What role did the whiite clowns play in "Fahrenheit 451"?

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luannw | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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The white clowns are part of a TV show.  They are cartoon characters who do silly and violent things to one another, such as chop off one anothers' limbs.  The show is filled with one violent act after another with tracks of canned laughter to accompany much of it.  The purpose of this show and the clowns is to show the mindlessness of television and of the people in the society.  The show also demonstrates the violence of the people and how little they care for one another.  When Bradbury wrote the book, TV was still in its youth.  Many people saw it as mindless entertainment that had the potential of robbing viewers of thought.  The white clown exemplify this idea.  Millie and most of the people in the society were absorbed by the antics of these cartoon characters.  The viewers did not do any thinking as they watched this program.  Also, Bradbury shows this society to be a violent one.  When Clarisse talks with Montag in the first section of the book, she describes how many of her classmates have died in the last year in violent ways.  We see people drive cars in reckless ways in the story and we also see how little feeling there is for one's fellow man.  Again, the white clowns exemplify this violence and lack of feeling.

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