Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a futuristic science fiction novel. This essay discusses several elements of the novel that have been an accepted part of American society. It shows that violence and political oppression are already part of everyday modern American life.
Violence has become commonplace enough that it no longer shocks people. In Fahrenheit 451, words such as “pretty” and “beautiful” are used numerous times to frequently portray flames. In this society, violence is a form of entertainment. In modern society, the media also use violence as a form of entertainment. In the news and TV shows, horror, suffering, and misery are stapled ingredients for news sensationalism and to boost the ratings of shows. But since people are generally desensitized, due to years of being bombarded with violent images and stories, media firms aim to create or report more novel and graphic forms of violence.
Political oppression is also accepted in American society. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates how the government actively interferes with people’s freedoms. Beatty demonizes books: “A book is a loaded gun in the house next door… Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute” (part 1 par. 614). Americans also tolerate political oppression, because the government assures them that it is necessary to ensure the safety of the nation. As a result, people can be summarily detained or jailed, even without enough evidence of their involvement in crimes.
Fahrenheit 451 is no longer a futuristic dystopia. Modern American society already shows aspects of its violence and political oppression. Americans have become both attracted and inured to media violence and violence in real life. In addition, they have allowed some forms of political oppression, which are in the guise of protection of national security and safety.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Philadelphia: Chelsea House Publishers, 2003. Print.