Does our society comprehend the great significance behind dystopian literature and what it symbolises? Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s Animal Farm are microcosms into multiple totalitarian regimes. Fahrenheit 451 was written as an indictment of totalitarian governments and the restrictions they put on humanity. Both Orwell and Bradbury have created societies that are both controlled and manipulated by supreme authority. Francis Bacon’s “knowledge is power” quote is extremely evident in both texts. Society is blinded by the powerful, therefore all civilians are turned into apathetic followers so that their authority can be maintained. Power is portrayed through the separation of class by allowing one specific class to gain supreme control.
In Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s Animal Farm the nature of oppression is explored through the form of autocratic, totalitarian and communist societies. In oppressive societies the value of individuality is denied and absolute conformity is expected of you. Hitler’s Germany typifies this. Bakhtin’s term of dialogism expresses the constant relation between the texts of George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The introduction of Fahrenheit 451 establishes that Montag accepts his role in society as it is assigned to him by the autocratic government in power. Montag’s job of firefighting is an occupation designed to be ignorant and destroy knowledge amongst society.
Bradbury has authored this novel on situations such as censorship and oppression, based in a society where book burning is encouraged. Certain catalyst’s in the book with conflicting political opinions allow Montag to form a divided psyche. Guy Montag lives in a world which does not promote the idea of individuality and has constant diversions from the corruption of government. Montag’s colliding thoughts lead to him being alienated from society due to punishments stemmed from acts of rebellion towards totalitarian powers. Montag’s form of rebellion includes the secrecy of keeping forbidden books and setting Captain Beatty on fire. Furthermore to this after being told to burn his own house down and setting Beatty on fire , Montag flees from the city in search of sanctuary. Characters such as Clarrise and the old lady have made him reconsider his role in a working class society.
In Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse is shown as a democratic thinking young woman even describing herself as “seventeen and crazy”. Clarisse is a free, yet deep thinking member of society, who questions life and the morality of those above her (government, military and other higher powers). “If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.” This quote shows the hypnotism amongst humanity and the propaganda used to control the minds of an entire nation. Beatty is a vivid example of a brainwashed citizen living in a propaganda influenced society. Characters like Beatty are displayed in both texts and remain as bystanders as their society implodes.
On the other hand, Animal Farm by George Orwell resembles authoritarian change in a government. Orwell’s novel gives us a satirical insight into the Russian Revolution and genicidal methods of power used throughout this time period. Dictatorial leaders such as Napoleon show the audience characteristics Stalin used to control his people at the time of the Russian Revolution. The text presents to us the poverty and neglect as well as poor treatment the animals are receiving at the hands of Mr Jones. Animal Farm is an allegory and focuses on the ideas and difficulties that the participants in democracies face, and how the misuse of power can lead to corruption. The animals join in solidarity in order to overthrow Jones and run the farm themselves.
This book is about a corrupt society that is based around the idea that everyone should have equal intelligence and books are forbidden. After the rebellion against Jones and the eradication of Snowball, Napoleon creates addendums to the 7 commandments in order to suit the privileged pigs and changes the way of life for all animals. The continual shifts in power the ideals of revolution become corrupted due to greed and power (Beatty, Jones, Old Major, Snowball and Napoleon). Orwell uses personification throughout Animal Farm in order to draw away from the dystopian reality and the use of oppression in society. Besides the reigning pigs all animals are given orders and formulate rules because they have the intelligence to manipulate and invent propaganda that will benefit themselves.
The unawareness of oppressive power leads to characters such as Beatty, Mr Jones and Napoleon to take advantage of their leadership. In both texts naive and gullible citizens in society grant authority to their leader, and physical force isn’t required. Intertextuality between Fahrenheit 451 and Animal Farm exposes minorities in society with the inability to question the ruling elite. The loss of individuality and independence leads to loss of self-governance and the ability to think freely, this is due to the way authority abuses their power over their citizens.. Ideologies and decision making is controlled those at the top of the social hierarchy, this is forced upon characters such as Montag, Mildred, Clarrise, Benjamin and Boxer. Humans and animals in both texts dedicate too much loyalty to their leaders, the continual approval of information only gives dictatorial rulers more power to embrace.
Dystopian literature needs to be educated in society in order for people to understand its significance and comprehend the seriousness behind it. Themes of oppression, propaganda, supremacy and corrupt dictatorial ideologies have all influenced both George Orwell’s Animal Farm and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Both authors compose texts based on corruption in human history as well as the fear of what humanity might become.