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Comparing Ray Bradbury‟S Fahrenheit 451 And Suzanne Collin‟S The Hunger Games

1072 words - 5 pages

Over the centuries, mankind has tantalised itself with the prospect of a perfect world. These

visions of „utopia‟ remain objects of contemplation rather than practice, as societies of such

flawless nature must tend to the individual ideals of all, yet prevent them from interfering with

one another through a means of control. A paradox is thus introduced, as the imposition of

restraint ultimately undermines the insatiable freewill of individuals. Ray Bradbury‟s

Fahrenheit 451 and Suzanne Collin‟s The Hunger Games provide insight into utopian

societies and their eventual demise, leading to the portrayal of „dystopias‟. Fahrenheit 451

candidly hosts criticism to the rule of totalitarian government, realised through the

subordination of individual (and thus conflicting) ideals. The Hunger Games depicts a

political and scientific utopia in the Capitol; an idyllic city that exists in the deprivation of

freewill. Through representation of pertinent social themes, Bradbury and Collins expose the

defective concepts of utopia that ultimately undermine their establishment in reality.

Within any idyllic society, power and control must ensure the ideals of individuals are kept

within acceptable bounds – a form of political correctness. Ray Bradbury‟s Fahrenheit 451 is

a cynical prognostication of this ideal. Through the abolition of intellectual mediums such as

books, the government upholds a false utopia through the riddance of ideals that could

refute such delusion. The firemen‟s incineration of books symbolically represents the

relegation of values such as objectivity, criticism and analysis, which supposedly reside in

the written word. As a result, confidently self-regulating dictatorships can flourish without the

threat of rational criticism and reprimand. Adolf Hitler‟s reign over Germany mirrored these

ideals, as writings of subversive ideologies were publicly burnt for the self-preservation of

Nationalist Socialist administration. Captain Beatty, a character within the novel, explains the

objective of such society: “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the

constitution says, but everyone made equal . . . A book is a loaded gun in the house next

door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man‟s mind” (pg28). The maintenance

of control is a task upheld by firemen (such as Beatty), acting as a flame wielding weapon of

propaganda against the ideals of intellectuals. The imposing existence of these book-
burners incites fear and paranoia within society, prompting average citizens to weed out the

presence of non-conformists in a manner akin to 1950‟s McCarthyism. Such attitudes

undermine the notion of a true utopia, as this abuse of power inflicts restraint on those who

value intellectual independence. This conflict between freewill and control is one resonated

by Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games.

The Hunger Games depicts a nation of peaceful disparity – comprised...

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