In Fahrenheit 451, how is the individual controlled and marginalized by society?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Individualism is all-but erased by society in Fahrenheit 451. Everyone has the same television programming, and they all watch it at the same times each day. Everyone has the same opinions on life, because they received their opinions from the government-authorized television sources. When Beatty explains the history of book-banning to Montag, he uses this metaphor:

"If you don't want a man unhappy politically, don't give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

By removing the concept of personal choice from society, the individual becomes simply a part of a larger whole. Books are symbols for individualism, because each book acts as a unique creation of the person who wrote it; by eliminating books, the government can control both the spread of information and the use of ideas by the populace. The last thing they want is people thinking for themselves and realizing how trivial their lives truly are.

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