Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury starts with our protagonist Guy Montag running into Clarisse McClellan. When Montag ran into Clarisse his life changed forever. As the story moves on he comes across a very important decision of whether to pursue happiness or to continue in a mindless trance, his life led on by the government.
A society hooked on TV, and police forces that harass and punish independent thinkers, this is what the future holds in store for us in Fahrenheit 451. Guy Montag is a 3rd generation fireman, he had the typical features of a fireman which means black hair, black eyebrows, fiery face, and blue-steel shaved but unshaven look. Originally Montag was happy to burn books “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” (Bradbury, 1) However, soon after he met Clarisse he realized that he, in fact, was not happy, he wasn’t in love, he was alone in a dark and manipulating world. Montag is sometimes rash and has a hard time thinking for himself.
The theme in this book is “Knowledge is both a gift and a curse”. One example was when the old woman was burned alive, refusing to give up her books. “The woman on the porch reached out with contempt for them all, and struck the kitchen match against the railing.” (19) You can see because the woman had been hoarding hundreds of books when one of her neighbors reported her to the firemen. They went over to burn all the books and the house down however when it came time to light it on fire, she would not leave the books proving how they had been a curse as the books had cost her, her life. But, while she had the books she had the gift of knowledge and the ability to draft back through time through the pages of the books. Proving that they had also been a gift. The dystopian future set in Fahrenheit 451 teaches its occupants not to think, to have its government simplify their way of life at let them control every aspect of their life. For Montag, his everyday life was to burn books when any were ever found. He would enjoy watching the books burn, their pages to blacken, and for the smoke to wisp off into the air. This was until he started to ask just why he was burning books after he burned the old women he started asking what was so important in books that had caused the woman herself to stay and be burnt alive. “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” (24)
You can see from the book that the people in the dystopian future are supplementing thinking with technology, they are creating fake families for the ones they never had, they are using technology as a way to supplement for happiness, for connection to other people. We can see this becoming an alarming problem today as millions of both adults and children spend hours on electronic devices. They are replacing happiness and their connections with their family members with electronic devices. “Millie? Does the White Clown love you?” (36) You can see from here that Mildred had been supplementing happiness with her fake family, and when she was asked whether the White Clown loved her she did not know and later changed the subject.