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When people think about major issues they normally think of topics such as wars or politics, however many other concerns like technology or government are becoming even greater issues. In the novel, Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury, many issues are portrayed throughout the novel such as technology, government, and teenagers that affect how people behave on a day to day basis. The use of books is seen as a threat in the society, so technology takes over with immense television sets, seashells which play the role of earbuds, and even a mechanical hound.
The government goes along with the idea of not having any books and instead uses propaganda and censorship to control its citizens. Teenagers are raised with this idea of only using technology, therefore they are unable to learn social skills and in school they are taught more about technology than anything else. The technology is then handed down to young children, so it is a never-ending cycle of a technology-based lifestyle.
These seemingly harmless issues are becoming more prominent in the 21st century as well. Technology is becoming more significant, the government is censoring more, and teenagers are becoming less social. Technology, government, and teenagers are the top three issues addressed in the society in Fahrenheit 451, for they pose a threat to later generations.
To start, technology is one of the main issues addressed in Fahrenheit 451. Books are banished from the community so technology is used all day every day in their society, even in school. In their education, children are given an hour of TV class, an hour of a sport, and another hour of history or painting.
This schooling is not very beneficial to students when it comes to academics and at-home responsibilities. Technology also does not provide the learning capabilities of how to interact with others. Many people claim to be social, but social may mean talking and getting to know people to one person and to another just gathering with friends and sitting on their phones is socializing. Another advancement of technology in the society in the novel is the mechanical hounds. These hounds are used to track down anyone who may pose a threat to their environment. They inject a drug to anesthetize the person, which prevents them from being able to move or escape. Another major technological development is parlor walls which are their societies televisions. They are full wall TV’s and many characters like Mildred complain about only having three parlor walls and not four. They want to be completely engulfed in their television and break free from their problems. Furthermore, the actors and actresses in many shows are seen as relatives to many characters in the novel. These relatives distract them from the real issues and problems they may be having like depression or thinking of attempting suicide. An example of this is when Mildred overdoses on drugs, “The small bottle of sleeping tablets which earlier today had been filled with thirty capsules and which lay uncapped and empty in the light of the tiny flare” (Bradbury 11). Mildred had attempted to commit suicide and is in danger of death until two men came to their house. They put a machine around her and it sucked the poison out of her, so she would not die. They say they get around nine to ten cases a night where they need to use the special machine, which shows how unhappy many citizens are in this society. This just goes to show how technology is ruining their lives and is one of the major issues in Fahrenheit 451.
On the other hand, the government and society in Fahrenheit 451 play a huge role in how their citizens behave and act. Censorship is what they use to control what everyone is seeing, doing, and believing in. The government, however, did not start this censorship, but the people did. As technology begins growing more and more at an unprecedented rate, reading books becomes a waste of time and effort. Through this censorship there becomes shorter, simpler, and fewer sources to read from. Many authors and professors lost their jobs due to a lack of reading and further academics. Furthermore, the government did not want to offend anyone so, controversy becomes non-existent. Books becomes banned when people start to say that they can lead to too much knowledge over someone else, which shows the censorship of the government. The power of technology takes away from freedom of speech and being able to express yourself in their society. Also, propaganda is used to influence the citizens of what they think and believe in. An example of this is how they portray books, for example when they state books are evil and they should be burned. On the other hand, they show technology as helpful and as if it is a good use of time when all it is doing is wasting it. In fact, war is even going on in their society, however, they are all too preoccupied watching their shows and complaining that they don’t even realize what is going on. Even the wives and families of military men do not seem to care about what is going on as one of them says, “He’ll be back next week. The Army said so. Quick war. Forty-eight hours they said, and everyone home” (Bradbury 90). They seem to act like this is something that happens often. Not to mention the wives do not care if their husband dies in a war because they can just get a new one. One wife even goes on to say that she and her husband agreed about not crying if one of them were to die since this is their third marriage each. It is noticeable that the relationship between the wife and husband is not very strong and could lead to later depression and sadness. As it can be seen, the society and government is just another issue that is talked about in the novel Fahrenheit 451.
One major issue many people do not think about is teenagers. They may seem harmless, but they have a greater impact than many think. Teenagers have become very violent and lots of citizens are scared of them as one character, Clarisse, states, “Sometimes I’m ancient. I’m afraid of children my age. They kill each other” (Bradbury 27). Many other children are afraid of the actions these other people may cause. Clarisse goes on to say that around fifteen children she knows have been killed either by gunshot or car wrecks. Likewise, the protagonist, Montag, had almost been run over by a car of rowdy teenagers who are trying to run him over. These young men and women are threatening and scaring older individuals which is alarming. Teenagers are also inheriting the idea that technology is the best. As they are children they are brought up with an overabundance of technology. This then leads to the fact of how the school is not helping but hurting the youth as they grow up to be teenagers. Schools in their society are not for learning, but more of a daycare while parents are at work. The students are not allowed to ask questions and are told the answer and that is it. Also, many teenagers when they get together with friends just sit on their phones, which does not signify socially interacting at all. Also, if individuals are not on your phone all the time in this society, they are seen as an outcast and as if they have an idiosyncrasy. Citizens in the society in Fahrenheit 451 must learn the risk they have by not teaching their children the consequences of their actions. Many teenagers cause a threat to society and that is why they are a major issue in Fahrenheit 451.
The top three issues explained in the novel, Fahrenheit 451, are the overuse and overabundance of technology, the censored and propaganda filled government, and the violent, technology-obsessed teenagers. Technology takes over their society by individuals breaking away from literature and becoming engulfed in TV shows. The government uses censorship and propaganda to know what a person is learning, knowing, and teaching at all times. Lastly, the teenagers are inheriting these bad habits with technology and are being taught to follow the deceiving government. This is important because it gives people an insight into what the author is trying to project through the book and what he wanted to warn people of happening later. Parts of these issues that are said in the novel are being shown in the 21st century as well. Overuse of technology, the government censoring what everyone knows and does not know, and teenagers are becoming dangerous for today’s society. Yes, today’s society is not as extreme as the society within the book is, but steps need to be taken to ensure today’s society does not come to that point. The foreshadowing throughout the novel, of what might happen next, leads to the discovery of how technology, government, and teenagers are the issues most prominent issues in the novel.
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