Fahrenheit 451 & & Gattaca Comparative Study– Historic Context
Throughout time Sci-fi authors have produced their work, using the principle of dystopia as an approach to reveal their outlook and viewpoint on the issues within their existing societies, in which they are writing from. The author provides a message to the audience, informing them about the existing contextual issues and the possibility of the dystopias that are developed as a result. This is demonstrated in the unique Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury and the film Gattaca, directed by Andrew Niccol.
Both of these composers highlight their worries for the fate of their society through the structural and language functions of their texts. Ray Bradbury explores the value of using knowledge and independent thinking rather than blindly following the ‘rules’, without a reservation or question. Andrew Niccol utilizes the truth of clinical methods, attending to the responder of the instructions society is heading in and the deadly result of the future if we were to mess with the balance of nature. Like all texts, Fahrenheit 451 is an item of its time.
It was released in the early 1950s, during a time recuperating from The second world war and facing the Cold War, which triggered crucial contextual concerns of this duration. During the McCarthy period, the increase of the mass media contributed to the styles and concepts checked out by Bradbury’s dystopian fiction novel. These concepts consist of the danger of censorship, understanding vs. ignorance and the function of technology which are explored in a world where people are so hectic that they do not stop to think or discover appeal or to truly interact with individuals around them.
This is a world where the media feeds the minds of numbed masses whose greatest goal is joy; a goal that constantly avoids them. Although Gattaca was created many years afterwards, Andrew Niccol’s futuristic film likewise checks out the contextual concerns within his present society; the twenty-first century. Niccol looks at the function of science and innovation and the concerns that can come from being too dependent upon these. Gattaca provides us with a dystopic vision of the not-too-distant future if we are to continue to pursue excellence.
He challenges our principle on what it is to be an individual human being and what extent we are willing to go to prior to our morals and ethics are forgotten. This is displayed in the film through ideas such as fate vs. free will, organized discrimination and the function of nature and technology. A crucial issue that Bradbury has about the future that is straight associated to context is the risk of censorship. The Nazi book burnings in Germany in 1933 had been commonly publicised after The second world war. These book burnings became a major sign of the repression that followed in Nazi Germany.
The value of literature and the flexibility to read and write was a central issue of liberal-minded people throughout the 1950s, and this idea was common to Bradbury. In Fahrenheit 451, society has developed to such and extreme that literature is unlawful to possess. No longer can books read, not only since they might offend someone, but due to the fact that books raise questions that typically cause transformations and even anarchy. A major example of censorship is book burning, which with Bradbury’s use of importance reinforces the ideas of anti-censorship.
Fire is used symbolically to determine the problems of censorship and represents the destruction of books, individuals and society. Censorship worldwide includes book burning, manipulative parlor households, and the intolerance of those who try to be a person. Bradbury’s usage of meaning reinforces the ideas of anti-censorship. Fire is used symbol of censorship as it represents the damage of books, of people, and of society, nevertheless is used to conceal all things that the firemen’s propaganda does not enforce.
The very first sentence of the novel introduces the role of fire stating “It was a satisfaction to burn. It was a satisfaction to see things consumed, to see things blackened and changed”. Undoubtedly fire is a symbol of damage, however in this quote fire has several functions; it ruins the book in one sense, but in another it changes the book and even develops something new. Captain Beatty wishes to utilize fire to cleanse the world of knowledge, a thing that he believes is evil. He wishes to use fire to eliminate individuals’s memories and problems. He thinks that fire can damage anything and make problems vanish.
When he explains that cremation is very important to make people forget the dead, he says that they need to “Forget them. Burn all, burn whatever. Fire is bright and fire is tidy”. He thinks that the only method to have a peacefully and delighted society is to make individuals forget the past and neglect or forget anything that they do not like. This reflects back to the society after WWII and the motives of the Nazis– getting rid of thoughts and the past will result in peace and happiness. Bradbury likewise serves to warn us of the danger of lack of knowledge in this futuristic dystopia.
This again is reflective of the Nazi book burnings and the idea of people leaving behind understanding and becoming ‘blissfully’ ignorant of the past. In Fahrenheit 451 the fireman’s obligation is to ruin knowledge and promote lack of knowledge in order to guarantee equality. Ignorance, however, promotes suicide, poor decisions, and empty lives. When Beatty discovers Montag’s concealed collection of books, he explains that all firefighters end up being curious of books, and might have time to explore them for a brief time before disposing of them.
He then tells Montag about the state of the world: individuals are made material by their lack of knowledge. Those who genuinely know the world are unhappy, while those who are oblivious of it have an incorrect sense of joy. From this moment, Montag is provided the choice of adhering and living a synthetic but happy life, or seeking understanding and bearing the pain that accompanies it. In the novel, when Captain Beatty discusses the history of fire battling and the history of books.
He states, “Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio programs, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten-or-twelve-line dictionary resume.” Making use of an embellishment in this quote overemphasizes to make a point of how really short they are to him or compared to what they utilized to be, showing the lack of knowledge towards understanding and the past. Losing touch with nature and becoming reliant on innovation is an issue that Bradbury requires us to take a look at in Fahrenheit 451.
