The theme of Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury contains a setting of a world where society itself was destructive. In this story characters and society are portrayed to be soulless and self-centered. Immoral things such as killing in this society have no affect on characters and ignorance is considered as the norm. By the setting containing an environment where life has no importance and entertainment is more valuable, this aspect does affect the characters’ attitude, decisions and general behavior entirely. There are a few examples that describe perfectly how the setting impacts the character such as Clarisse, Mildred and Guy. Even though all characters are set in a dystopia, not all characters react the same way. Most characters are consumed by their surrounding, while the setting reflects others.
In the scene where Montag and Clarisse had their first encounter, the mood is set as romantic and relaxing. The city streets are empty and calm with the moon shining down and creating a silhouette as the wind lightly blows through them. It isn’t a cold night but refreshing. Clarisse walks slowly towards him enjoying every moment of the wind brushing against her body and hair. Everything seems to be in slow motion where there is no cars rushing down the road. The streets are quite and full of tranquility. The only characters that are walking down the street are Clarisse and Montag. This setting reflects on the true nature of Clarisse’s personality. The setting describes a relaxing atmosphere where everything seems to fall into place and this is how Clarisse attitude is towards life it self. The general behavior of this character shows how the little things are what matters, enjoying the surrounding and admire the small things, which was no longer appreciated.
Unlike Clarisse, Mildred is a city girl who needs to feel the rush. Her attitude towards life made her fit perfectly in the society she was set in. only caring for the thrill and anything that would keep her distracted at the moment. In the scene where Guy shows Mildred the hidden books he has collected throughout the year, one can see how the setting explains Mildred’s behavior towards her husband and society. In the scene where both character is located in their home everything seemed to be separated, Mildred had her parlor while Guy has an empty room. The atmosphere is dry and cluttered, giving the feeling of a non-welcoming home. In the scene when Guy takes the books out from the ventilator to show Mildred, the secret he has been hiding from her for so many year, Mildred looks down to the books as if the floor has open and let out a family of rodents. She slides down the wall as if the universe crashed into million of pieces. Fearful of what lies ahead, she trembles and asks Guy to stop himself before he get any deeper then what he is in. This setting not only shows the emptiness between Mildred and Guy but also how weak and influenced by society Mildred is.
One of the scene were setting can be seen as a huge impact is when Guy Montag is in the subway. This scene is described as a dark place with jet-black tiles. The atmosphere is full of emptiness and helplessness. Guy Montag is shown to be an emotional mess, confused by his thoughts and physically numb. As he looked at the Bible and tried to understand as much as he could from the book, he remembered a moment in his childhood when he was tying to fill a sieve with sand. This memory compared the words of the Bible to the sand. He felt as if the words were slipping out of his mind because he couldn’t concentrate over the loud announcement repeating itself in the train stations radio.
When he notices he wouldn’t collect any information because of the distraction Guy went into frenzy. Guy yelled trying to over come the voices of the train station radio. The place itself is a trap to Montag and he is not able to breathe or concentrate. Slowly, Montag gives up and hopes someone will come to his rescue, to take him back to his old life when things were simpler. One can see how the setting causes anger and frustration in Montag. This setting shows how Montag’s internal point of view can be express through the tiles of the subways. This setting supports Montag’s frustration and sees how it affects his behavior in general.
As shown through out the essay setting contains a huge impact on the characters. Setting is nothing more then an extension of the character itself. The best example is the setting of Guy Montag in the train. Everything seems to foreshadow an event were something bad is going to happen from the tiles to the atmosphere of the place that was described. Though the characters play out the events of the story, the setting is what makes the character react and behave the way it does. In scene when Montag meets Clarisse the setting is what showed her true behavior and all the aspect of Clarisse. A setting is more then just a place but in general it is what impacts the characters to behave and react as they do in the story.
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Topic: Theme of Fahrenheit 451
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