Fahrenheit 451 Thesis Statement Technology

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Technology: A Menace To Our Society; Fahrenheit 451 Essay - With A Free Essay Review




When you think about it only a few years ago people used to lie down in their bedrooms and read novels that would lie on their bedside table. In the book Fahrenheit 451 books are not read anymore, in fact books are illegal. Soon society will stop publishing books altogether. People now have technology that puts books on screens rather them being read on paper. The updated technology now changes the society from the traditional aspects of it. Although technology helps society in many ways, it is hurting us, in this book Bradbury’s main character in fictional proof of how society will be in the future. People today are glued to their big screen televisions and that proves society to be a replica of Montag’s society. His wife (Helen) is glued to her “parlor walls” which are big screen televisions and she states this, “It’s really fun. It’ll be even more fun when we can afford to have our forth wall installed. How long you figure before we save up and get our forth wall-TV put in? It’s only two thousand dollars” (Helen). She is actually saying that she does not care how much it costs or how hard she has to work for it, she just wants the wall-TV put in so that she can be top of the line. That message is engraved into people’s thoughts in this society. This thought process needs to change before society ends up like that of Fahrenheit 451.

According to an article modern technology makes our society become lazier as a whole. The article states, “Businesses come out with new technology… students have to constantly keep up with it and it leaves the people in our society lazier” (Technology future helpful or hurting). People can see this proof just by walking down the streets or paying attention in their own home. People walk all around with their heads buried in technology and this is enough proof to show that technology is taking society over. Technology took over society in the book now society is witnessing this madness with their eyes.

Many people are starting to believe that technology is actually beginning to dumb down our society. While reading an article I saw this, “Spelling is not everyone’s strength” (Connecting or Hurting Humanity). It is not a strength that everyone can possess; however, people have dictionaries to help them with spelling. Now we have “spell check” and that does not help with spelling, it makes it easier so people do not have to take time to look a word up. People who have a hard time spelling need to purchase a dictionary to improve their skills- not cheat their way out of it. Not knowing how to spell should not be an excuse as to why they are using technology to give the impression of being intelligent. People look into all of the new technology that they are purchasing instead of looking into textbooks or their own minds. Also, people look into the Internet and it’s search engines and other resources. Society’s people used to look into encyclopedias or go to the town library for answers but now they type a question into a search engine and receive feedback within a few seconds. If people want to be smarter, then technology is not the way to go. Taking advantage of technology to seem smarter is showing how society in this world is becoming that of society in the fictional world that Bradbury created.

People are becoming overwhelmed with all of the new technological gadgets. Only a few years ago, talk about technology that would help communication was not quite being spoken of yet. Now people have multiple types of social devices and websites. People cannot keep up with all of the updates. A few years ago people had to write letters and/or walk down the road to have a conversation. Now people text and email each other with only a few key strokes. There is the answer as to why society’s communication skills are below average. People do not know or understand what communication does that is important. Communication skills have never been so low; society’s communication is sliding down a spiral of misfortune. People will soon realize that technology does not mean as much as they believe. Technology will never be worth losing a real society to replicate Bradbury’s society.

With all of this technology people are starting to lose control of their life in an incompetent way. An article that believes technology hurts how society works had this to say, “Over the past few decades, technology has grown at an exponential rate” (Technology Future Helpful or Hurting). “All these gadgets and devices have developed the standard of living for humanity so much that we simply cannot live without them” (Technology Future Helpful or Hurting). These statements give a strong opinion that will soon become facts. For teens, especially, if society had technology wiped off of the face of the Earth they would have no idea of what to do. The human race would be so devastated that it would seem like a God created disaster when it would only be a small breach in their lives. The characters in Fahrenheit 451 cannot live without technology by their side and society in life is simply catching up.

