In Fahrenheit 451, how is society mentally controlled?Technology like the mechanical dog embodies the physical control of society, but how are they mentally controlled?

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ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Knowing about the existence of a mechanical device that can be lethal is both a physical and a mental deterrent. However, most of the mental control is established by the ever-present presence of the media. It's constant programming from morning until night is all propaganda. People are convinced that they need to be "happy" and can find a "family" over the television airwaves. The population is discouraged from thinking for themselves. However, as witnessed by Clarrise's attempted suicide, all is not well under the surface of this so-called happy society. When control is not able to be established through the media, people are dispatched in order to quell the problem. This is what occurs when Beatty visits Montag. At first , he pretending to be a "friend" and tries to convince Montag that reading books will make him unhappy. However, when Montag rejects that idea, Beatty heartlessly makes Montag burn down his own house in an effort to show Montag what he will lose if he keeps on disobeying the state. It is apparent that the Fahrenheit 451 society will first try to mentally control its population but when that doesn't work, they resort to physical control and execution through the mechanical hound.

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Fahrenheit 451

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