A Dystopian Society in Fahrenheit 451

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A dystopian society is where authorities manipulate people to think in a particular way such that they do not understand that their rights are being violated. In such societies, people usually suffer silently without making effort to change their situation. In the novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury typically warns against loving the pleasure brought about by technological advancements to the extent where emotional connectedness is lost. Substituting love for one another for love of technology leads to emotional disconnectedness that can lead to adverse effects such as suicides. The artificial happiness that the society created is self-destructive. With its perfumed sensuousness of imagery incorporating extravagant sounds, smells, and sights, the Bradbury engages his readers to establish the voices of protest, celebration of nonconformity creativity and individualism that characterize the complacency existing in the culture of masses. He identifies a dystopian society as a nation or country where authoritarianism is practised. Authoritarianism leads to enactment of harsh rules that punish those that are against popular views, the pursuit of equality and sameness enslaves people. When people fail to protest against government strategies that limit their rights, massive dehumanization follows and the citizens are forced to live in constant fear. Al attempts to infringe rights seek to manipulate people to behave in a particular way. For instance, prohibition of book reading and accessing information that can make them change their perspective of thinking and risers against the status quo. For instance, they enact rules seeking to ensure everyone to stay at home and watch television that contains material that is controlled by the government.

How Violation of Altruistic and Empathetic values Leads to Dystopia

Dystopia entails an imaginary world that is dominated by misery. Dystopian societies are characterized by totalitarianism, torture, and murdering dissidents, endless loveless sex and media propaganda and broadcasts. The science-fiction book, Fahrenheit 451, one of the most popular novels, extrapolates how a typical deplorable dystopian community behaves (Bloom and Hobby 73). This essay uses Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 to demonstrate that deterioration of altruistic and empathetic values in the community foreshadows the downfall of the society and development of a dystopian environment.

Entertainment and Technology

In the society of Fahrenheit 451 entertainment is the most valuable thing than anything. The entertainment ranges from fast-driving on highways to parlour endless shows. The level at which the entertainment is absorbing and time-consuming to people that love it is expressed Mildred. More specifically, she works and saves to buy screens to cover all her living room walls. She has developed a belief that love life is dictated by watching shows that she loses her connection with her husband as portrayed in Bradbury (p.23)

Montag: Will you turn the parlour off?

Mildred: That is my family:

Montag: Will you turn it off for a sick man?

Mildred: I will turn it down

She goes out of the room and did nothing to the parlour and came back.

Mildred: is that better?

Montag: Thanks

The emotional disconnection in the society leads to adverse consequences such as suicide and violence. When Clarisse asks Montag about the love between him and his wife, is in love, Montag grows curious. The scenario indicates that shifting from love to materials as the fabric of the family leads to the creation of a dystopian society.

Detrimental Change of Societal Roles

After houses have become fireproof, Montag and his fellow firemen change their roles from fire extinguishers to fire starters. Eventually, they are employed in destroying materials that are essential for enlightening the society. Instead of offering protection against fire, the fireman becomes a burner of reading materials such as books and magazines. Books are demonized because they make people question ideas. However, such change of roles indicates how dystopian societies develop. More specifically, it limits people’s access to information. By regulating their reading habits, it is possible to prevent people from questioning their authorities and their current circumstances.

Literature controls can entail censorships such as rewriting of history, the deification of dictators and encouraging spouse and children to spy and betray their parents.  For instance, Mildred reports her husbands' sneaking of books into the house. There is no room for reminding people about their history in the existing way of life. Instead, television is the primary source of creating a worldview. One of the major reasons for burning books include book authorship include disagreement among and an assertion that reading limits living a good life “You know the law. Where’s your common sense. None of these books agree with each other” (Bradbury 18). However, making books and institutions enemies of the state is an encouragement of illiteracy in a society, which is an enemy to progress. Therefore, shifting from celebrating literature as expressed by Bradbury precedes formation of a dystopian society.

Limitation of People’s Rights

When the public accepts censorships, harsh rules that punish those that are against popular views, a dystopian society is created. The authoritative usually cite pursuit for equality and sameness among people, but the process eventually violates the rights of people as the primary cause of infringement as suggested by Bradbury; “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal…a book is a loaded gun loaded next door. Burn it. Take the shot from it. Who knows who might be the target of the well? I won’t stomach them for a minute “(Bradbury 28). The statement denotes the limitation of access to information by the government that is unquestioned by people. A slippery slope emerges, especially when the infringement extends others such as the right to free movement of citizens. People that loiter in the neighbourhood are arrested. For instance, For example, Clarisse McClellan is perceived as a rebel because she enjoys forbidden things such as observing nature and walking in the rain. In another case, Clarisse tells Montag that her uncle was arrested for being a pedestrian. However, banning walking around limits critical thinking because they limit people from gathering to share ideas that can eventually lead to questioning their current situation, which indicates a dystopian society is formed through indirect control or infringement of the rights of people.

Failure to Address Important Things

Excessive celebration of the culture of consumerism spells a catastrophic future because it makes people abandon their humanistic tendencies because of greed for power and money, leading to brutality, stupidity, and lack of care for one another, which can turn out to be a recipe for destruction of the entire human race. Bradbury asserts that Montag’s wife used to live like a zombie and took tranquilizers, indicating how dystopian societies cast a blind eye to the adverse effects of their consumerism practices such as depression with a notion of creating equality and sameness in a dystopian society.

Dystopia in the Contemporary Society

It is valid to aver that Fahrenheit 451

is a reflection of the west where technological advancements are highly celebrated. For instance, courtesy of the Patriot Act, the government tracks the citizens reading habits on the basis of the books that they borrow from libraries. With the invention of web technology, such tracking is easier because the browsing histories can reflect on the sites that people prefer to visit when browsing matter of fact, during trials, the electronic trails on the browsers can be used as evidence (Ventura & Russell 12). More specifically, the materials on the public domain are usually controlled. More foreign materials than local ones are available, thereby making people unaware of what is actually affecting them, which is a profound characteristic of a dystopian society. With such strategy, there is limited circulation of magazines and books that are more enlightening to the masses.


In conclusion, Fahrenheit 451 typically suggests that formation of a dystopian society begins with violation of altruistic values. The process creates a world where no one wants to know or care about others. Controls on what people read and how they move are merely attempts by authorities to control the thoughts of its citizens, thereby limiting their thinking. Failure to address changes that compromise altruistic and empathetic values promotes infringements of people’s rights in such society. Eventually, dystopian life leads to regrets. The main illustration is the narration of Montag’s life. More specifically, the change of society from less dystopian to more dystopian changes him from a man that is happily married and a passionate employee to an individual that abandons everything to seek for purpose and value. In the long run, a society that entertains encroachment of dystopian policies is filled with regret. For instance, Montag realizes that it was wrong to enjoy burning books because they are a fundamental element of progress.

Works Cited

Bloom, Harold, and Blake Hobby. Alienation. New York: Bloom's Literary Criticism, 2009. Print

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.The Temperature at Which the Book-paper catches fire and Burns. Print

Ventura, Jesse, and Dick Russell. 63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read. New York: Skyhorse Pub, 2011. Print

September 11, 2023




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