Fahrenheit 451: the Firemen

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The 1950’s, an era that plagued the minds of Americans with fears of atomic war and Cold War conspiracies, provides an appropriate setting for the foundation of novels protesting government policies. Animal Farm, 1984, and other similar satires of the time period demand government reform. But Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 staunchly contrasts these other writings; rather than presenting some omniscient tale admonishing its audience of the dangers of government hierarchy, Bradbury uses satire to criticize primarily emerging trends in society, providing an account that deems them equally as harrowing and dangerous as some authoritarian government, although he does include a limited number of strands involving an anti-government theme. This…show more content…
Yet in Fahrenheit 451, they set fire to what is good, knowledge and people alike. “On the front porch where she had come to weigh them quietly with her eyes, her quietness a condemnation, the woman stood motionless. Beatty flicked the switch to spark the kerosene.” (Fahrenheit 451) The firemen burned her. This intense contrast between what is expected of firemen in the real world and how the firemen act in Bradbury’s fabricated world emphasizes the importance of their role in the book. The television installers still install televisions, and people still drive too fast, but the firemen no longer extinguish fires, they ignite them, and that is something notable.
Equally as notable, the firemen do not set the fires because they are forced to do so; they set fires because they believe it is right. They are the enforcement of censorship. They are the hands of the government. They are the embodiment of evil. Yet the firemen are willing. As spectators to the atrocious society that Bradbury depicts, we cannot help but cringe as the old woman is burned to death, or as the city is finally destroyed. We cannot understand why the firemen are so eager to commit such heinous crimes until we understand what Bradbury’s futuristic society really depicts. It depicts a society composed of puppets that cannot think but only comprehend. The firemen believe it is right to destroy books because that is what

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