What is a symbol in Fahrenheit 451?
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In Fahrenheit 451, the Mechanical Hound is a character and a symbol. It represents the destructive potential of technology. It also represents a zombie-like or robotic form of life; this is analogous to the mindless lives most experience in this dystopian world, devoid of literature, creativity and individualism. Toward the end of the novel, as Montag is finally getting the better of the Mechanical Hound, the Hound is described as a "dead-alive" thing (106). It is a machine, dead, but built to function as a living predator to enforce the state's censorship. In other sections, the Mechanical Hound is often described with life-like adjectives. Think of the State and its oppressive laws as a machine. The Hound is a personification of this machine, being a machine itself, a life-like machine built to suppress life. The irony is that the living have invented technology. The Hound, and this novel, suppose the possibility that the very technology we create can eventually be used for our own enslavement. We lose the defined difference between life and machine. In this novel, technology is used to constrain, rather than augment, life. This is a violent allegory but one which can be relatively comparable to the ways in which technology, in any age, distracts people from the vitality of living.
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