What characteristics of Fahrenheit 451 are reinforced by our contemporary society?

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kimfuji eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Many of the characteristics of Fahrenheit 451 are reinforced by our society. For example, the video games and news shows are so short and quick, based upon presenting information that is sensational, in an attempt to delever a quick message, like an advertisement. It creates a world where people expect to get away with reading these little snippets of information and call it reading. It is information but without any true value.

Informercials paid for by pharmaceutical companies have no regard for the patient at all. Like in the book, where the wife has just swallowed sleeping pills and the paramedics suck her blood out and give her new. It is so like the mentality of medicine today, where pharamceuticals and surgery is touted as a quick cure for problems that have a deeper root.


Americans are eating themselves to death becoming morbidly obese then having bariatric surgery to loose the weight. In the mean time, the main diseases are heart disease and diabetes that are mainly caused by diet. The food produced by manufacturers are based on an over production of fructose  and when eaten cause the diseases of heart attacks and diabetes. The food industry has no regard for consumers. They only want to make money.

In addition to all of this, the illiteracy rate is escalating. Books for children are becoming shorter or video-enhanced so that children will buy videos to make the media companies more money. This only leads to more illiteracy.

Consumers are only seen as a means to an end, to make money. In the book,they can't keep up with the burning. It is like the act of burning books is their god; in our contemporary society making consumers buy products is the god. It is comparable.

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The notion of expanded executive control and the consolidation of power is something that has modern applications.  In the time following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Patriot Act emboldened the executive branch in similar ways to the setting in Bradbury's work.  The idea of a repressive element which sought to control out of public welfare has implications in both Bradbury's work as well as the fear and paranoia which was generated in the wake of the September 11 attacks.  Another level of similarity would be the emptiness and vast chasm which exists between Montag and Millie.  They both are married, but live in separate worlds with little, if any, emotional connection.  This has modern implications as there are many a couple which live in an emotional wasteland, contributing to a disenchantment with both one another and society, in general.  Sadly enough, emotional alienation and estrangement span all time periods.

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Fahrenheit 451

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