Homework Help

In Fahrenheit 451, how does society lack concern? Not just the fact that society...

user profile pic

msabina | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:09 AM via web

dislike 1 like

In Fahrenheit 451, how does society lack concern? Not just the fact that society doesn't care about education. I need a quote and example explaining this lack of concern.

Tagged with fahrenheit 451, literature

1 Answer | Add Yours

user profile pic

amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 20, 2013 at 3:15 PM (Answer #1)

dislike 0 like

The overall effects of the oppressive and pacifying society in Fahrenheit 451 lead to an uneducated public but also one that doesn't care. In other words, the lack of concern in that society leads to people having no concern. With the exceptions of people like Clarisse, Faber, and eventually Montag, the other characters are only primarily concerned with their jobs and parlour shows. They walk through the rest of their lives like robots. Take Millie, for example. She lives for the parlour shows. Her relationship with Montag, if you can call it that, is completely empty; and this is a product/effect of living in a society in which reading, creative thinking, and personal interaction are rare. When Montag asks Millie where they met, she can't remember, although it had only been ten years ago. It troubles Montag but Millie doesn't seem to care. Montag then realizes that because their relationship had become so empty, he doesn't care much for her: 

And he remembered thinking then that if she died, he was certain he wouldnt't cry. For it would be the dying of an unknown, a street face, a newspaper image, and it was suddenly so very wrong that he had begun to cry, not at death but at the thought of not crying at death, a silly empty man near a silly empty woman, while the hungry snake made her still more empty. 

This is part of Montag's awakening. He becomes more human when he starts to cry; he cries at the thought that he might not cry at his wife's death. He realizes that he, she, and others have been living a heartless life. 

Still along the lines of the lack of concern leading to a general lack of concern in individuals and the public, consider the firemen themselves, burning things happily. Note the scene when the woman chooses to stay with her burning books. Beatty nonchalantly remarks to let her alone and that suicide is nothing new and therefore no big deal. 

Beatty raised his hand in which was concealed the igniter. "We're due back at the house. Besides, these fanatics always try suicide; the pattern's familiar." 

Beatty and the others are struck when the woman kills herself, but to say something like the pattern of suicide is familiar and to accept it is an illustration of how uncaring this society has become. 

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes