In the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Guy Montag is the main character. He is a fireman in a world that is based in the future. In this world, firemen burn books and start fires instead of putting them out. The people in this world don’t read since it is forbidden, they don’t go outside to enjoy nature, or spend time by themselves; they simply drive fast and watch television. Curiosity overtakes Guy as he starts to steal books from houses he is burning, reads them, and then stashes them in his house.
One day while at work, the firemen get a call about a house and are surprised when they end up at Guy’s house. Guy saves a few books from his burning house and goes on the run. Eventually the only way to avoid capture and arrest is to jump into a river, which then takes him to a group of people who want to bring books back to the world. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury creates this universal truth that censorship can only be taken to a certain level before humanity starts to deteriorate, and that it is important for us humans to think independently as well as freely.
The author manipulates conflict to create his theme. To be able to think independently and express ideas, we have to be different from one another. When Guy is listening to Captain Beatty, he can relate to this through his past experiences. “Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike.
Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. ” (105). The author uses Captain Beatty to tell the reader that being intelligent and different, in a society where everyone is the same, can be dangerous due to jealousy and power. If people don’t think independently, then the world will remain the same with no advances in anything. Faber uses his intelligence to help Montag with his curiosity in the knowledge books have.
When Montag goes over to Faber’s house, he tells him this: “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books . . . The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through radios and televisors, but are not. ” (86). Books are a certain form that authors use to get a message across to people, Faber is saying that they don’t need books to get that message across, they have radios and television, but they don’t use them for that reason even though they could. The reason for not having these messages is because they could give people ideas to overthrow the laws or even the government itself.
The knowledge that a book contains can be very powerful. The firemen have never read a book so they don’t know what it contains and how it can impact a person’s life. “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. ” (51). The thought of not having these books in her life compelled this old woman to basically commit suicide. If someone would rather die than live in a world without a book, the censorship has gone too far and has made this person go insane.
In this case, they would need to change something before all of humanity is thinking like this old woman. When there is censorship and government control, people are bound to defy it; that is the only way to defeat it. Captain Beatty is talking to Montag about this, he know that the firemen are part of the tyranny. “. . . the terrible tyranny of the majority. ” (108). The government control gets to a certain point before everything starts to fall apart. After Montag escapes from the government, the war comes to an end after a bomb is dropped on the city.
All of this happened because one person manipulated the government and everything came crashing down. After the war ends and the government is overthrown, there are people who are going to try and make society like it used to be so they can live the life they want. Granger gives that opportunity to people who want back the life they lived long ago. “There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again.
And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we’ve got one damn thing the phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. ” (163). They are going to try and rebuild humanity to what it was, they know it will fall again and again but they will keep rebuilding it because humans make mistakes. The reader realizes the importance of Bradbury’s view of government because in the world we live in today, governments are corrupt and controlling of their citizens which can lead to many problems. The only way to defeat this type of government is to face it head on and defy it.