Examples Of Censorship In Fahrenheit 451

In Fahrenheit 451, what are three examples/major cases that demonstrates the use of a totalitarion government and how this government uses censorship?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

1: Censoring literature is the dystopian state's way of suppressing intellectual thought and discourse, which can present challenges to the regime. The totalitarian government of Bradbury's dystopian society uses the fireman institution to censor literature. The firemen search for books and arrest any individuals possessing them. The authorities also burn the confiscated books and often destroy the homes of criminals. The threat of having one's home and library burnt mirrors the use of violent police tactics used in totalitarian states.

2: Another aspect of Bradbury's dystopian society that mimics a totalitarian state concerns the government's use of propaganda. Along with the censorship of literature, the government uses the media to distract citizens from the dire conditions of the state. While the nation is at war and civilians live meaningless lives, the government uses mass media to entertain the population and keep them misinformed. Intellectual pursuits are discouraged throughout the school system, and material consumption is propagated throughout society. Citizens remain docile and passively accept the conditions of the state through constant entertainment and psychologically debilitating drugs. The government's authority and ability to turn every television station towards the police chase indicates that the state controls the media, just like in a totalitarian regime.

3: The dystopian state also has total control over the economy and military. Throughout the novel, Faber elaborates on the consumer culture, which encourages individuals to spend their money on mindless entertainment. Citizens continually buy parlor wall televisions, high-speed beetle cars, and tickets to brutal sporting events. Every dollar spent essentially tightens the government's grip on individual freedoms and rights. The totalitarian regime is also fighting numerous wars. During Mildred's conversation with her friends, Mrs. Phelps elaborates on her husband's service and says that he's fighting another "quick war." The emphasis on the government's military presence mirrors that of a totalitarian regime's attention towards its armed forces.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Three examples of the totalitarian regime are that reading books are illegal, books are burned, people are not allowed to drive slowly or be pedestrians, and television is used to control people.

The first evidence of totalitarianism regime and government censorship is in the burning of books.

When Clarisse asks Montag about being a fireman, they have this conversation.

Do you ever read any of the books you bum?"

He laughed. "That's against the law!"

"Oh. Of course." (part 1)

The fact that reading books is illegal, and books are burned, is a hint that ideas are not allowed.  Books are a source of and a way of spreading ideas.  By eliminating books, they control the ideas.

The second example is that people are arrested for driving slowly, or being pedestrians.

"Oh, just my mother and father and uncle sitting around, talking. It's like being a pedestrian, only rarer. My uncle was arrested another time-did I tell you?-for being a pedestrian. Oh, we're most peculiar." (part 1)

The government controls their every move.  If people are always moving fast, they are easy to control.  When people slow down, and stop and think, there is more potential for damage.

Another example of a totalitarian regime is that the government uses television to control people.  When they are at home, they are hypnotized by the television.

The room was indeed empty. Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. (part 1)

All of these examples allow the totalitarian government to control the people’s thoughts and keep them under control.