What is the emptiness under the mask of happiness in the book Fahrenheit 451?

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

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It is clear that in this excellent dystopian novel the powers that be have not foreseen the impact of their decision to ban literature and "dumb down" the quality of entertainment so far that it leaves their population nursing an inexplainable emptiness that they cannot understand or control. Mildred and her friends are a classic example of this. Note that, when Montag sees the men who come to save Mildred from her overdose out, they say they are incredibly busy flushing people like Mildred out:

We get these cases nine or ten a night. Got so many, starting a few years ago, we had the special machines built.

This is clearly a massive problem for this society. Notice too the way that Mrs. Phelps cries when she hears "Dover Beach" read to her by Montag. Emptiness has been produced by trying to remove anything that could seriously impact or effect society.

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