One versus the Rest Essay
One versus the Rest
Through a story about a society of people who have lost touch with their humanity and history while allowing themselves to become victims of propaganda and censorship. These people have become mindless and naïve. The science fiction film Fahrenheit 451 was directed by François Truffaut. This film predicted that the future is to become greatly dependent on technology implications for immediate happiness. The fact that the growth of television and technology has driven the people not to read has become a deficit to society. Seeing the struggles that one person goes through and it effecting his job, the internal conflict that has been brought upon him. Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Ray Bradbury, the film is about a future in which a fireman, whose duty it is to destroy all books, and then begins to question his task.
In the future, a totalitarian government employs a force to seek out and destroy all literature. Montag, one of the fireman runs into his neighbor, Clarisse who is a schoolteacher whose job is hanging by a thread due to her unorthodox views. The two then have a discussion about his job, where she asks if he ever reads the books he burns. Starting to become curious Montag begins to hide books in his house. This leads to conflict with his wife (Linda), who is more concerned about being a member of The Family, an interactive television program that refers to its viewers as “cousins”. The captain talks with Montag at length about how books change people and make them want to be better than others.
A middle-aged woman who was seen with Clarisse a few times is called the book collector, having a hidden library within her house. Once caught with books she refuses to leave her house, opting instead to burn herself and the house so she can die with her books. Returning home that day, Montag tries to tell Linda and her friends about the woman who martyred herself in the name of books and calls them out on knowing nothing about what’s going on in the world, calling them “zombies” and telling them they’re just “killing time”. Disturbed over Montag’s behavior, Linda’s friends try to leave, but Montag stops them by forcing them to sit and listen to a novel passage. During the reading, Linda’s friend breaks down crying, now fully aware of the feelings she repressed over the years. Meanwhile Linda’s other friends leave in disgust over Montag’s alleged cruelty.
Montag meets with up Clarisse and helps her break back into her house to destroy papers that would bring the Firemen to the book people. She tells him of the “book people,” a hidden sect of people who disobey the law, each of them have memorized a single book to keep it alive. Montag tells the captain he is resigning, but tells the captain that he will do one last call. That last call happens to be his house. Linda leaves the house, telling Montag that she couldn’t live with his book obsession and leaves him. Angrily, while breaking things to find the books and throwing them to the floor, he destroys the bedroom and television before setting fire to the books. The captain lectures him about the books, and pulls a last book from Montag’s coat, for which Montag kills him. He escapes and finds the book people, where he views his “capture” on television.
Within a communist society, social control falls in multiple layers. Social control is the process of socialization and for the people to be obedient, to keep all things under control. A society, whose overarching value is happiness, believing that they are getting what they want but end up not getting it and the society still remaining unhappy. The firemen who seem to be the only force are seen as the main social control in this film. The media, making the people obedient by sucking them into the TV, makes the society think that ignorance is bliss. The media which are portraying another version of social control but this time causing the people to be sucked into the walls and to watch TV.
In Fahrenheit 451, medication is high. It’s like the people of this society are always drugged up on pills, for example, Linda is obsessed with sleeping pills and often abused them. Norms within this movie are apparent. It’s a norm that the people of the society are zombies, knowing nothing about what is going on around them, they only know what is going on within the television, the family. Other norms come within the firehouse and the firemen. It’s a norm that the firemen burn all books to keep the society happy, or what they think is happy. They also are all means of social control; they are the police men as well. To go along with social control the people themselves are as well, having the media make people obedient makes social control for the city that much easier.
The book people, the secret sect where the people who read books can go and be happy without any problems. That’s the only sign of a sanction in this movie. In Fahrenheit 451 the people predict what they want, they live bland lives that makes them unhappy. Not knowing what’s going on around them makes them completely oblivious to their surroundings.
What types of social structures and stratifications exist in Fahrenheit 451? Fahrenheit 451 was filmed to show that the elders were respected, seen as more intelligent than others and are portrayed to have more experience. Then there are the layers of stratification, the readers vs. non-readers, and the people with jobs and then there is the media. The people with the jobs are the firefighters; they are there to maintain people’s happiness within the city. Then the media comes into play, where they tell people everything that they want to hear, so once they hear it they are content and can keep living their lives.
On the other hand there is the thought of genders. The fact that certain genders play a certain role in this movie goes along the lines of “Who does what?” In Fahrenheit 451 females are portrayed as being walked on by the media or by their husbands. They gossip and watch the walls to prove that they are a part of the community yet sit around and do nothing. In this film kids were seen as a burden to the society, considering there are only three kids seen throughout the whole film.
Throughout the film, social institutions are rarely shown or even heard about. Yes, there’s a mention on school systems, teachers and books, yet there is a lack of evidence proving that they are a huge part of society. The one school that was shown in the film was very plain, it was proven to look more like a prep school, and they were orderly and organized. Education was valued in a way yet it still didn’t involve critical thinking because the teachers were not allowed to issue out books. Then there is the fire station, the building that is considered on top. The manipulation of the media and the news that was put on people was a big portion of the film. The medical institution, with just two guys that can drive to the homes and take out all the blood of an individual who has overdosed and just swish it around put it back into the person and the person be fine within a few hours. That shows that there is sign of a future being built in yet such an impossible form.
