What are some examples of lack of indepedant thought in Fahrenheit 451?

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belarafon eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One excellent example of conformist or non-independent thought comes early in the novel, when Mildred explains an interactive television play to Montag. In the play, there is a part missing, and the actors pause to allow the viewer to speak a line, pretending to be part of the play:

"Here, for instance, the man says, 'What do you think of this whole idea, Helen?' And he looks at me sitting here centre stage, see? And I say, I say --" She paused and ran her finger under a line in the script. "'I think that's fine!' And then they go on with the play until he says, 'Do you agree to that, Helen!' and I say, 'I sure do!' Isn't that fun, Guy?"
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

The television screens do not broadcast out, of course, and many millions of other viewers will be repeating the same lines at the same time. This behavior, and the fact that Mildred sees nothing unusual about it (not to mention that the play literally has no plot) shows how deeply the society is addicted to its meaningless entertainment, and how powerfully controlled they are by the government. Montag, already in the grips of individualistic thought, thinks the idea is ridiculous, but says nothing, allowing Mildred to remain in her unthinking bubble.