According to Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, what is school like and how do teens amuse themselves? 

According to Clarisse in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, what is school like and how do teens amuse themselves?

Asked on by bnicole

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Clarisse really hates school.  She wants to be able to talk to people and think about things.  But at their school, they don't really learn.  They play a lot of sports and they have a film tell them a bunch of stuff.  But they aren't asked to think at all.

Because they are so tired from school, teens go out afterwards and all they want to do is be violent.  They like to go and break windows, wreck cars, and bully people.

Because of this, Clarisse does not like school and the adults at school think she is anti-social.

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tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Clarisse explains her typical school day to Montag, which doesn't involve any academics at all. First, she has an hour of a class about TV. She then has an hour-long sports class, after which she has a painting class, a transcription history class, or another sports class. Clarisse finishes her school day with four hours of film class. Clarisse's biggest complaint is that she's not allowed to ask questions and no one really interacts with each other. This is ironic because the authorities call her anti-social for actually wanting to talk to people and learn new information.

After school, Clarisse says that kids are so exhausted that they either go home to bed or go to Fun Parks. While at the parks, many kids are bullied, vandalize cars and windows, or race cars in the streets. Teens are very reckless with their cars, too; they play "chicken" and "knock hubcaps" (30). Clarisse is also afraid of kids her own age because six of her friends have been shot within the last year, and ten died in car wrecks. Clearly, teenagers are not monitored or held accountable for their actions. Society must think these teens' behavior is normal and allow them to continue killing each other as Clarisse describes.

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Michael Ugulini | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

According to Clarisse McClellan, school is not conducive to proper social behavior where people truly interact and really get to know one another through fruitful talking. She is painted as being antisocial but she believes she is really quite social. However, she also believes that throwing a group of students together in a classroom and not letting them interact properly is a more proper definition of "antisocial."

To Clarisse, school amounts to the teachers feeding answers to the students like pablum to a baby. She feels that students are being force-fed ideas and doctrines that those in authority want them to believe and adhere to. She sees that no one really asks questions to dig deeper into topics and to form their own opinions.
To her, school is a monotonous repetition of transcription history classes, art (painting) classes, and sports, as well as TV and film time, but again, all just being fed to them in a systematic fashion, which does not encourage debate.
She believes that the schools tell children what to think and preach to them what reality is - even if it isn't that. The students are expected to listen, believe, and obey completely what they are being told and to not rock the boat with dangerous individual thought. Those in authority positions do not want individual thoughts that lead to actions that could threaten the status quo.
Teens amuse themselves, out of sheer boredom and inactive minds, by going to the "Window Smasher" place or the "Car Wrecker" place. This is where they blow off steam. They let out their anger and feelings of uselessness. They are not challenged in school to really be creative and think for themselves.
Deep inside these teens have an emptiness and they let out their frustrations with this by destroying things. It is actually a cry for help and a cry to let them be free individuals with a purpose in life.
However, the State is not interested in this for the students. They want conformity from them. Therefore, in this novel, Ray Bradbury is showing that the next generation that will take over in this society is already full of aggression and unfulfilled desires, which does not bode well for the future.
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