Can you see some similarities between "Fahrenheit 451" and the Soviet Union?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Examine the historical context of "Fahrenheit 451", particularly the section on "Political Repression and Conformity".  When Bradbury wrote this book, the Cold War was in full swing and the fear of Communism ran deep in many people.  The book reflects the evils of political repression and conformity by showing how easily it could happen to an uninformed populace - a population of people who don't read. There was no country that exemplified these tenets of Communism more than the former Soviet Union.  The book shows how most people in the society of the story, watched the same TV shows at the same time, how most people participated in the same activities, and how most people believed the same things.  In other words, it shows a mindless society of people conforming and therefore by their conformity, being politically repressed.  Just like many citizens of the Soviet Union were politically repressed because the government did not allow free enterprise and the government controlled nearly all aspects of people's lives including the information given to them.  A prime example of the government giving people wrong information in order to make themselves look good was when Montag first arrives among the book people and he sees, on their TV, that the government claims to have caught and killed Montag when in reality, they just caught someone who bore a resemblance to Montag.  The people were relieved because they believed that a criminal (as they were told that is what Montag was, a criminal and a murderer gone mad) had been done away with and the government came out looking strong and efficient. It didn't matter that an innocent person lost his life.  In the Soviet Union, there was one news source, "Pravda" and it told people what it wanted them to hear.  The term "iron curtain" was coined to explain the lack of accurate news that was allowed into the Soviet Union.

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