Soon people will be looking into technology as every aspect of their life. In the book Fahrenheit 451 a mechanical hound is being described by Montag and he states this, “Irritated, but not completely angry. Just enough ‘memory’ set up in it by someone so it growled when I touched it” (Montag). Technology will not just carry knowledge for someone to use, but it will become like another member of a family. This means that technology will soon take over society after being part of people’s lives for a long period of time. Technology took over Montag’s society; it will take over this society.

People look at technology as their own lifeline, that if it was lost the human race would become brain dead, not because technology will become a disease, but because people look at technology like nothing else can help them. People always look at technology to light their pathway. All of our social devices and computer tools are advantages that no one person could imagine losing. If people do not start looking into their own minds for answers technology will be the only thing that they know like the society of Fahrenheit 451.

Works Cited Page

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print.

Refdesk. “Technology Future Helpful or Hurting” January 19, 2012 http://www.refdesk.com

Refdesk. “Connecting or Hurting Humanity” January 19, 2012 http://www.refdesk.com

Poodwaddle “Connecting or Hurting Humanity” January 19, 2012 http://www.poodwaddle.com/clocks/worldclock/(2)

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ESSAY REVIEW

Your essay is about the similarities between the dystopian society described in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and the state of present and future society given the nature of our increasing dependence on modern technology. Your discussion of the novel is very limited in scope, however. Your essay seems to depend on your reader's knowledge of the novel and the type of society it describes, whereas I think it ought either to inform the reader fully of the nature of that society (with extensive reference, quotation, and analysis) or give up using the novel as a touchstone for modern society's technological woes. Another general problem with the essay is that it tends to be one-sided. You tend to look only at one (negative) side of the impact of technology. You also look only at alleged similarities between modern society and the society described by Bradbury. I think your essay would be more compelling as a whole if you acknowledged the possible advantages of technology and conceded the differences between the two societies; we are not burning books yet, and arguably technology makes more books available to more people than ever before. Burning books, of course, is a heightened form of censorship, which is an issue relevant to the discussion of modern society that you might consider addressing in your essay.

Let's look now at a few of the specific claims you make in the essay. We'll start here: "People walk all around with their heads buried in technology and this is enough proof to show that technology is taking society over." There are two problems here:

1) that's not enough proof; in fact, it's not proof at all; it's just an assertion.

2) the claim that you started out with, and that you needed to prove, was not that technology is taking over society (which is so vague as to be meaningless) but that technology is making people lazier (which is concrete, and therefore meaningful, but unproven in your essay).

In the next paragraph, you do return to the argument about the relationship between technology and laziness indirectly and implicitly in your discussion of the claim that technology "is ... beginning to dumb down our society." The discussion here centers on the issue of the ability to spell, which you seem to take implicitly as an index of intelligence, and the relative virtues of looking words up in a physical book as opposed to having a software program alert you to errors and suggest corrections (spell-check). You find looking words up in books a greater source of learning, but it is not clear why, beyond the fact that it takes longer.

You also claim that we are “taking advantage of technology to seem smarter.” But here again you offer an assertion in the guise of an argument. How do we know that people are using technology to seem smarter? Couldn't one argue with equal or greater right that it would be stupid not to take advantage of a technology that helps us avoid errors? I use spell check because it speeds up the onerous job of proofreading and so frees up time that I can devote to more meaningful tasks (like watching Liverpool FC- actually, I proofread while watching football, which is probably not the best way to go about it).

Some claims in the essay are just bizarre: "A few years ago people had to write letters and/or walk down the road to have a conversation." Unless you are using "few years" as an ironic figure for "many decades," or unless you are talking about people in a part of a world that waited for modern wireless technology before introducing telephony, I think the claim is false. To judge by the standard of essays that I see these days, however, I'm tempted to agree with your next claim that "communication skills have never been so low" but, on the one hand, it would be stupid of me to judge by that standard (selection bias!) and, on the other hand, your essay provides no data at all to support the assertion.

