What are some things that the society in Fahrenheit 451 could do to become socially adept and intellectually aware (to become normal again)?
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Here's an idea: Stop burning books. I am not trying to be facetious about this, but I think that this would be the first step that the social order in Bradbury's work has to take in order to validate the intellectual experience. The question is akin to something that would be posed to the social order in the film, "Pleasantville." In that world, the fear of change and colorization inhibited them from taking action and embracing the way of the world. Essentially, what helped them and what would serve the social order in Bradbury's work would be a fundamental paradigm change from a static view of humanity to one that embraces dynamic traits of individuals. The fear of dissent, as evidenced by Beatty and other Firemen, would have to be replaced with a conception that allows for the voices of dissent and the respect for this difference to be present. Figures like Clarisse, who like to talk and simply be different, would have to be revered and at the same time, the desire for conformist control would have to desist. I think that the naive craving for symmetry and unity would have to be supplanted by a framework that actually encourages difference of thought and action, as well as a comfort with a lack of totality. It will require all of these elements because intellectual advancement can only truly flourish in a setting that is not so constrained by boundaries and limitations.
I think that knowledge of people, the natural world, and other cultures would be a really good starting point....and of course much of this could be learned from Montag and the others who have memorized books. These book people are not only important because of the books they protect, but also because of their general desire to learn and to be open minded to ideas.
In the book much of the information that the people got was from the government through the parlor walls. Think about how brainwashed Mildred and her friends were. They bought into anything and were entertained by very basic things like Mildred watching the clown on the parlor walls. She had no desire to learn and believed whatever she was supposed to be believe. She knew nothing of how the world worked or of other people.
So the question is how does this society change from this view? Changing how they educate children would certainly be a huge piece to this change. Bringing back art, literature, and music would be another component.
I think that the answer to this question was implied in Bradbury's conclusion to his book. Despite the rather dark content of his book, it was actually ended on a relatively hopeful note. Though the cities have been utterly destroyed by bombs, a group of outcasts is on its way back to society, where they plan to impart the knowledge they have stored in their minds back to society. Hopefuly, their mental storages will bring sensitivity and intellectual life back into a society which has become even incapable of thought.
Clearly, there is hope for even such a society. Even Mildred's brainwashed friend responded to the recital of poetry. Deep inside, Bradbury's society is still capable of appreciating the aspects of life that had been so absolutely wiped out before. I believe that Bradbury's society was capable of recovery, and that the road to that recovery was the revival of thought and sensitivity - books, poetry, pleasant conversations on front porches, and long, musing walks.
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