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Knowledge In Farenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury

1925 words - 8 pages

In today’s society people react to what is going on around them in many different ways. Some decide that they do not know enough and decide to learn more. Others either think that they know enough or they just do not care. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 two of the main characters demonstrate these traits. Bradbury uses the people and symbols to convey his message: that if people do not start to cherish their freedom on knowledge, they will lose it. Bradbury also uses the overabundance of technology to show how people’s understanding of the way the world works deteriorates. Through the characters Guy Montag and his wife Mildred Montag, Bradbury demonstrates the will, and lack thereof, to learn, the effect society and technology has on them, and how the two of them respond to the knowledge and insight of books when given the opportunity.
Guy Montag, usually referred to as “Montag,” is a third generation fireman in the world of Fahrenheit 451 (Bradbury 42). His world is a place where firemen start fires rather than putting them out; until the start of the book he does not question anything he is told (Bradbury 15). Montag goes through a series of events that cause him to doubt what he has always known. He learns that not all people are what his society finds normal, and when a woman is burned alive he feels that he needs to know more about what these books are all about (Bradbury 16, 35). As these events unfold before him, Guy becomes more and more intrigued with the books. He becomes so intrigued that he steals a book from the woman’s house before they burn it, which is later revealed that he has been doing for a while (Bradbury 34, 53). Throughout all this Montag finds that he is quite unhappy with his life, but he does not know why (Bradbury 17). He does not appreciate the different technological things that most others in his society do. He basically loathes the fast cars, large televisions, radio ear-buds that his peers seem to allow to take control of their lives (Bradbury 42). After a conversation with his boss, Captain Beatty, he concludes that the only way to find out why he is unhappy is to read the books which he has stolen (Bradbury 53). As Montag gets deeper and deeper into his trek of discovery, he contacts a man whom he had met one year before, Professor Faber (Bradbury 60). From here on out, Montag begins to realize that he will do anything, even kill Beatty, to get the answers he is looking for (Bradbury 85).
Throughout the story, Montag becomes more and more confused about the different messages he is receiving. He begins to have a, “crisis of conscience” (Smolla 898). He wonders why thing are the way they are; he feels that there is more to what he has always been told. Bradbury depicts him as the kind of person who has accepted the status quo for most of his life, but he is now beginning to doubt and question what he has been told. Montag has a willingness to learn, but he just does not know how to go about doing it first....

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