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What are some good concrete details to go with the themes of Fahrenheit 451?   The...

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lalagirl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 20, 2010 at 8:58 AM via web

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What are some good concrete details to go with the themes of Fahrenheit 451?

 

The theme statments that I am using are:

A society that does not value knowledge is unmotivated, dangerous, and potentially violent

A life without critical thinking and goals is meaningless and unsatisfying.

Replacing relationships with technologically advanced machines is perilous to an individual's personal development.

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MaudlinStreet | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted June 20, 2010 at 2:13 PM (Answer #1)

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I'll provide a few example of specific evidence for each:

  • A society that does not value knowledge is unmotivated, dangerous, and potentially violent- In the world of the novel, we see the effects of devaluing of knowledge. The population is certainly unmotivated: They are more than happy to sit in their homes all day, watching their tele-screens. The world is dangerous: the Mechanical Hound is a viable threat, and Clarissa is killed in a hit-and-run. Indeed, it almost seems as though this society promotes violence: racing and killing animals and people is considered normal, if not outright condoned.
  • A life without critical thinking and goals is meaningless and unsatisfying- Look to Mildred for the support on this one. She thinks about nothing except her talking walls and her "family". She claims a 4th wall is all she needs to be happy: to be completely surrounded by her "family". Yet our first encounter with Mildred is her attempted suicide. She doesn't love Montag, she seems to barely be able to stand her friends...essentially, her life is meaningless, and her unhappiness shows.
  • Replacing relationships with technologically advanced machines is perilous to an individual's personal development- Again, Mildred is a prime example. Yet all the characters can support this idea, depending on how you define "personal development". Think about the firemen: they spend their days surrounded by technology, deliberately avoiding relationships (as does everyone else). They have no thoughts of their own, and they've developed sadistic tendencies. Captain Beatty in particular is cruel and seemingly heartless.
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boryung | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted August 16, 2010 at 3:54 AM (Answer #2)

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A society that does not value knowledge is unmotivated, dangerous, and potentially violent: The society in Fahrenheit 451, where books have been outlawed, is immoral and narcissistic. People spend their time seeking thrills through activities including driving at dangerously fast speeds, violent amusement parks, and dare devil activities. Their primary concern is their own entertainment.

A life without critical thinking and goals is meaningless and unsatisfying: Details that prove this theme would be Montag and his wife Mildred's unhappiness. Montag's inability to find fulfillment in his life leads him to question the society he lives in more and more until he eventually murders a man and is forced to leave society. His wife Mildred appears to be content with her parlor walls, but it is implied that she is actually deeply depressed, as once she takes so many sleeping pills that her life is endangered.  

Replacing relationships with technologically advanced machines is perilous to an individual's personal development: Mildred's obsession with her parlor walls, a highly advanced TV, has made her insensitive and immoral. Her friends have also clearly been affected by their parlor walls in this way.

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