In the next paragraph, you say that "people are starting to lose control of their life in an incompetent way." That's not what you meant to say (in that you did not mean to suggest that there is a competent way of losing control of one's life) but the larger problem again is the quality of evidence used to support the claim you did intend to make. To support the idea that we're losing control of our life, you cite an article that states that technology has improved the standard of living. To be sure, the article also states that "we simply cannot live without" modern gadgets, but on the one hand that's not the same as stating that we're losing control, and on the other hand it’s a patent exaggeration. You follow the article's lead in this respect, making very strong claims about the extent of society's dependence on technology; if it disappeared, "teens ... would have no idea of what to do." Perhaps that is true, but your essay will be more compelling if it relies less on speculation and more on evidence-supported arguments.

Best, EJ.

Submitted by: kirstynn

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About kirstynn




In Fahrenheit 451, owning and reading books is illegal. Members of society focus only on entertainment, immediate gratification and speeding through life. If books are found, they are burned and their owner is arrested. If the owner refuses to abandon the books, as is the case with the Old Woman, he or she often dies, burning along with them. People with interests outside of technology and entertainment are viewed as strange, and possible threats.

In the book, Bradbury doesn't give a clear explanation of why censorship has become so great in this futuristic society. Rather, the author alludes to a variety of causes. Fast cars, loud music, and massive advertisements create an over stimulated society without room for literature, self-reflection, or appreciation of nature. Bradbury gives the reader a brief description of how society slowly lost interest in books, first condensing them, then relying simply on titles, and finally forgetting about them all together.

Bradbury also alludes to the idea that different "minority" groups were offended by certain types of literature. In his discussion with Montag, Beatty mentions dog lovers offended by books about cats, and cat lovers offended by books about dogs. The reader can only assume which minority groups Bradbury was truly referring to. Finally, in the Afterword to Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury clearly expresses his own sensitivity to attempts to restrict his writing. For example, he feels censored by letters suggesting he should give stronger roles to women or black men. Bradbury sees such suggestions and interventions as the first step towards censorship and book burning.

Throughout the novel, the reader is presented with a conflict between knowledge and ignorance. What does true happiness consist of? Is ignorance bliss, or do knowledge and learning provide true happiness? Montag, in his belief that knowledge reigns, fights against a society that embraces and celebrates ignorance.

The fireman's responsibility is to burn books, and therefore destroy knowledge. Through these actions, the firemen promote ignorance to maintain the sameness of society. After befriending Clarisse, Montag finds himself unable to accept the status quo, believing life is more complete, true and satisfying when knowledge is welcomed into it. After making this discovery, Montag fights against ignorance, trying to help others welcome knowledge into their lives. For example, when his wife's friends come over, he forces them to listen to poetry. Although they become extremely upset after listening to what he reads, they are able to experience true emotion. In Montag's view, this emotion will give these women a fuller and more satisfying life.

Throughout the novel, Bradbury presents paradoxes between life and death. For example, Montag's wife Millie attempts suicide by swallowing sleeping pills. Montag discovers her, calls for emergency medical assistance and saves her life. During the time while the medical team is reviving Millie, it is unclear whether she will live or die. Montag learns through the medics that reviving suicide attempts is a very common act. The commonality of suicide attempts and saves blurs the line between life and death in this futuristic society. Upon realizing this, Montag begins to wonder what life truly is and why it feels so empty and dead.

Furthermore, the tool the medics use to pump Millie's stomach is referred to as the Electric-Eyed Snake, and the tool the firmen use to hunt down book owners is the Mechanical Hound, both inanimate objects that appear to have lives of their own. Montag finds himself wondering, are they alive or dead? In truth, in Montag's search for truth and knowledge, he is trying to give true life to his own existence and to prevent the cultural death of society.

