Montag's Oppression Of Themes In Literature

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During the 1950s, the United States was a nation struggling with panic and paranoia. Following World War II, the democratic United States and the communist Soviet Union became engaged in a series of largely political and economic clashes known as the Cold War, which led to the time period being nicknamed; “The Cold War Era”. Elected officials from both major political parties sought to portray themselves as staunch anticommunists, and few people dared to pass judgment on the questionable tactics used to persecute suspected radicals. Americans felt the effects of the Red Scare on a personal level, and thousands of people saw their lives disrupted. They were hounded by law enforcement, alienated from friends and family and fired from their jobs.…show more content…
Jennifer McClinton Temple states in her book “Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature” that “Therefore, totalitarian governments suppress the qualities and the ideas that make individuals unique” (221). This excerpt shows that the society that Guy lives in is formed by a totalitarian government who goes to the extreme measure of book burning, or censorship, in an attempt to keep everyone “equal” and conformed. In a moment that is very critical to understanding a central theme, Beatty tells Montag “We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought” (62). In this simple yet monumentally important moment, Beatty is trying to reconfirm to Montag that conformity is the ultimate way to secure peace and happiness. Beatty embodies the beliefs of the government in the Fahrenheit 451 world and tries to subtly erase and ease Montag’s newfound doubt. In a sense, Beatty also embodies the American Government during the Cold War Era. Kevin Hoskinson…show more content…
The narrator states that Montag “felt his body divide into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other (25). This inner feeling within Montag that we become privy to is quite important because it shows how Montag is struggling with his beliefs and feelings just like the common “Cold War” man. In Mark V. Dunn’s passage within, we gain further proof that division inside Guy is occurring when he states “Montag’s divided self is clearly displayed by Bradbury at moments when his character is being influenced by the intellectually stimulating characters of Clarisse and Faber (138). Guy Montag’s heart is subject to a division when he begins to fight believing in what his government says is right versus what he feels to be right. In furthering the study into how there is a similarity drawn between Guy and the common “Cold War” man, we must look to what Kevin Hoskinson tells us in “Modern Critical Views: Ray Bradbury” that “The Cold War Man is a man antagonized by conflicting allegiances-one to his government, the other to his personal sense of morals and values-who is forced to make the ultimate choice between these impulses” (136). During the era of the Cold War and the Red Scare, just like the Fahrenheit 451 era, the ordinary man is conflicted in what he feels is right versus the public’s popular
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