Fahrenheit 451: Television Takeover

The novel Fahrenheit 451 written by Ray Bradbury exemplifies a world of technological takeover much like present day society. Television is the medium with the greatest socialization effect surpassing all the other social media by far in its influence on society. Television and technology can be seen in homes, schools and even prisons, it is not only an interactive agent but also a very significant aspect in the development of young children and adults.

As TV is more readily available to our youth who are not only very easily manipulated, it has the power to conform and shape our future generations at a young age. TV not only influences society but also has the greatest effect on socialization. Children on average watch about 3-4 hours of television daily (Ferris JR, Internet addiction disorder), drastically reducing the chance to truly practice social skills. Infants from the age of 0-2 average about an hour and a half of TV a day allowing a direct influence of technology to society at a very young age (Ferris JR, Internet addiction disorder).

As technological advancements continue to increase, the attitude towards reading continues to drastically decreased and a step towards the society witnessed in Fahrenheit 451 has taken a toll on present day attitudes towards literature. As mentioned in part two of 451, “Mildred kicked at a book. ‘Books aren’t people. You read and I look around, but there isn’t anybody!’ (Bradbury, 2). This portrays the general attitude towards books in Bradbury’s novel, the lack of free thinking and influence from the art forms of literature. It also exemplifies the inability to understand and visualize the illusion in which authors try to convey through their writing. As Montag is able to interpret the message being read, Mildred only sees words on a page and is incapable of diving into the literature due to the lack of knowledge in which she has because of the lack of books in their society as well as the media takeover that she’s fallen accustomed to.

Prior to 1947 the number of U.S. homes with television consoles were measured in the thousands, by the late 1990s, 98 percent of U.S. homes had at least one television and they were on for an average of seven hours a daily. Bradbury had foreseen and described the society of a developed world in his novel as a major pit to society. He had written fictional accounts of the future world where society soley revolves around technology, as witnessed with Mildred and her television obsession. Faber had mentioned that television was “invasive” where as books can be put down to pause and think. Presentations through mass media seem very persuasive, real and can make us feel anything the advertisers seek as it feeds with non stop information, not allowing time to think about statements in which it tries to persuade to its viewers; very similar to the effect on the novels society and Mildred in particular.

The relationship between Ray Bradbury’s world in Fahrenheit 451 and that of present day American living is nearly spot on, within a few decades the thought of ‘outlawed’ free thinking is very plausible. Ipads have occupied nearly all campuses in the country reducing the use of hard copy reading (Coles R.),

online classes are now offered throughout education courses which create an image of virtual teachers and maybe even potential for a future of complete virtual schooling. The lack of communication between characters in Fahrenheit 451 embodies very similar traits to that of the present day society, a majority of empty bodied conversations pertaining to social medias and technologies in which we thrive on. ‘I’ve heard rumours; the world is starving, but we’re well-fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we’re hated so much? I’ve heard the rumours about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don’t, that’s sure! Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!’ (Bradbury, 2). This quote stood out due to its references to a cave, not only does that link back to “Allegory of The Cave” but also to present day living as it translates into knowledge and experience as being the key to leaving the ‘cave’ in which non-freethinkers reside. In the context of Montags quote, meaning that books allow the characters within the story to experience freethought and visualization of messages and stories being told through these pieces of literature.

Media and entertainment addiction is a recurring theme in Fahrenheit 451. This is very strange because the book was written about 60 years ago, before social media had a major impact on society. Bradbury’s ability to see a vision of the world we live today is quite bizarre, the fact that we as a society have followed such a predictable path is quite interesting. In the second section of the novel, Montag states, ‘So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life.

The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless.’ (Bradbury, 2), this definitely stood out by exposing the situation in which society is comfortable not knowing complete truth or meaning behind situations in which directly relate or effect them, for example in the 451, the books are directly related to the knowledge in which the society received. In present day society people are not completely aware of the effects in which television has on the future because of the fact that there is no direct effect which negatively impacts one while watching Television.