Two Different Prospects for the Future: Ray Bradbury's and Margaret Atwood

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Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 showed us a world in which people found it acceptable, even preferable, to remain ignorant about the state of their world and face the darker aspects of their own humanity. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale envisioned a theocratic government named Gilead that induced women into the servitude of military commanders for the purpose of procreation. In both of these bleak contemplations of the future, people are discouraged from and harshly punished for expressing any sort of dissent. Perspectives that do not align with the status quo are discouraged, perhaps even feared, and consequently censored. These authors' purpose was perhaps not to foretell a future, but to examine parts of society that necessitated …show more content…
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 showed us a world in which people found it acceptable, even preferable, to remain ignorant about the state of their world and face the darker aspects of their own humanity. Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale envisioned a theocratic government named Gilead that induced women into the servitude of military commanders for the purpose of procreation. In both of these bleak contemplations of the future, people are discouraged from and harshly punished for expressing any sort of dissent. Perspectives that do not align with the status quo are discouraged, perhaps even feared, and consequently censored. These authors' purpose was perhaps not to foretell a future, but to examine parts of society that necessitated examination in order to raise awareness. In both of these novels, any such questioning or dissent is unacceptable, as Atwood's protagonist Offred explains that “thinking can hurt your chances, and I intend to last” (Atwood 8). However, Ray Bradbury's city was razed due to its citizens' apathy and lack of attentiveness. Bradbury's choice of expression even faced hardship in the real world, for he himself “had experienced many pressures to alter his work so as to make it more acceptable to this or that group” (Patai 1). These thoughtful pieces of literature have provoked discussion on the ability to speak and express freely, and ironically, have themselves faced bouts of criticism and censorship. These are freedoms that Diane Wood reminds us
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