Dover Beach and Farenheit 451

Good Essays
English 2342
20 April 2011
Dover Beach and Fahrenheit 451 The classic poem, Dover Beach, written by Matthew Arnold, is a statement about losing faith as a result of enlightenment. In an emotionally charged scene in Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, fireman Guy Montag reads the poem aloud to his wife and her friends. Bradbury could have chosen any piece of literature for Montag to read as a means of unveiling his collection of hoarded books and his newfound interest in reading them. Bradbury uses this particular piece because the speaker in the poem is expressing feelings that are very similar to those of Montag in Fahrenheit 451. Matthew Arnold’s masterpiece, Dover Beach, has been dissected and analyzed endlessly since its
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For the world… hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.” With this statement, “Arnold is announcing the big question for the modern world, intent on forcing love to bear the enormous weight of providing human lives with meaning: If love is all humans have, what do they do when they cannot find love, or keep it?” (Ingersoll) Through the words of the man looking at the bay out the window with his love, Matthew Arnold has challenged two of the most widely accepted and unquestioned fundamental beliefs of the past few centuries, or even millennia: faith and love. In Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag is his society’s Matthew Arnold. Instead of being a reverend’s son, he is a fireman’s son. Firemen in Montag’s world don’t extinguish fires, they create them in order to destroy books and all the possible evils that the books contain. His society burns books as if it is a religion. By becoming a fireman himself, Montag is positioned as an integral part of this “religion.” However, as he becomes more and more curious about why they burn the books without ever questioning the burning, he starts to secretly hide books away in the air conditioning vent in his home. Montag knows that hoarding these books is against the law in the society in which he lives, and even punishable by death in extreme cases. The society in which Bradbury has created in Fahrenheit 451 is what is referred to as dystopian. While
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