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Society doesn't often reward non-conformists. Society instead determines what is acceptable behavior and belief and then reinforces it constantly and consistently by ostracizing or ridiculing the rebel. While the government is the institution that sets the rules in Fahrenheit 451, society is what makes the enforcement of those rules possible, just as it is today.
In Montag's world, books have been replaced by other technology. There are TV walls where his wife Millie can watch "stories", similar to our televisions showing soap operas. This sort of "empty" technology is similar to some things that we have in our culture. There are huge flatscreen tvs and video games, and many visual entertainments that don't hold much intellectual value. Commercials are also playing everywhere in Montag's world, just as they are in our world. When we are riding the train or walking down a city street, there are commercials and ads for things all over the place. When we are surfing the internet, most pages have advertisements on them. Wherever we go, we are innundated by ads, just like Montag. In some ways, it can be argued that books, in the traditional sense, are becoming passe. In today's world, less people rely on books for research and instead turn to the internet. There is even a growing trend of "e-books" online. However, while Montag's society shuns books, our society still values them.
One similarity is our obsession with entertainment. Just like Mildred and her t.v. walls, many people get home from work and sit, obsessed, in front of the t.v. while watching their television shows. We Tivo the ones we want, get excited for them, mark them on the calendar. Our t.v. screens are getting bigger and bigger. Movies are a multi-billion dollar industry; video games suck in many people, with online interaction making them all the more real and addicting. Just like Clarisse's classmates, who are constantly doing something, boredom is a feared word in our society; instead we fill our lives with constant busyness with texting, talking on the cell phone, surfing the web, and mind-numbing movies and t.v. Instead of giving our friend a call and having a face-to-face discussion we facebook or text; our quality of communication is decreasing. Soon we will be like Clarisse's classmates who constantly talk but never about anything important.
Looking at the similarities, it is important to ask ourselves how we can slow this digression into the total dystopian society that Montag lives in; we know how his society ended, a harsh wake-up call for him and his people.
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