What are some examples of the theme of mass media in Fahrenheit 451?

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teachersage's profile pic

teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

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In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury illustrates that mindless consumption of mass media can lead to citizens in a society losing their freedom and being brainwashed by a ruling elite. Montag is horrified by the television people consume:

A great thunderstorm of sound gushed from the walls. Music bombarded him at such an immense volume that his bones were almost shaken from their tendons; he felt his jaw vibrate, his eyes wobble in his head. He was a victim of concussion. When it was all over he felt like a man who had been thrown from a cliff, whirled in a centrifuge and spat out over a waterfall that fell and fell into emptiness and emptiness and never-quite-touched-bottom-never-never-quite-no not quite-touched-bottom. . . and you fell so fast you didn't touch the sides either. . . never. . . quite. . . touched. . . anything.

Unlike Montag, his wife Mildred becomes addicted to mindless television shows. She believes the characters she encounters on television are her friends and has become so afraid of thinking that, when Montag insists on reading to her, she reports him for the crime of having books. When Montag is trying to escape and the government is in pursuit, this is treated as a media entertainment event, a form of reality television, except that, when Montag really does elude capture, the reader sees the government lies to its people and tells them Montag has been killed: "an announcer on the dark screen said, 'The search is over, Montag is dead; a crime against society has been avenged.'" Instead, Montag has joined a movement of people dedicated to reading and preserving knowledge.

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npoore84's profile pic

npoore84 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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The novel Fahrenheit 451 is devoted to portraying what a futuristic American society could look like. Society in Fahrenheit 451 is hit constantly with messages and imagery from the mass media. Instead of residents having a television in their homes where they recieve the messages, they live in thier homes and the walls in the homes act portray the messages. Scense constantly and rapidly changes with bright images designed to produce distraction and satisfaction.

Mildred, Guy Montag's wife is constantly bombarded with the messages and is seen as one with "seashell ear timbles."

Bradbury portrays mass media throughout the novel as a veil that obscures real experiences the characters have and prohibits them from having real deep thoughts. They are restricted from having any kind of deep thinking about thier lives, families, and any issue that is occurring in society. 

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