What are some points of comparison between Fahrenheit 451 and Brave New World?
Bradbury's Fahrenheit and Huxley's Brave New World are both dystopian novels, works which focus on a society gone wrong. Below are some similarities and differences.
- Both works feature a disenfranchised main character (a standard element of dystopian literature). Bradbury's Montag thinks that he is happy as the novel opens, but his meeting Clarisse reawakens old doubts about his society and marriage. Before Part 1 ends, Montag has become the rebel and seeks his independence and significance. Huxley's John is more confident and knowledgeable about his environment than Montag is, but he, too, lives on the fringe of his society and represents those who long for independence and freedom of thought.
- The novels also feature societies under totalitarian control. Bradbury's party in control remains nameless, but its power is ubiquitous. From entertainment (the parlor walls) to advertising jingles to the time of an individual's death (Mildred's resuscitation from a suicide attempt and the programming of the mechanical hound), every aspect of an individual's life is controlled. In Brave New World, Huxley takes an Orwellian approach and creates a distinct power known as The Controller. The Controllers manage everything from reproduction to clothing, and those who dare to think for themselves are hunted down much like Clarisse and Montag are in Fahrenheit.
- Montag's society is used to constantly being at war. Even though the wars last only a day or less, they serve as an element of control for the ruling group and as another technological display. In contrast, Brave New World's society features "peace." The inhabitants have been conditioned to think that mindless pleasure seeking and stability are key to happiness. They view the Controllers as taking care of them and preventing "unpleasantness" such as war.
- In true Bradbury fashion, Fahrenheit warns more against the dangers of an overdependence on technology than it does against overreaching governments. Brave New World does feature technology being used to control, but Huxley seems to be more concerned with illuminating how ruling parties obtain and keep power through a variety of methods.
- While the endings of both novels mirror the conclusions of other dystopian works, they are quite different from one another. Fahrenheit concludes with reserved optimism. Montag has managed to escape Captain Beatty and the hound and even the destruction of the city and begins his life with the likeminded "Book People." In World, John cannot live within the confines of his society and commits suicide.
When we compare two works, we show how they are alike. When we contrast them, we show how they are different. This answer will focus on likenesses, as the question asks us to compare.
A chief point of similarity is that both future societies actively and aggressively work to eradicate independent thinking. In Fahrenheit 451, this is done through banning books. The government is willing to pay teams of "firemen" to seek out and invade the homes of people suspected of having books, in order to destroy the books. In Brave New World, children are conditioned through means such as tapes played every night and electric shocks to think exactly the way the government wants them to think.
Both dystopic societies reinforce this central concept of numbing people's minds. In Fahrenheit 451 the government aggressively encourages people to get hooked on idiotic televisions shows. In Brave New World, the government uses constant activity, consumerism, orgies, and a drug called soma to keep people away from independent thought.
Both works have a male hero who rebels against thought control. Montag does this through getting hold of books, killing his firefighter boss, and escaping to a marginalized alternative society. Brave New World's John the Savage rebels when he is transported from his "primitive" society to the brave new world by clinging to Shakespeare, religion, and the idea that suffering is redemptive. He eventually kills himself.
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