What human institutions are being criticized in Fahrenheit 451?

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kmj23 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Bradbury criticizes a number of human institutions in Fahrenheit 451. Probably the most obvious is the mass media which Bradbury portrays as invasive and shallow. The parlour walls, for example, broadcast endless soap opera programmes, like the "White Clown." While they encourage audience participation, the shows are light-hearted and entertaining because they are designed to amuse and distract, not to make viewers think. Moreover, the cost of the parlour walls is high, at almost one-third of Montag's salary, which shows that the mass media is primarily concerned with the pursuit of profit.

The school system is also criticized by Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451. As Beatty explains, school has evolved to a point that it no longer educates its students (in the traditional sense):

"School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored."

This is reinforced by Clarisse's experience of high school in which the subjects offered reflect the influence of the mass media:

"An hour of TV class, an hour of basketball or baseball or running, another hour of transcription history or painting pictures."

The school system is, therefore, less concerned with the intellectual development of its students and focuses instead on entertaining them. 

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Fahrenheit 451

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