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What are some specific examples of satire in Fahrenheit 451?

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peru32123 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 2, 2012 at 2:46 AM via web

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What are some specific examples of satire in Fahrenheit 451?

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

Posted January 28, 2013 at 10:04 PM (Answer #1)

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A good example of satire in the book occurs when Clarisse is discussing her views on the future society and how it is different from what she might prefer. Some of the things considered normal in the book are current-day norms taken to the extreme, such as interstate highways. When the book was written, these highways were still new; the idea of high-speeds was considered dangerous. In the future, the cards drive over one hundred miles per hour, and since human life is considered expendable, there seem to be no consequences for traffic accidents.

"Or go out in the cars and race on the streets, trying to see how close you can get to lamp- posts, playing 'chicken...' Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

This satirizes both the tendency for people to desire more speed in getting to their destinations, and what Bradbury saw as the slow movement towards devaluing of human life. Nobody thinks anything strange of children killed in road accidents; it is not even prosecuted or criminalized, but simply an aftereffect of the efficient, high-speed cars. With this concept, the modern push to increase highway speeds seems less reasonable and more contemptuous of human life.

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