What does the following quote mean, and what does it mean to our country?"if you dont want a man unhappy politically, dont give him two sides to a question to worry him."

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The quote is offered with a tinge of sarcasm.  The basic meaning of the quote is that political choice is agonizingly difficult for people.  Having to choose between two equally likable, but ulitmately incompatible course of political action is extremely difficult, leaving human beings in a difficult position. This "worry" is what apparently results from political choice.  The motivation of the quote is to elimiinate this "difficulty"  and offer a source to alleviate human "worry" by offering no choice, featuring only one option to citizens.  This becomes justification for a world where there is no sense of democratic choice because the choice is not made by the people, but rather by the political or governing structures that end up "choosing" for people, rendering them as objects to be controlled, not participants that have voice.  In terms of the meaning of the quote to our country, it could serve as a warning of something to ignore.  Our democracy functions when we have choices, distinct choices, between political notions of the good.  We have to be able to be placed in this difficult situation of having to choose.  We, as citizens, might "worry" and might be poised in a challenging predicament.  Yet, this is preferable to a setting where our choices, our voices, are removed and we are rendered silent.  "Worry" is preferable to the alternative.  The quote could then serve as a statement of belief in our country, for we seek to have as many political choices as possible.

On the other hand, perhaps the quote can be a statement of how our country actually runs.  If you believe this, then the quotation is reflective of how there might not be that different of choice in our nation.  When we have given up our political voice to choose, then the governing structure responds by giving us only one real answer to political problems.   Bradbury is a smart enough thinker to be able to create a world that, on face value, seems very different than ours.  Yet, upon closer examination, we can see some eerily similar traits to our own world.  One of them is whether or not we have real choice in our political options.  We have "Republican" and "Democrat," but perhaps the question can be asked if there cannot be more choices from which to use our voice.  Have we sacrificed so much of our voice in our apathy and lack of deep examination into political structures and leaders that the institution has geared both choices into one with different faces?  Certainly, this question plagued Bradbury as it plagues us right now.  Either read of the quote- that it is a testament to our values or it is a warning sign for us to change our ways- can be applied to what it can mean to our country.

Read the study guide:
Fahrenheit 451

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question