Bradbury utilizes personification to show this concept, describing technological equipment as animals and providing human attributes. “The Mechanical Hound slept however did not sleep, lived but did not reside in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly lit up kennel back in a dark corner of the firehouse.” This quote is a pure example of personification, where the mechanical hound, a mere machine, is referred to as having a character and behaviours similar to that of a person. Likewise, this quote can be revealed as an irony to the people in the society.
Another example of the being too reliant on innovation is the palor walls and the people of Fahrenheit 451 spend most of their time taken in by the info they are being fed, losing touch with the outdoors world, or nature and becoming entirely based on technology. Using personification once again, Bradbury specifies the machine used to ‘clear out’ his other half, Mildred as a “black cobra down an echoing well searching for all the old water and the old time gathered there”, when again describe a maker as an animal. The method he composes “This maker pumped all of the blood from the body and changed it with fresh blood and serum,” indirectly xplains the emptiness of the people’s souls in the society. This machine is pumping Mildred’s blood and we can say that Mildred is the ‘representative’ of the society. In this line, it mentions that the device can just replace the blood with new one, implying that there’s absolutely nothing precious in Mildred’s soul. Her life is simply loaded with nothingness, absolutely nothing to conceal and nothing to lose. Technology has stripped society of its character and identity. Niccol too explores the function of nature and technology in the futuristic dystopia he has actually produced in Gattaca.
He forces the responder to question the risks of unrestrained innovation. In the ‘not-to-distant future’, the world of Gattaca is where genetic modification has actually become the typical method to procreation. Overall the setting of the movie is rather serious and uncluttered and is dominated by people and symbolic places. This sterilized and cold society of elitist partnerships like Gattaca promotes competitors, seclusion and discrimination. This is something that threatens to individuals and relationships and reveals a big-headed belief to the world of science.
The movie starts with the quote “Consider Gods handwork: who can correct what he has actually made jagged” from Ecclesiastes 7:13, followed by the quote “I not only believe that we will tamper with Mother Nature, I think Mother Nature wants us to” from Willard, then cuts to extreme close ups of Vincent exfoliating, getting rid of fingernails, hair, skin pieces and eyelashes. Niccol really intricately puts the 2 quotes one after the other to force the responder to consider what being human genuinely is and how far is it prior to we’re ‘playing god’. This is extremely relevant to today’s society, as we continue to damage Nature.
Making use of the severe close-up of the pieces advises the audience of the concept of being ‘put under the microscopic lense’ reflects society’s fixation with defining people by their genetic ‘background’ and even more magnifies the significance of hereditary product. The role of human relationships is necessary to Niccol in his film Gattaca. He requires us to understand the principle of organized discrimination. Individuals are no longer victimized by race, personality, or religious beliefs, but are evaluated only by the superiority of their genetic code, as mentioned “We now have discrimination down to a science”.
Visual metaphors in the film strengthen this principle. Various motifs throughout the movie, such as glass and water, which show the unnoticeable walls Vincent is rebelling against. These motifs are seen in the film in separate scenes; one when Vincent is checking out Gattaca through the glass, when he is still a janitor, and another is displayed in the swimming scene, with Anton becoming a symbol of the society who turns down Vincent. The constantly intimidating identity checks throughout the movie strengthen the oppressive and dystopic society and the concerns presented even more show the concept of discrimination.
Although the discrimination is not one that we have in this existing society, the amount of discrimination we have now constructs issues that this might be a possible path for the future. Furthermore, a similar concern to that which has actually been raised in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is the concept of conformity versus the individual. This can connected to the concept of destiny versus freewill. Vincent chooses to overlook his destiny and rebel versus what is considered to be ‘normal’ in order to reach his dreams. Gattaca shows us that our destiny can not be drawn up using our hereditary code.
In the start of the motion picture the idea of fate appears to eclipse freewill. This is revealed when Vincent’s ‘fate’ is allegedly drawn up at the moment of his birth, being born with a 99% chance of a cardiac arrest, his daddy understanding this did not offer him his name as he did not deem him worthy. In spite of Vincent’s life being apparently prepared for him, “there is no gene for the human spirit,” and this is revealed when Vincent beats his ‘perfect’ brother in 2 rounds of the game ‘chicken’. The swimming scene contains another kind of symbolism with the colours the two siblings are wearing.
The two bros use contrasting colours when racing. Vincent is wearing white, symbolising purity whilst his bro, using black represents run-ins, and something that has actually been damaged. When his brother asks how he could potentially have beaten him, Vincent responds “This is how I did it, Anton. I never saved anything for the swim back”. This quote even more supports the concept of free will vs. destiny which our free choice and our determination are what eventually identify the path our life will take.
For that reason, by taking a step back and examining the contextual concerns of the time that texts were written in, enables us to plainly see the concerns and values the authors of texts are attempting to produce. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 the significant value he is trying to send out is that literature is far more important than innovation and reveals to us his concerns for control of ideas and the limit of understanding one is allowed. Andrew Niccol’s Gattaca notifies the audience of the values of specific identities and surpassing one’s limits. He allows us to understand the fascination with being best can be a baseless risk.
Both these authors of Science Fiction address to their audience of the unnecessary extremes that our world might result in if we do not understand what our limits are. The context and techniques of these two averages have actually supported the statement that Sci-fi authors produce dystopias to communicate their concerns about society and its future. They utilize these strategies to underline what society would be like if a totalitarian regime is enforced on society, where private thought is dissuaded and propaganda is fed to the masses in order to manage society.