In Fahrenheit 451, what community effort do the parlor walls incite?
In Fahrenheit 451, the parlor walls are covered with wall-sized television screens in every home. Through the screens, the public are indoctrinated into a mind-numbing stupor by state-approved programming.
In Part 3, Montag runs away after he kills Captain Beatty and burns up a Mechanical Hound with a flame-thrower. Before long, another Mechanical Hound is dispatched from another district to track Montag down. Every move Montag makes is supposedly tracked on the screens of every parlor wall. Hence, the parlor walls also serve as a community tool for enforcing all the dictates of an oppressive government upon a defenseless populace. Each citizen is invited to follow the hunt and to assist, if at all possible, in the task of uncovering Montag's whereabouts.
And if he kept his eye peeled quickly he would see himself, an instant before oblivion, being punctured for the benefit of how many civilian parlour-sitters who had been wakened from sleep a few minutes ago by the frantic sirening of their living-room walls to come watch the big game, the hunt, the one-man carnival.
If he is captured, Montag wonders what he would say to the twenty or thirty million people watching the manhunt on screen. He is devastated when he realizes that he possesses no verbal means to awaken a blinded populace.
What could he say in a single word, a few words, that would sear all their faces and wake them up?
After Montag murders Captain Beatty, a manhunt ensues as the authorities attempt to capture Montag. Montag visits Faber, who gives him directions to escape from the city and locate the traveling band of intellectuals. Shortly after leaving Faber's home Montag heads towards the river, but he stops to catch his breath outside of someone's home. Montag happens to peer into their window and sees the family watching the manhunt on the screens of their parlor walls. The government officials are aware that the majority of the population owns parlor wall televisions and enlists their help in the search for Montag. As Montag dashes away, he hears the police giving a public service announcement to the entire population of the city through his Seashell radio. The radio announcer says:
"Everyone in every house in every street open a front or rear door or look from the windows. The fugitive cannot escape if everyone in the next minute looks from his house. Ready!" (Bradbury, 64).
Fortunately Montag reaches the river before the citizens have the opportunity to participate in the search by collectively looking onto their streets for the fugitive.