What I’ve learned from Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury is the author of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury has published over 30 books throughout his life, writing in a variety of different genres with each new release. Out of all his works, Fahrenheit 451 is his most famous piece of writing.

Ayesha Khan

Ray Bradbury is the author of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury has published over 30 books throughout his life, writing in a variety of different genres with each new release. Out of all his works, Fahrenheit 451 is his most famous piece of writing.

Ayesha Khan, Staff Writer

Imagine you live somewhere where no one ever looked up from their phones. Imagine everyone was so caught up staring at unimportant entertainment that we all forgot how to truly live life and socialize with each other. In the book Fahrenheit 451, the author Ray Bradbury features  how people often trade a meaningful literary experience for the entertainment of inanimate objects which often leave them feeling empty. This can be a good message to us today because sometimes we get caught up on social media or entertainment. We need to remember not to zone out for too long because then, how will we truly enjoy life? We can’t let it all fly away, or we will miss out. The book focuses on how sometimes people get carried away with their TVs or phones for entertainment, not focusing on the real world, not realizing it until they’ve lost something that they can never get back. Technology can destroy us, as shown in Fahrenheit 451.

Ray Bradbury’s goal was to show the way technology negatively affects people by taking up too much of their time and leaving them with no sense of real feelings. He wrote this book because of what he observed in society. As he would look around his town, he would see many changes and was starting to become concerned. For example, he noticed that individuals were starting to want more of what seemed meaningless to Bradbury. In the book Fahrenheit 451, Montag is an intelligent, caring, and overall good person. He starts off as a simple fireman. However, as time goes on, he starts becoming increasingly dissatisfied with the society he lives in.  

Throughout the book, Mildred, his wife, is often consumed in TV shows which leads her to becoming too attached to her screen, and forgetting about reality. Meanwhile, Montag is concerned about potentially going to war. He talks to Mildred about this, however, she doesn’t feel hurt and all she does is laugh it off with her friends later. Her life is so deprived of literature and meaning but she feels as if it was normal, because she always has a new tv show to watch that brings her happiness up. She never truly enjoys life, and she doesn’t realize it until it is too late. She wants to be enveloped in technology, an obsession that feeds the hearts of people similar to her. 

People have been spending all their time on media, so they never found the true meaning of life, as well as never finding anything that defines them. Bradbury thinks that being consumed in more technology isn’t smart and that all it will do is take away from the true meaning of life, “‘Everyone must leave something behind when he dies,’ my grandfather said. ‘A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way, so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.’” The devices, and TVs that everyone thinks will make life easier ends up dehumanizing society. 

Bradbury uses the character Mildred to show how spending too much time consumed by television can cause someone to become completely desensitized. Mildred relies on television to fill her extra time. She is so obsessed with these shows that it feels like reality. Bradbury believes that everyone needs to have something special about them and they need to try to fulfill their dreams, in order to live a good life, ‘”It doesn’t matter what you do,’ he said, ‘so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”’ 

In a conversation that Montag has with Mildred and her friends, Montag tells them about how their husbands are going to a dangerous war. Mrs. Phelps, similar to Mildred and also is attached to screens, replies with, “I’ll let Pete do all the worrying.” Their being desensitized to the wonders of the world results in their lack of concern for their loved ones. This demonstrates that the changes in society by adding many forms of technology has huge impacts on humans.

Bradbury uses the characters in his book to explain how too much technology can impact a person’s life in a bad way. Another huge problem in society were the negative effects that occurred to people’s mental health when they weren’t able to get their entertainment. At one part in the story, the women become so anxious because they were missing their shows. They simply stare at the empty walls, hoping that their show would return. These women are never happy without their entertainment and they feel lost without it. On the other end of the spectrum, one of Mildred’s friends, Clarisse, is very different from most of the people and she loves reading. Clarisse is always a lot happier and more satisfied with her life because she knows the true meaning of life and society never seems to change her. 

Bradbury conveys that technology is life changing. This message is very important to us today, because as we are creating new and improved forms of technology, we are starting to slowly become less attached to reality. Bradbury said, “People were being turned into morons by TV.” While technology can be extremely informative and makes life easier to live, it can also take us away from the most important things to us, such as spending time with family and friends. Given the story is set in the year 2049, reading this showed me a glimpse of what our near future has the potential to look like: Technology can slowly start destroying human beings.