How does Alexander Pope relate to the book Fahrenheit 451?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Alexander Pope is one of the many authors and thinks whose ideas are quoted in this text which is so much about books. In particular, we have this direct quote from Pope's Essay on Criticism that occurs in the second section of the novel:

Words are like leaves and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found:

Of course, all of the allusions that are present in this text are very significant and serve to highlight certain themes or comment upon the action of what is happening and this is certainly no exception. Pope is making an ironic comment on what happens in a society where talk is something that defines it without any serious reflection or thought. If words are "like leaves," then there is little "fruit of sense" that can be found alongside it. When we apply this quote to the novel, we can see that the kind of interaction in this new dystopian society is based on meaningless chatter. We can see this in the way that Mildred interacts both with her friends and the "Family" she has on her wall screens. It is all meaningless speech that serves to prevent any "fruit of sense" growing and developing.

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