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Fahrenheit 451: Foreshadowing American Government In 2015

1311 words - 5 pages

Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.” Revolutionary Thomas Paine describes the government, which may seem evil at times, as a necessity for becoming a functioning society. A lot of responsibility is entrusted onto today’s government to create a safe, law based environment in which everyone can live and prosper. Although without the structure of a government to create laws and have the authority to enforce them, society itself would become chaotic. If a strong government ever became corrupt, it would have the ability to keep control on society by creating laws that limit people’s free-will. This creates a dystopian society for every person living under that government.
An example of a manipulative government that becomes over powerful occurs in Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury’s novel takes place in a dystopian future where books and any form of literature are outlawed. The government in the story has issued fireman enforce the “anti-reading law” by doing things such as: raiding citizen’s homes while they are there, removing all their hidden books, and burning the books with a kerosene hose in front of their home while the whole neighborhood watches. Citizens in this dystopian society are limited to only certain rights. Things such as owning books, walking around, and reading are all made illegal. The novel Fahrenheit 451 draws awareness to the fact that if a government becomes too controlling, citizens are subjected to biased laws and inhumane living conditions.
Before I display how our modern government can become controlling, it’s important to first understand how the government was expressed in Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451. The story begins with the protagonist, Guy Montag, working as a fireman who burns books. After walking home one day from work Montag discovers a seventeen year old girl who acts particularly different than her peers. She meets Montag every day after his work usually just to converse with him about questions in society and everyday life. In one discussion, she mentions her uncle and states “My uncle was arrested another time-did I tell you?-for being a pedestrian.” (Bradbury 13). I mean to arrest a pedestrian for just walking around goes to show the tight grasp that this government keeps on its citizens and their rights. Although government is important, it should not strip people of their right to be outdoors and transport freely. Another instance occurs when Montag has a meeting with his captain and they discuss a girl that has gone missing. The Captain says “Clarisse McClellen? We’ve a record on her family. We’ve watched them carefully. Heredity and environment are funny things…The home environment can undo a lot you try to do at school. That’s why we’ve lowered the kindergarten age year after until now we’re almost snatching them from the cradle.” (Bradbury 64). The captain’s quote proves that their government abuses its power by keeping...

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