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In reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, how do I write an expository essay on...

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amir-nit | Salutatorian

Posted July 27, 2013 at 9:10 AM via web

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In reference to Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, how do I write an expository essay on the prompt:

“People are bewildered and confused by the technological changes that are going on around them – they have no control over the course of their lives any more."

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

Posted July 27, 2013 at 6:07 PM (Answer #1)

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The dystopian world that Bradbury creates in this story is one of incredible technology which has dominated almost every sphere of public and private life. Mildred is used by Bradbury as the perfect example of this, as she refers to the parlour walls as her "family," showing the way that technology has even replaced the bonds of human blood and affection. Note too the following quote that demonstrates the dangers of technology:

Thank God for that. You can shut them, say, ‘Hold on a moment.’ You play God to it. But who has ever torn himself from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlour? It grows you any shape it wishes! It is an environment as real as the world. It becomes and is the truth.

The media is described as being completely overwhelming, precisely because it is so unsubstantial and can shape itself into any form and becomes more true than the "truth" itself through its dominance. The way in which Mildred hopes to have four walls completely covered in the screens to make her family more realistic demonstrates the dominance of technology, and her inability to show any awareness of the extent to which she is held captive by technology is demonstrated by her suicide attempt, and the rising numbers of suicide in the city. Having no control over their lives anymore thanks to technology, there is very little left to live for, which is why the two men who sort out the suicide attempts are being kept so busy.

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