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Where can you find values and beliefs in the book Fahrenheit 451?

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collegestuden... | Student, College Freshman | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 3, 2011 at 1:44 AM via web

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Where can you find values and beliefs in the book Fahrenheit 451?

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mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 3, 2011 at 9:49 AM (Answer #1)

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An interesting thing about this novel is that one of the points that Bradbury is making about his society is just how few actual values and principles the society has.  Montag lives in a world surrounded by people who don't truly care for each other, who drown their miseries in distractions, and for whom true, meaningful relationships are a nuisance and a bother.

The values of the people in his society can best be seen through episodes with Mildred's friends, and in hearing Clarisse discuss her classmates at school.  Clarisse says that her classmates are violent, and that "they kill each other."  After school, all they do is:

head for a Fun Park to bully people around, break windowpanes in the Window Smasher place or wreck cars in the Car Wrecker place.

In addition, they never talk about real things.  Families don't communicate anymore; this is why Montag is fascinated with Clarisse's family, who stays up late at night just to talk.  When speaking with Mildred's friends, Montag learns that they feel that children are a bother and a nuisance; and even when their husbands die, they don't feel too badly about it.

So your question is a good one:  where ARE values and beliefs in this book?  They are severely lacking, I would say. However, Bradbury, through Clarisse, Faber, and Montag's search for happiness through books, insists that happiness, true happiness, come from reading, thinking, analyzing, forming your own opinions, stopping to notice the beauty in life, and in forming lasting relationships that are meaningful.  Clarisse is happy--she notices the beauty in life, spends time with her family, and thinks and ponders on things.  Those values have led her to her happy state.

I hope that those thoughts helped a bit; good luck!

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