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In the novel and movie, Fahrenheit 451, there were clear differences between the two programs. The main reason with a high number of contrasts is because of characters. This is due to some characters were only present in the novel but taken out in the movie or included in both the novel and film, but possess different characteristics. For example, Mildred, Montag’s wife is nowhere to be seen in the movie, resulting in the movie not having a way to properly symbolize the lack of love and communication in the dystopia.
The Mechanical Hound is another example of a character only being present in the novel, which cause the movie’s plot to change drastically. Without the Hound, there is no way to represent Montag’s guilt. Another character called Clarisse McCllelan is present in both the book and film, but she has different roles. The contrasts of characters between the book and the movie means a different plot.
The first character that had a huge difference is Mildred.
In the novel, she was introduced as the wife of the main character, Guy Montag. She was first introduced with her overdosing on pills which resulted in her stomach being pumped like a snake and not even remeber attemping suicide. After that, Mildred was described wearing seashells in her ears then having Montag to ask her if she felt okay. “She looked up suddenly, saw him and nodded. “‘You all right?’” he asked. She was an expert at lip reading from ten years of apprenticeship at Seashell ear thimbles.
She nodded again,” (Bradbury 18). This shows that Mildred and potentially other people in this society do not actually listen to what people say. Mildred attempts to read what Montag was saying instead of listening. Her nodding to her husband’s question just shows she does not remember when she overdosed. In addition, another problem in this society is unhealthy use of technology. Mildred watches parlor television but starts to call them her family. “‘Millie? Does the White Clown love you?’ No answer.” This quote displays that Mildred does not want to deny she loves the parlors than her husband and this is because the use of technology; becoming distracted and being unaware of her surroundings. On the other hand, the movie does not include Mildred, which removes the symbolism of no love or being distracted by technology. Or in other words, this alternate the main key elements from the book since Montag escapes the dystopia due to Mildred snitching and him finding the place he truly belongs to, but that obviously can’t happen in the film. The only character similar to Mildred is Yuxie since Mildred was only obsessed with technology and Yuxie is a piece of technology that could be an object in the future that does speak and even asked Montag if he was feeling alright at some points (Bahrani).
The Mechanical Hound is another character is not seen in the movie, but it was really important in the novel. This Hound was necessary to have in the novel because that is a symbolism representing Montag’s guilt. It’s a piece of technology made in the shape of a dog programmed to kill any person that breaks any of the society’s rules with a needle that extends from its nose. However, it was only targeted for Montag, which Beatty tells him that he is just overreacting. In addition, the Mechanical Hound also represents the dangers of technology for the purpose of annihilation. “It made a single last leap into the air coming down at Montag from a good three feet over his head, its spidered legs reaching, the procaine needle snapping… Montag caught it with a bloom of fire” (Bradbury 120). This proves that the Hound was almost successful at catching Montag and shows one of the reasons why Montag knew he had to escape from the dystopia he lived in. Contrasting from the book, all of these factors have a massive impact on the movie’s plot since without the Hound, there is no clear representation of Montag’s guilt, nor the government controlling how people live in this society. Therefore, no plot of an innocent man being killed or how Montag escapes the dystopia is also present which are the one of the important parts in the novel. there is a somewhat unsaid explanation of the evil the government has and uses on the people. Shown in the book, the Hound demonstrates harm on those who do not follow the guidelines of the corrupt government. In the movie, the producers make it seem like they are being harmed by the firemen and the firemen do not correspond with the government. It seems that there is just media on the firemen and no clear control of the government, but rather it shows the control and power that the firemen have. For example, the media concentrates on only the firemen’s actions and demenstations and it is believed by the audience that the firemen are all in power and control over the natives and “Eels” (Bahrani). The character is modified to Firemen Douglas, who is the one to find out what Montag is watching over Montag’s actions as ordered by Beatty, similar to the actions of the Hound watching over Montag and finding out he was part of the rebellion.
The last difference is traits and storyline of Clarisse McClellan. In the novel, Clarisse is a teenager and is different from the other kids in the society. This is because she wants nothing to do with violence, she can really process information and she does not watch television. Instead, she prefers to walk in her free time and start conversations, especially with Montag. ‘’You’re one of the few who put up with me. That’s why I think it’s so strange you’re a fireman, it just doesn’t seem right for you, somehow’” (Bradbury 23-24). This shows that Clarisse has the ability to observe and acts like a mirror for Montag, which means that she makes him ask himself and reflect on his job and action in the near future. As well as informing him that his traits do not match of a fireman. Unfortunately, Clarisse gets hit by a car, resulting in her death.. However, in the movie, Clarisse is the same age as Montag and has a relationship with him. Shown after the death scene of the old woman dying, both Clarrise and Montag are tied in love by the guilt of not saving the old woman. Montag, being the one who was able to save her but didn’t understand the truth and was brainwashed by Beatty and societies negative propaganda on the “Eels”. Clarrise, on the other hand, feels guilty because she is sided with the “Eels”, but also sided with the firemen and exposed the old lady’s location and crime (Bahrani). She soon regrets this as she understands that it is the wrong decision to snitch on the lady as she had the majority of the original books. Although it is mentioned in the book, in the movie, she was alive throughout the entire film. Clarisse not influencing Montag was huge since she started the entire plot. She was the only reason Montag was able to feel the emotions he wanted to at the end of the novel.
All in all, the characters that were included and disincluded from the novel both show crucial roles in the final decision of Montag deciding to “break” and try to rebuild society with books. Some characters that were disincluded from the movie, such as Mildred and Hound, played crucial roles to Montag’s final decision that were disincluded from the film. For example, Mildred was essentially the embodiment of society, the addiction to technology and the corruption of opinion. She was the one to show the reader that this was the life in this future society and even in this life, she was still upset and unhappy, unlike the goal of the new society. Hound, on the other hand, provided the reader with how advanced technology took over and it also provided the reader with the sense that the government has too much power over the people. Both characters that were not included in the film brought attention to the world around them and showed the reader that the world was a dystopia and Montag wanted to change that with books with the help of the “Eels”.
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