How To Corrupt A Utopia Essay

913 words - 4 pages

It is a common theme in literature that knowledge gives rise to power, and this is no different in Fahrenheit 451, however this book also shows that knowledge stimulates individuality and power can take that essential knowledge away. Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, shows a dysfunctional society which relies heavily on technology and majority rule to annihilate all individuality. What is one item that can destroy a Utopia like this fictional one? The answer is books. Which is why in Bradbury's futuristic society that is the very thing that is banned and burned.
Fahrenheit 451 is about the transformation of a man, Guy Montag, who goes from being a futuristic firefighter (a person who starts fires instead of puts them out) to a curious individual prosecuted by his fellow companions for his craving of knowledge. The book commences with him burning a house full of books with a hose full of Kerosene without him questioning his job what-so-ever. In fact he even had a "fiery smile gripped by his face muscles" the entire time he watched the books burning into nothing. (4) This smile the book described as permanent as he always held that smile even in "the dark", not thinking of what he was doing for the past, present, or future, but rather just doing his job like all his other comrades. The entire time he was burning books Montag never stopped to think about why the government wanted him to do this but just did it unquestioningly and willingly until one day he met Clarisse McClellan, and the reader learned just how unhappy Montag was. The reader right away sees the contrast between the two characters; Clarisse is random, carefree, and full of life and questions, where Guy is very routine and skeptical. While Clarisse dies later in the novel, her importance is very clear as she changed Montag's way of thinking and initiated his curiosity about the world. From that point forward the book lead up to its climax of Montag becoming a fugitive and fleeing his city.
As George Santana says, "Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it" (Santana). This rings true throughout our human history. For example, the Nazis in Germany. By burning books Hitler was attempting to delete knowledge and therefore gain more power himself. This is showed again in China when Emperor Shih Huang Ti did the same thing. According to Kayla Webley from Time Magazine, "In 213 BC, China's Emperor Shih Huang Ti thought that if he burned all the documents in his kingdom, history would begin with him" (Webley). Webley goes on to say, "Eight centuries later, legend says, Caliph Omar burned some 200,000 objectionable books belonging to the library of...

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