Fahrenheit 451 Close Research Study
Ray Bradbury, author of Fahrenheit 451, places his readers to see the future world in a negative light. He sees the essence of mankind as individuality, the capability to form intimate relationships and to reflect on our lives. Numerous crucial characters are vital to the book’s plot and thematic issues. The awakening of mankind portrayed in Montag’s characterisation, recorded through Bradbury’s use of narrative voice and diction becomes, in my mind, inspirational. We are asked to question the worths that underpin this dystopia and this is necessary in forming our understanding of the values we need to all share.
Montag’s characterisation is inextricably linked to our understanding of other characters and forms our view of the book. When Clarisse faces Montag and the values of society, where people, “head for a Fun Park to bully people around.” since it is the norm. Clarisse’s character, like Montag’s, is crucial to the unique as she is, in a sense, a representation of the reader’s world. She, like us, worths independent thought, something dissuaded by the government. In an essential scene she asks Montag, “Are you happy?” This forces him to consider his life and his actions.
His thoughts in Bradbury’s stream of consciousness narrative: “Clarisse, Mildred, uncle, fire, sleeping tablet.” He shows difficulty in articulating his action which provides us an insight into how he “thinks little at all about nothing in specific”, from day to day. Clarisse, powered by a pressing interest, whom Beatty identifies a “time bomb”, works as the driver that urges Montag towards a necessary self-examination. Through their discussions she provokes his self awareness and reveals to him the lacks of love, enjoyment and contentment in his life.
Hence through characterisation Bradbury’s attack on meaningless conformity becomes clear to us as readers. Clarisse’s “odd” practices, asking concerns and having fun with flowers, introduces Montag to the world’s potential for appeal and significance. In characterising Clarisse’s gentle innocence and “unusual” interest Bradbury juxtaposes the artificial with the natural. In explaining the light in Clarisse’s face as, “not the hysterical light of electricity. but the uncommon and mild lovely light of the candle light.” he forms our views of the writer’s own hostility towards the artificiality of technology through the ejorative adjective, “hysterical” contrasted with the values he places on an easier life. The essence of mankind is lost to innovation and the shift far from nature is hence captured through Bradbury’s narrative voice and language functions. Bradbury likewise develops conflict in the novel through his characterisation of Beatty for whom books are considered “loaded weapons”. However this is simply a tool of power as the intentional dumbing down of the population; to keep them happy and oblivious. Captain Beatty factors that a book “breaches a male’s mind” and conflicts with society’s function; “we need to all be alike. This suggests the turning point of the conversation and why the inspiration for keeping people ignorant ends up being apparent. It has a sinister overtone suggesting injustice. Through Captain Beatty’s voice, readers notice the paradox and the issues that burning books raises; the loss of uniqueness and the ability to concern. This allows the authority to bend the society to its will without resistance and promotes the thinking: without books which “breach a male’s mind”, we are equivalent therefore, “delighted”. Captain Beatty goes on to state: “Don’t we provide fun? That’s all we live for, isn’t it? He thinks the meaning of our lives is “pleasure” and “titillation” and defends the “culture” of the society since it “provides lots of these”. Life is not simply minimal intellectual lives and hedonistic satisfaction. My view of the novel has actually been shaped by the characterisation of crucial characters. My main reaction to the book has been to fear the possibilities represented in this text. The loss of specific freedoms that I consider granted didn’t offer me anguish, however characters such as Montag and Clarisse reminds us of what we need to value; the nerve to speak out and act rather than just accept. Such actions motivate us.