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.
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