How is Fahrenheit 451 a typical dystopian novel?

Fahrenheit 451 represents a typical dystopian novel through its hyper-industrialized setting and themes of social decline. Montag's world is known for the technology that controls the lives of the citizens, and it is through this setting that distrust, isolation, and an authoritarian force thrive.

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There are a number of running themes in Fahrenheit 451 that are typical of dystopian literature. Here are a few examples to consider:

Conformity

The society outlined in the book heavily encourages its residents to act alike, think alike, and stick to their routine. Those who conform to these expectations...

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There are a number of running themes in Fahrenheit 451 that are typical of dystopian literature. Here are a few examples to consider:

Conformity

The society outlined in the book heavily encourages its residents to act alike, think alike, and stick to their routine. Those who conform to these expectations are considered valued members of society, while those who deviate—whether it's people who read, or people who, like Clarisse, simply have unconventional interests—are ostracized and looked down upon.

One example of this is the scene where Montag realizes for the first time that he and the other firemen all look alike. He wonders to himself whether that might be by design—he became a fireman because his father was one before him; it never occurred to him to ask why or to want something else for himself. That there might even be a choice simply didn't exist in his understanding of world.

Authoritarianism

Montag's society is heavily policed by unforgiving authorities, which is another element very frequently found in dystopian literature. As a fireman, Montag himself is among them. He takes orders, sets fires, and destroys books just like the government orders, careful to observe the rigid laws and rules as he does so. This system is propped up by the people's fear of the authorities—the firemen only know where to burn because the citizens turn each other in to the government.

The full scope of the authoritarian regime comes into view when Montag starts deviating from society's rules. After disregarding a pointed warning from Captain Beatty, Montag is forced to burn his own home. When he flees, the authorities chase him and, ultimately, kill a lookalike on live TV to demonstrate the extent of their power over dissidents.

Industrialization

The world Montag lives in is heavily industrialized to foster maximum efficiency in all things. This comes at the expense of the natural world. (One of the things Montag finds most engaging about Clarisse is her appreciation for the world around her, and her tendency to notice the world's slow, quiet processes.)

When books were made illegal, it was partly because they were too inefficient for the general populace. They were slow to read, and hard to digest—the attention to support them simply wasn't there anymore. The citizens had started moving too quickly through life for them to fit in.

This is typical of dystopian stories, especially when they take place in the future—many authors caution the reader against a world where technology is so advanced that the natural world has become completely obsolete. By including an entire category of intellectual processes—books—in this obsolescence, Fahrenheit 451 takes it one step further.

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