What are society's values in Fahrenheit 451?

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ladyvols1's profile pic

ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In "Farenheit 451" society has succumbed to apathy.  They are isolated for the most part and spend most of their time watching the "walls".  They have burned all the books so that the government can tell them what to think.  They suffer from indifference and don't really care about each other, except to watch law-breakers be caught and killed on tv.  They are so closed off from what is going on in the world they don't even realize that they will be attacked.  Montag's wife is a perfect example of the ideal citizen.  She even turns her own husband in for having books hidden in the house. They are very passive and depressed.  When Montag calls the emergency in because his wife has taken too many pills the drivers tell him that they get 20 calls like that a night.

kmj23's profile pic

kmj23 | (Level 2) Educator

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In the society of Fahrenheit 451, people value entertainment above all things. This entertainment takes many forms, from driving fast on the highway to watching endless shows on the parlor walls. Life is all about the pursuit of material pleasure. Mildred, for example, shows just how absorbing and consuming this entertainment can be. She truly believes that the "Family" love her and she plans her life around watching their shows.

Secondly, society places a high value on happiness. When Beatty is explaining the origins of the fireman system to Montag, for example, he tells him that censorship began as a means of preventing certain social groups from being offended and upset. In other words, keeping people happy became the sole interest of this society. Rather ironically, however, this society has created the very opposite of happiness: Mildred's suicide attempt in Part One, for instance, suggests that the citizens of this society are secretly very depressed and unfulfilled.

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