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Analysis

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Fantasy and science fiction are closely intertwined, and Fahrenheit 451 falls into both genres. No time machine carries the reader into this dark future, but Bradbury takes a seemingly unreal world and makes every element of it real and credible. From the technicians who apathetically pump the stomachs and transfuse the blood of the unhappy many who take daily drug overdoses to the blaring multiwalled televisions, Bradbury’s attention to detail makes this nightmare seem plausible, vivid, and alive.

Fahrenheit 451 fits clearly into the utopia-dystopia motif that appeared in science fiction literature throughout the twentieth century. Whereas utopian fiction presents an idyllic world or society, dystopian fiction often portrays the individual’s struggle against the implacable state in an ugly, depressing world. To illustrate two types of dystopias, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World (1932) is a frightening view of a technology-obsessed future, and George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-four (1949) is an appalling picture of an absolute dictatorship’s effect on the human psyche. Bradbury’s novel is a confluence of these dystopias. The brain-dead media and faster cars of the future (technology) add to the suffocation of individuals in a sterile State in which reading and thinking are outlawed (dictatorship).

Fahrenheit 451

(The entire section is 408 words.)