In Fahrenheit 451, what does Clarisse say people talk about?

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kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 3) Associate Educator

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In Fahrenheit 451, Clarisse says that the people in her society do not talk about anything of any significance. Instead, they talk about frivolous and unimportant topics:

They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools mostly and say how swell!

In addition, Clarisse notices that people seem to share the exact same interests and opinions:

But they all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else. 

This contrasts strongly with Clarisse's own family who discuss all manner of topics, like life in the old days, before book-burning was introduced. That Clarisse does not care to talk about the same subjects as others and does not share the same opinions reinforces her status as a social outsider: she does not conform to the same norms and values as others around her. She is a free-thinker who pursues her own thoughts and has no interest in the pursuit of mindless entertainment, like the programmes on the parlour walls. 

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sarahc418's profile pic

sarahc418 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Assistant Educator

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In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury comments on the depth of relationships people have. In this society, things like front porches no longer exist because people don't sit out to chat or meet their neighors.

The first time Clarisse mentions that her family sits up late and talks, Montag incredulously asks her "talk about what?" Clarisse laughs at him recognizing, as our culture would, that this is a funny question. For Montag, conversation is nonexistant. Clarisse says people do not talk about anything with substance. However, people in this society call her "anti-social." Clarisse clarifies that she thinks their definition of social and anti-social is incorrect.

"But I don't think it's social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you?"

Bradbury uses Clarisse as a reasonable voice who can point out for the reader the flaws of the humans of this society.
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