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What is the role of technology in Fahrenheit 451, and can you recognize any elements...

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doger1 | Student | (Level 2) Honors

Posted January 10, 2009 at 5:10 AM via web

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What is the role of technology in Fahrenheit 451, and can you recognize any elements in today's world?

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slchanmo1885 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted January 10, 2009 at 6:57 AM (Answer #1)

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Technology such as the Mechanical Dog is used for physical control of the people. The dog has poison that can be injected to stop people from doing something Montag's society does not approve of. Technology such as the TV walls and broadcasted commercials are used for the mental control of the people. Millie is somewhat brainwashed by the virtual reality people that she watches and interacts with in her living room. In fact, she is so empty inside from this fake reality, that when she overdoses on sleeping pills, Montag begins to realize that there must be something really wrong with people that everyone can put on a false front. Some of the technology in the book is similar to technology we have today, like interactive games, television, or internet. Just as Millie can interact with her tv walls, we have many technologies like computer or video games that have a virtual reality.

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Lorraine Caplan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted December 13, 2014 at 4:11 PM (Answer #2)

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Technology in Fahrenheit 451 was a means of the government's placating and controlling the masses, of course, a kind of drug to which it deliberately addicted people.  But it is important to realize that today's technology, while it does seem to placate and even addict many people, has arisen, not by means of a government plot, but with the actions of various individuals and businesses who developed technological devices and systems, more often than not from a profit motive, and with the voluntary actions of those who choose to use the technology.  To the degree we are placated or addicted is the result of individual choices, not the consequence of governmental action. 

While this is a significant contrast, it does raise some important questions about the implications of government involvement to control our various technologies, which some believe would land us in a Fahrenheit 451 world.  And since we have voluntarily become placated or addicted, we really should ask ourselves how easy it might be for that to happen now. There are countries where the government does control the technology, for example, China and North Korea.  An "It can't happen here" attitude might not be the best attitude for us to have. 

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