What is the significance of the setting? Please provide examples that support the importance of the setting. Fahrenheit 451

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Ray Bradbury's novel, Fahrenheit 451, acts as a caution to readers regarding the danger of allowing technology to depersonalize and control the lives of individuals; in fact, its setting of a censored and controlling society may be more pertinent now than when it was first published in 1951.

The setting of a totalitarian society that burns books is reminiscent of Nazi Germany in which books were destroyed by fire in an effort to prevent citizens from reading the thoughts of great thinkers, thoughts that were counter to the regime's propaganda and new culture in which the Fuhrer replaced God ("Mein Fuhrer ist mein Gott"). Bradbury takes the Nazi model a step further as books are burned and removed from the consciousness of society and replaced by inane interactive skits in which the women such as Mildred and her friends participate with the "wall-to-wall circuit." Without books, many people are completely disassociated from reality and individual, intelligent thought. The medics arrive at many a house in order to siphon out the drugs used to remove people from an empty reality.

It is this very emptiness of the lives of those in the society of Fahrenheit 451 that causes Montag, the protagonist, to seek what it is that makes a woman die rather than live without her books. But, after he sneaks some books into his home, he finds himself pitted against the technology of his futuristic world which becomes the antagonistic force in the form of the Mechanical Hound and the jet aircraft. With the help of Faber, however, Montag escapes and floats down the river, much like Moses, to an area inhabited by social outcasts who have memorized books in preparation for the rebirth of a literate society that will set people free again.

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