Warning from Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 and RealWhat warnings about our own world are suggested by Ray Bradbury in the society he depicts?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Throughout Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury warns readers about potential issues arising from increased technology, censorship, prescription medication, consumer culture, politics, war, and reliance on mass media.

In Bradbury's dystopian society, books are illegal to own, and the fireman institution is dedicated to burning every novel throughout the city. This extreme form of censorship is an attempt to prevent intellectual thought, which could potentially challenge the government and upset the population.

The majority of the citizens also spend most of their time watching their parlour wall interactive televisions or engaging in brutal sports. They are depicted as ignorant individuals who lack insight and perspective on the world around them; for example, Mildred and her friends vote for handsome candidates rather than those with favorable policies and have become numb to the constant war their country is fighting.

Mildred is also addicted to sleeping pills and even has to have her stomach pumped after she overdoses. Faber explains to Montag how religion has become virtually obsolete and consumer culture has destroyed the true meaning behind holidays like Christmas. Overall, Bradbury illustrates the extreme forms of specific issues in today's society as a warning to what could potentially become of America. 

kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury gives the reader a number of warnings about our society. Firstly, Bradbury warns us against an over-reliance on technology. Through the Mechanical Hound and the parlor walls, for example, Bradbury shows us that if we continue to innovate while also becoming increasingly dependent on technology, we will create products which actually lead to our own destruction. Both the Mechanical Hound and the parlor walls do exactly that: the Hound sniffs out those who break the rules while the walls leave people intellectually and psychologically numb.

Secondly, Bradbury warns us of the dangers of conformity. Take Clarisse, for example, who is depicted as a social outsider because she is different than other people. She prefers to walk outside and talk to people rather than to drive fast and watch the parlor walls. As a result, she is put under surveillance and categorized as a potential danger. Through her character, Bradbury warns us against becoming one homogeneous mass. Instead, we should embrace difference and diversity while encouraging independent thought and freedom of speech.

clane eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bradbury paints a very bleak picture of a society that is virtually without feeling in which each of its members are given the illusion of happiness and contentment, but they are actually just living very bland lives. His warning about our own world is not to become so politically correct that we eradicate feelings all together. Montag's society was created as a result of people who felt offended by certain books like the Bible or Little Black Sambo. People felt that literature of the time was offensive either religiously, racially, sexually, politically, and the like. He was basically arguing for the freedom to speak and feel without the fear of persecution. He thinks it is dangerous to allow the government to have such a tight choke-hold on the printed word and that societies can run the risk of an overly correct society in which it is no longer alright to feel or think anything because someone might get offended.

brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Warnings about a government with too much authority, and against the conformity of a people who have forgotten how to question or even how to think independently are relevant in the modern day. Included is a warning against over-reliance on technology, on mood altering drugs (anti-depressants in the modern day, Valium in the 1960s) and on trusting the media with the information they give you and the judgements they make. I like Bradbury's statement in the afterword, about how there is more than one way to burn a book, simply by not reading them, or by editing them for content to fit a modern standard of what's considered appropriate.
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Fahrenheit 451

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