How is the Mechanical Hound in Fahrenheit 451 a method of propaganda?

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Propaganda is when information or ideas are widely spread to either help or harm a person or group. In Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the Mechanical Hound is used as an intimidation device to harm anyone who does not comply with the illiterate status quo. In this story, the society's majority believes that having fun is more important than education and learning. In fact, schools teach sports, film, and TV; so, they don't even use books anymore. Owning books is frowned upon socially and legally. In an effort to support the idea that books are bad for society, firemen burn people's books along with their houses. Everyone knows that anyone reported to the authorities for having books is arrested as well. If people want to take their chances and run from the authorities, the Mechanical Hound is sent to track them down and kill them. The Mechanical Hound is described as follows:

"Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber-padded paws. . . a four-inch hollow steel needle plunged down from the proboscis of the Hound to inject massive jolts of morphine or procaine" (24-25).

The description of the Hound is scary, so when people watch it chase down and kill someone on TV, it can be quite a motivating element of propaganda not to own or read books.

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Fahrenheit 451

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