One of the primary purposes of science fiction writing is social criticism. Which character does Bradbury use in Fahrenheit 451 most effectively to emphasize one of the critisms of American society?
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Montag is the primary character that Bradbury uses as his main vehicle for criticism of the society he describes to the reader in this strange dystopian world of the future where printed matter is regarded as so dangerous and subversive it must be burnt. Note, for example, how Montag is the character who is used to expose the emptiness of the lives of his wife and her friends, who spend all day watching their simulated "family" on the huge screens that surround the walls of their living room. Montag at various points questions Mildred about whether this "family" really love her, and why they are more important to her than real people, which indicates the dangers of media becoming more real than reality itself. In the following quote, he has just read "Dover Beach" to his wife and her friends, and says the following to Mrs Bowles:
Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you've had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections too, and your children who hate your guts!
Montag clearly reveals that society in this world is built on not thinking about what is really going on. Mrs Bowles, having been prompted to think about her life, is now crying, and therefore flees Montag's house, because society is built on not allowing time for serious reflection or meditation on one's life, and ignoring the tragedies of life. Superficial media has replaced the important things of life, and families and individuals have broken down partly as a response to this. It is Montag therefore who is used to voice Bradbury's criticisms of American society and where he sees it going in the years to come.
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