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Is technology in Fahrenheit and today mainly responsible for our trying to prevent...

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abroader | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 3) Honors

Posted May 7, 2009 at 12:25 AM via web

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Is technology in Fahrenheit and today mainly responsible for our trying to prevent deep conversation and feelings?

Is technology in Fahrenheit and today mainly responsible for our trying to prevent deep conversation and feelings?

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted May 7, 2009 at 12:44 PM (Answer #2)

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Technology is partially responsible for the suppression of feelings in the novel, and perhaps today, as well. But this is a complicated question.  If the leaders in the novel had only implemented technology, but had not banned books, they would not have been nearly as successful. Why? Because when people read books, it gives them a greater emotional awareness. Books can stir our deepest feelings, so banning them helps to make people emotionally deficient. Similarly, books stir up ideas in our brains, which tends to lead to deeper conversations. Technology in the novel certainly played a big part in suppressing feelings and ideas, though, because watching "screens" does not promote conversation, does it?  People in the novel were encouraged to interact, to a limited degree, to only the people on the screens, not with one another.  This is true in the real world, as well. We are communicating with one another, but often not in person, so we do tend to lose the warmth and emotion of in-person communication of feelings and ideas.  Communication in today's world has become an oddly solitary effort.  Another aspect of the novel you need to think about as you answer this question for yourself is that the people in the novel are drugged. So even technology and banning books is not enough to suppress feeling and thought!

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 7, 2009 at 12:44 PM (Answer #3)

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I don't see technology as the problem in Fahrenheit 451, the issue is really censorship with the intent to create a race of individuals who are all equal intellectually.  The reason that books are burned in the novel is because they pose a threat to the sanitizing of society.  The government in the book has a need to make everyone equal, equality in intelligence is required as well.

Therefore, books are part of the problem, because when some people read books, they become smarter than other people and that would cause social disorder.  Remember that this book was written in the 1950s, published in 1953, so technology was really just TV, radio, movies, there were no computers or cell phones or ipods, or sidekicks to distract people. 

Bradbury might have made a reference to the fact that other forms of entertainment push books to the bottom of the list as people choose to watch TV or go to the movies, but I don't think that it is technology.

Today, people talk more because of technology, think about the social networking sites, where people track every moment of their life and post it for others to read, or the constant texting or conversations that take place all day long.  There is more communication, conversation today because of technology than ever before.

In Fahrenheit 451, there is a sense of isolation, not due to technology, but due to the dumbing down of the society.  People prefer the company of their TV screens because what is there to talk about in this society!   

"The suggestion Bradbury makes is that by staying connected to books, which are a reflection of other people's thinking, we stay connected as human beings one to the other. Books, then, are an antidote to alienation."

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