“Fahrenheit 451” and “The Crucible”: Dehumanization

Dehumanization is the mental process of demonizing the enemy, addressing them as less human and not deserving of human treatment. Throughout the course of the long-lasting struggle, violence, fear, and mistrust the way that the people see each other. In Fahrenheit 451 and The Crucible societies, there’s dehumanization, uncivil governments, and environmental disasters. Examining the dehumanized aspect of the societies in these two novels, it’s seen that both authors definitely use this frame to send their warnings. ​In both books Fahrenheit 451 and The Crucible, the government contains the people and keeps them under control, not giving them the ability to do anything without being left judged.

In Fahrenheit 451, the government has brainwashed the people into an anti-intellectualism diversion, where people live in a dystopian society that burns books. Any kind of intellectual conversation is inhibited, and society is where freedom is dominant. Montague’s is the main voice over time and faces unending challenges while struggling to free himself. In The Crucible, society is pinned on witch-hunting and all practice of crime is happening under the plan of freeing society from evil. The language of both The Crucible and Fahrenheit 451 both point out the dehumanizing actions that individuals during that time considered acceptable, this caused the people to become desensitized.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.”(Ray Bradbury). Even though banning book was an issue in his work, but in real life, it wasn’t a restriction that interested him the most, but the hidden censorship that was built from the bottom up. In Fahrenheit 451 the government prevented books to control power quickly and hold the views of the public. Avoiding the bad language and insult over various levels of knowledge where some of the views are the reason the book was forbidden. ‘Only if the third necessary thing could be given us. Number one, as I said, quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two. And I hardly think a very old man and a fireman turned sour could do much this late in the game’ (Bradbury 81). Faber states that the firefighters have been burning books for a long time. That currently, the community doesn’t have an understanding of their society. Then he states that Montages community needs to understand that those books that have been burnt down, have information that could guide them in life and having the freedom to be educated.

To maintain this freedom, sometimes one must go over and past their limits to fight for what’s right. Guy Montag changes from an unthinking individual, from his depersonalized society who forgets his life, into a man who recognizes his spiritual needs as a human. When Clarisse provides Montag a feeling of change, he faces all laws in order to get his personal freedom. ‘Are you happy’ (Bradbury 7). “I don’t know, We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the book I’d burned in ten or twelve years” (Bradbury 78).

As Montag takes a look at his lifestyle, he concludes that something is missing from his life. Clarisse helps Montage to begin to think for himself, rather of letting society take over and make the decisions for him. “A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence and a time to speak…And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, which bare twelve manners of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Bradbury 158).

In the last chapter, despite the breakdown of society, their individual struggles at memorizing the efforts of literature represent the ‘building up’ of what has been lost or broken. Even though they remained quiet to themselves, they will speak when the time comes. They will share their knowledge when the time comes to reconstruct their lost society. As for the ‘tree of life’ references the knowledge that committed to human memory, and it heals the society at some point.

Characters in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible has human flaws that make the novel of the Salem Witch Trials. The Salem villagers show weaknesses, containing desire, revenge, and fear, which eventually makes the downfall of their town. Greed for power and land often holds precedence when the dehumanization takes over. These three human flaws; the village of Salem begins chaos by multiple innocent characters paying the price. The Salem Witch Trials provides a great chance for members of the city to get their vengeance.

Greed is one of human weaknesses that makes the false prices of the trials. Salem’s social status leads to the tragedy which seen nineteen innocent people executed on the accusation of witchcraft. Every hint of a rumour is not even doubted and people are compelled to believe it. “Proctor- I’ll tell you what’s walking Salem—vengeance is walking Salem. We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law! This warrant’s vengeance! I’ll not give my wife to vengeance!’ (Miller 75).

The characters of Salem use religion as a guide for many of their actions. Religion is being used to fulfill personal desires. People turned their backs on and refused to help each other, in the fear that they themselves would be involved of being witchcraft. Abigail’s and ‘the little crazy kid’s’ actions have created many deaths and frauds in the village.