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In Fahrenheit 451, how does the concept of audience participation work against Montag?

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marawrtza | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 9, 2012 at 11:33 AM via web

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In Fahrenheit 451, how does the concept of audience participation work against Montag?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 9, 2012 at 2:37 PM (Answer #1)

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I actually have to disagree with this question. This is because I think audience participation works in Montag's favour rather than against him. Let me explain my reasoning. Montag's objective is clearly to escape and to reach safety. He manages to do this by throwing the Hound off his scent, but clearly is still worried that he might be found. However, when he reaches the Readers, they switch on their portable viewer which shows the chase still in full flow. Granger explains to Montag that they are having to fake this chase because the authorities are unable to admit that Montag has escaped and must give them the capture that they want to see on their screens. Note how Granger explains this to Montag:

They're faking it. You threw them off at the river. They can't admit it. They know they can hold their audience only so long. The show's got to have a snap ending, quick! If they started searching the whole damn river it might take all night. So they're sniffing for a scapegoat to end things with a bang.

Ironically, the kind of culture that Montag abhors so violently where people seem chained to their television screens actually ensures his survival. Having thrown off the Hound, Montag has forced the authorities to fake his own death therefore giving him extra time to get away. Therefore audience participation and the way in which the authorities are forced to think about their desires helps Montag, rather than hinders him.

 

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