire for bigger and better things that has, in part, contributed to the economic recession that we are now in.  Too many people wanted a house, and wanted to have nice things, even if they couldn't afford it.  That has caused a lot of economic turmoil, and led only to more unhappiness, just as the people in Montag's society were surrounded by comforts, but miserable.

I hope that those thoughts help; good luck!

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