The Role Of Characters, Setting And Events In The Revealing Crucial Theme In Fahrenheit 451

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Fahrenheit 451, which was written by Ray Bradbury in 1951, is a science fiction and mentions lots of social problems such as ignorance and fascism. The book is generally about an oppressive future society and a fireman whose job is to burn all the books, and the change and illumination of his ideas, feelings, mind. The fireman does not put out the fire, he is the cause of it. About Fahrenheit 451, some important features of the book such as main characters, setting and main events, and one of the most important theme which is about how knowledge can help people in their society will be analyzed.

In this novel, three characters which are Guy Montag, Clarisse McClellan and Captain Beatty can be categorized as main ones and setting can be explained with the help of some quotes. To begin with, as we all know, Guy Montag is a fireman, and burns books which carry information and help people to increase their knowledge. However, Montag does not do it by his own request, but with Captain Beatty who is the head of the fire department and gives the orders to firemen to burn the books. Captain Beatty strongly disagrees with the idea of reading books and thinks that no one in this world can read any of the books. Nevertheless, the young lady who is Clarisse McClellan and is only seventeen thinks that the world is beautiful and a happy place to live. Clarisse’s way of looking the world impresses Montag and makes him do something that he has never thought to have done and been curious about doing it: reading the books he burns. About setting, Montag says something about World War 1 and 2 with an angry and annoying tone, and with the help of that statement, we can assume that the novel is in 21st century. In some parts of the book, the author mentions about the states of America such as Missouri and readers believe that the novel is in America even if there is no specific sentence which tells where Montag lives. For some of the critics, this theory is true because Bradbury wanted to create a place which has a high percentage of people who read and try to increase their knowledge but still can encounter with the people who might move them back. As we see, the place he tried to create is similar and almost same as the world’s “most incredible” country, America.

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The knowledge helps people in their society in daily life. In early years of the history of human beings, there had been a patriarchal governance which had been based on power, strength, but not knowledge and intelligence. After Turkic Migration, feudalism strengthened and people began to do what churches and Papa were saying, they did not try to learn or read. Those people used fear to make innocent people do their orders. For instance, knowledge could have helped them and told them that the things Papa had been saying were not true. There are several examples like this event, and knowledge was the only solution for them. People are not curious and do not read or try to learn, they need someone to herd them like animals because they got used to be controlled by not themselves, not their own will, but someone who was not listening them, not doing what they needed, but doing everything against them. People are illiterate ones who think they are the kings of the whole universe, but a slave of a pitiless, cruel creature, human beings. Throughout the history, it was same, the heads of the countries talked, talked and talked but they did not do something and even they did not allow people to talk who tried to open others’ eyes, stop this unbelievable system which was in a loop and still is in. For the ones which were the heads, the reason why they banished people who rebelled was knowledge. Knowledge was dangerous, not innocent, mortal. Of course, knowledge helps people in their society to query how things are going. However, knowledge can rebuild a society, as well and this feature only belongs to knowledge.

The first quote which will be explained is “We do need knowledge. And perhaps in a thousand years we might pick smaller cliffs to jump off. The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are,”. In this one, the author explained that people have to read and learn. Unless they do not, the other people who will possibly use manipulative techniques will change what we should believe because of having less true information. People will be born and die, and each person is different. Some of them have more manipulative techniques but some of them have none. However, there will always be those ones who will use others that do not have enough knowledge and are not able to decide on their own. The books can prevent this because their first and only job is “giving us information” either we are aware of the situation or not. There is a metaphor in a part of this quote, “smaller cliffs” compares with “manipulative people”. Smaller cliffs cannot be seen and may harm you severely even if they are small. The same thing happens with those people. They catch you, know that you do not read and know much about world, pull you to themselves, exploit your everything and cause a big damage even you might not prevent because you are not aware of what goes on. Just like smaller cliffs do.

The second quote is “Nobody listens any more. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling me. I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it ‘ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read,”. In this quote, Montag talks with Faber and tells him that how he is desperate. He even cannot share his feelings with his wife is not mantally and physically healty as we all know that one night, she took overdose. When Bradbury says “…are yelling me.”, he uses personification as he gives the wall a feature of humans, shouting. Furthermore, we can say that he feeds an enemy inside of himself. When he talks to the walls or in another words, he talks with himself, the second voice which is in his brain shouts to him. This is an illness called dissociative identitiy disorder, which is to have more than one person in the brain. We don’t know wheter Montag knows that he has this disorder but as he gets curious and wants from Faber to assimilate the books to become a better person. The author wants to show reader that everyone can buy a book and read its words but not all of them become better people with the help of the “knowledge” inside the books. If you are a good person enough, you mentally develop, affect your society and make people understand and support you.

The third quote is “ So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon,”. In this one, books are compared with the guns which are ready to fire, and this is an example of metaphor. Loaded gun is dangerous because it can cause lots of damage, also death when wrong people have it. When you understand what a book says, it may cause a problem for reactionist people. You disagree with the wrong statement they say, and this may make them uncomfortable because you wake up from your beauty sleep and are aware of what is going on. For those reactionist people, loaded gun is same with a book just because it helps you to get true information and to develop yourself. In the last sentence, the author tells us that these people wants to take the book which gives you the truth of life and to make you fall asleep again.

The fourth quote is “But do you know, we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you…”. This quote is about the public, it says that generally, the public doesn’t try to learn by asking questions such as “How did it happen?” or “What is going on right now?”. They aren’t curious and are just given fake answers by generally the government. These answers claim to make the public be quiet, and they are not satisfied enough but the public is not smart to understand their unsatisfactoriness because they don’t read books and brush up on new events. However, some of them try to understand the condition of them, to solve problems and not only give unlogical answers. This minority is the light of the country to enhance their hometown, and also the world.

Final quote is “We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we’ll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them”.

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The Role Of Characters, Setting And Events In The Revealing Crucial Theme In Fahrenheit 451. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved May 30, 2024, from
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