Family in Fahrenheit 451 was not valued. There is no sign of family, marriage was rarely shown itself. To the fact that Linda and Montag rarely show that they are married just proves that work was more important than family was, and making sure people didn’t break the laws was more valued. As far as politics go, there is a slight mention of them or there is a showing that there is some form of politics. This is shown because the government clearly controls the fact the books need to be banned. Religion, there is a hint of religion throughout the movie. For example, the lady that burns her own house down so that she can die with her books. There is also a hint of religion behind the fact that there are husband and wives around yet that concept isn’t important to the people.
How does one get to social change? Well to answer that, some conflict in the past must have occurred that decided that it was in the best interest of the people to ban books because they made people sad. The books made people feel feelings that weren’t realistic to them. The changes that have come with banning the books is eternal happiness but in reality no one in the movie is actually happy.
Throughout the movie, conflict is shown in many ways. Montag himself goes through internal conflict. For example after he talks to Clarisse and she asks him if he reads the book he that he burns it makes him wonder. It parallels his expansion of reading. The internal conflict he goes through is that reading books goes against his job. Later on in the movie though, the book people are introduced and there is a level of humanity that is seen. The books don’t make them sad, they make them happy, happy enough to memorize whole books and recite them to one another.
Population, for once is not as so technologically advanced as other movies have been but the advancement is there. The houses all looked the same as if they lived in a complex. Yet, at the fire house they had fire poles that could be used to go up and down not just up. Friendships are not seen throughout this film at all. Not one is seen, the people were so drowned into “the walls” that friendship is rarely portrayed in the movie.
The war throughout the film is just the war between the people who read and the people who don’t care. Although in the book when Montag flees from the city and looks behind him there is a big mushroom cloud that is hovering over the city, symbolizes that there was a nuclear war there, but in the film there was no sign of war. The only touch of war that is mentioned in the film is when Montag calls out Linda’s friends on being ignorant about the world. Here he mentions a war that the government is keeping from the public by disguising it as “field training” for men who have been drafted.
How can the people have all this technology around them in Fahrenheit 451 and not read at all? Well first off and foremost, the technology is used for granted in this film. The people may be technologically advanced in some aspects but the technology is being used wrong. When they could be watching what’s going on in the city through the TV’s, instead they believe that they can talk to the people in the TV. The people were so clueless that they believed they had two-way TV’s.
Medical technology is at a constant high, no doctors seen or heard of. There’s also stimulus that is seen throughout the film that are taken in pill form. As well as the automobile system for the fireman, the fire trucks that only allowed the Captain and driver to sit down as the rest of the shift had to stand and hold on while the truck was in motion.
With trains and elevators the people had a way to get around the city, but never did so unless going to and from work. Then there are the firemen, who have the more futuristic ways of transportation, such as the jet pack machines as well as the helicopter that was used in search of Montag. The technology is taken for granted in that it isn’t shown being used often; it doesn’t seem to be of importance or of any value.
The environment in this film was not considered to be a major role. It is clear that the built environment was again more important than the natural environment. To back up the previous statement, the built environment was based on the suburbs. The most modern building though was the firehouse; the fact that it was so big made it look like it belonged in an actual city. School systems as well, they were built as if they were big city schools with elevators in them that showed an obscene amount of buttons to make the building look bigger. The houses were the only things that were technologically advanced in this film. Being able to have the freedom of sliding doors as well as a TV that supposedly talks to people is astounding.
How plausible is the future envisioned in this film? Specifically, does the author provide a convincing account of how censorship became so rampant in this society? As noted one of the themes is censorship. The future envisioned in this film is brought about by many different factors that may or may not relate directly to censorship. This society is characterized by fast cars, violence, and invasive television programming. To answer this question effectively, the viewer first has to combine a number of these fragmented factors to form the best explanation of this future that he or she can. Then the reader would have had to evaluate the explanation by weighing the individual factors. This film does portray a possible scenario in the future. The elements of the film show what society will look like in the future. Very distanced from one another, communication is lowering as if it didn’t matter anymore. This society being portrayed as a dystopia helps in all aspects.
The film doesn’t need a better message, the themes and works of this movie make it very obvious about what the viewer should portray. All pieces from the statement above prove that the film is a picture of what society will look like in future. Technology based homes as well as two-way TV’s that will be able to help the people communicate from their homes without any face to face interactions. Making it so that communication is lost is all aspects besides through technology.
Is this a good representation of the future? This film is what the society will be like what is expected in the future. Very distanced from one another as well as communicating through technology and avoiding face to face contact the majority of the time.
Fahrenheit 451 holds an 83% positive rating among top film critics based on 30 reviews, and a 70% positive audience rating based on 23,863 user ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. The budget on this film during the time that it was filmed was approximately 1.5 million dollars. The film was nominated for many awards. This film was awarded the BAFTA award. In 1967- Julie Christie was nominated for best British actress. This film was also nominated for the Hugo Award. Around 1967 this film was nominated for best dramatic presentation.
Also during a film festival Francois Truffaut was nominated for a Golden Lion. Martin Scorsese called Fahrenheit 451 an “underrated picture” and has said to have strongly influenced his own films. Also, author Ray Bradbury found the film to be “poignant and moving” and has used this influence in a few of his works. Lastly what does Fahrenheit 451 actually represent? The answer is the temperature at which books start to burn at. Internal conflict and censorship, a movie and book based off the same story but with completely different meanings.
Subject: Ray Bradbury,
University/College: University of Chicago
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 13 January 2017
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