Many people die in the novel. The old woman burns herself to death, Clarisse is killed by a speeding car, Montag kills Beatty with the flamethrower, and the Mechanical Hound kills an innocent man. Among all this destruction, Montag survives and is given new life, reborn after his trip down the river and after meeting Granger and taking the concoction to change his chemical balance. While Montag survives, the city and everyone he knew there are destroyed. Montag's interest in knowledge and dedication to a new and better society saved him. Thus, Bradbury seems to suggest that life is dependent on knowledge and awareness. If we become idle and complacent, we might as well be dead.

In the opening paragraph, the burning book pages are compared to birds trying to fly away. When Millie attempts suicide, Montag compares the tool used to save her to a snake. The Mechanical Hound is a dominant presence throughout the novel. The image of the salamander is dominant as well, as a symbol of the fireman. In addition, the story of the Pheonix plays a prominent role.

This animal imagery expresses the importance of nature in life. The lack of nature, or the manipulation of nature (i.e. the development of the Mechanical Hound), causes death and destruction. The only time animal imagery is positive in the entire novel is when Montag gets out of the river and encounters a deer. At first he thinks it is a Hound, but then realizes his mistake. The deer is peaceful, beautiful, and an expression of nature. This image welcomes Montag into his new life.

Technology in Bradbury's 24th century is highly advanced. Television screens take up entire parlor room walls and characters can speak directly to the listener, addressing him or her by name. Small seashell radios broadcast into people's ears throughout the day. People rely on inventions such as the Mechanical Hound and the snake-like tool used to save Millie's life after her suicide attempt. People drive cars at speeds of 150mph and above. Faber invents a small radio to be inserted in the ear through which he can communicate with Montag. Technology dominates society. Montag discusses this issue briefly with Clarisse and reflects on it as he opens up to the world of books. When he finally escapes his old life, the city is destroyed by atomic bombs (yet another example of negative technology), and Montag begins a simple life with very little technological tools as he sets out to rebuild society with Granger and the other intellectuals. Clearly, Bradbury is commenting on the negative influence of technological development in this world and the destructive potential of technology in our society.

At the opening of Part I, when Montag goes home, his bedroom is described at first as "not empty" and then as "indeed empty". Mildred is there, but her mind is floating away with the music of her seashell radio and she is almost lost to a sleeping pill overdose. This concept of paradoxes continues throughout the book, expressed in the conflicts between life and death mentioned earlier. Examples include the "electric-eyed snake" tool that the technicians use to revive Mildred, and the Mechanical Hound, which appears to be both machine and animal. Furthermore, this paradox exists in the concept of "truth" portrayed in the novel. Beatty's "truth" is a fabrication and manipulation of history. Actual truth is hidden from society, or more accurately, burned. Many people in Montag's life, including Millie and her friends, believe they live in reality when in fact they live in a superficial world dominated by television, government oppression and the media. Society is blind to the truth. Montag's discovery of the truth and his dedication to living a life of truth save him from the ultimate destruction bombs bring to the city.

Although it appears no character in Fahrenheit 451 holds any religious beliefs, Bradbury includes many religious references in this novel. The book Montag saves from the old woman's house is The Bible. Throughout his tribulations, Montag holds on to this book, reading it on the subway, showing it to Faber, and finally, with Granger and the other intellectuals, Montag agrees that The Bible is the book he will memorize in order to one day, in a new society, reprint. Furthermore, Montag compares Millie's friends to icons he saw in a church once but did not understand. Later on in the novel, Faber compares himself to water and Montag to fire, saying the cooperation of the two will produce wine. This is an allusion to the biblical story of the miracle at Cana where Christ transforms water into wine.

At the conclusion of the novel, Montag, Granger and the rest of the intellectuals walk up the river to find survivors of the ultimate atomic destruction of the city. In his walk, Montag remembers passages he read in his Bible from Ecclesiastes 3:1, "To everything there is a season," and Revelations 22:2, "And on either side of the river was there a tree of life...and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations." The apocalypse Montag has witnessed has clear connections to the apocalypse foreseen in the Bible.

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