What are the morals of "Fahrenheit 451"? What is Ray Bradbury trying to say?

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cdwest's profile pic

cdwest | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

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Obviously, this is a society based on instant gratification.  The citizens have been desensitized to the violence present in the book.  The society has been dumbed down in such a way that mindless TV shows, driving super fast, and kids killing one another is commonplace.  Mildred is the model citizen in that she has been completely consumed by the TV family, and wants no part of Montag's awakening in the novel.  Sadly, the society has accepted that death and destruction is okay, as long as insurance has been purchased, so that no one will lose financially from the impulsive acts of others.  I think this was a novel written as a cautionary tale.  Bradbury was well aware of the atrocities committed by Hilter in WW II, and how Hitler wanted to control his society by taking away the power of the people.  One of his tactics was to burn books.  Knowledge is power.  By creating this society in which citizens aren't allowed to think for themselves, debate, critique, etc.  many of the actions that we find appalling in the book, would stand to be perfectly normal.  This is a society where you are suspect if you were a pedestrian, but killing innocent people because you are required to drive fast is considered normal.  Conversation, enjoying nature, (EX: Clarrise and her family) would indicate the need for a file.  The book represents the morals of the business world, and the morals of a corrupt government with no checks and balances.  Unfortunatly is was modeled after occurances from history, and there is much to be learned from this book to be applied to our society today.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my opinion, what Bradbury is trying to say here is that societies die when people do not think enough.  This happens when people get to be too caught up in having a fun, fast-paced life with lots of material goods.  When they focus on that kind of thing, they stop caring about ideas and values.

Bradbury is saying that in this kind of a society, people will become relatively evil.  They will enjoy mindless "fun" and will take that as far as killing people.  This is because their lives are empty and so they have no respect for others' lives.

So I'd say the main moral is that you should have a "life of the mind."  You need to think about things and have ideas, not just watch TV all the time.

prithviraj's profile pic

prithviraj | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

alienation, not reading destructing the mind and we dont live life, we live speed.

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