Examine shared key themes in 1984 and Fahrenheit 451.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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One of the strongest shared themes between both works is how government benefits when individuals are passive towards it. For both works, the ruling party benefits when its citizens do not ask questions.  The community of which Montag is initially a part benefits when individuals accept the lives that they are conditioned to lead, and when the fire brigade is able to burn books.  Both conditions are only possible through passivity and individual compliance with what is.  

The government of Big Brother is also able to thrive when individuals do not actively question it.  For both settings, the Status Quo benefits when individuals do not ask questions.  Both authors seek to develop this theme of passivity as opposed to activism.  

Montag's resistance and Winston's defiance are both seen as fundamental threats to their respective orders.  In Montag's case, his resistance is hopeful, while Winston's is crushed fairly brutally.  Yet, the fundamental theme of how individual passivity empowers the ruling government is evident in both works. It becomes of vital importance to each work to recognize this theme in the works and within the characterizations presented.