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What are some important trends in the future society of Fahrenheit 451?

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aumeh | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted September 10, 2012 at 10:08 PM via web

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What are some important trends in the future society of Fahrenheit 451?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted September 12, 2012 at 10:04 PM (Answer #1)

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One important trend is the devaluation of human life. Montag becomes aware of the strangeness of this future society through his interaction with Clarisse. Although he has felt uneasy about things in the past, he doesn't realize just how wrong society is until Clarisse explains it:

"I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always used to be that way? ...My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn't kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncle says."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

Even the children have no idea about the value of human life. To them, a death by shooting or car crash is just part of how things go; later, Montag is almost run down by a car that misses him and then turns around to try again. The women who visit Montag's house have no worry about their husbands being killed in war; one of them has had two husbands die, one by suicide, and doesn't seem to care. People flock to watch the firemen burn a house with someone inside, treating it like entertainment. People have no consequences unless they read, and so feel no responsibility for the well-being of others. When human life becomes valueless, so too do human actions, until people feel justified in doing anything anywhere at any time, without any fear of consequence.

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