How does addiction (drugs, alcohol, television, entertainment, shopping, eating, etc.) relate to mental and emotional health?I need help on making a connection to the novel by using quotes.

Expert Answers
rabinos eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"We must all be alike..Each man the image of every other, then all are happy." These words, spoken by Capt. Beatty reflect t he philosophy of the government in Fahrenheit 451. How is this accomplished? First, by removing from society all those things which cause unhappiness by encouraging people to think. Of these, the worst offender is books. Second, by providing all manner of things which people find addicting.

Citizens are urged to fill their homes with the latest technology, to enclose their living rooms with a giant television screens on each wall so that they will feel part of "The Family" to which everyone belongs. 

Drivers are encouraged to speed because it's fun and people do feel "the need for speed." Amusements such as Fun Parks and Car Wreckers are provided for cheap thrills and the possiblity of watching someone die.

People have no idea how to think. Facts have replaced learning, yet all minds must be occupied at all times. At night, they take sleeping pills - often too many of them as in the case of Mildred Montag who overdoses. These common near death experiences are reversed with the skill and compassion of a mechanic flushing a radiator.  

In addition to her pills, Mildred listens to her seashell radio which whispers drivel in her ears as she sleeps. "Every night the waves came in and bore her off on their great tides of sound...floating her toward morning."



lam123 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451 it is clear that addiction is used as a distraction from the real issues. The government saw that addictions to mindless activities could keep people from the kind of critical thinking that would question the government.

If you want to make a connection to this idea using quotes, I suggest you look at quotes that show others' unwillingness to look at something "unpleasant", or to us, reality. There are several times that characters purposely avoid or cry out against being made to address reality.

Here's one: 

Let you alone! That's all very well, but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?

This shows how the main character is starting to realize the distractions that he has filled his life with, and now that he recognizes that, he can't get it out of his head. He ends up being extremely bothersome to his wife, who really just wants him to drop it, and tries to retreat to her addictions every time he brings things up.

When you use a quote to connect to the question, you need to explain why the quote is important or significant.

eabettencourt eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Contrasting Mildred and Clarisse would be effective in answering this question, as Bradbury sets them up as near opposites:  Mildred as the addict is certainly used by Bradbury to make clear points regarding addiction's relation to (in her case) poor mental and emotonal health (look to the expository information about her in the beginning of the book), whereas Clarisse is arguably used by Bradbury as a non-addict, whom he paints in a positive light although her society does not.

Be sure to explain any quotes you use first in terms of context, then of significance.  Explain the context of the quote - where it occurs in the text, what is happening in the story at that point.  Next explain in your own words how this quote helps prove the ideas you've laid out in answering the question.

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Fahrenheit 451

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