Fahrenheit 451

Describe the society (a fictional America) that Montag lives in. In what ways is it similar to,but more extreme than, our society? What signs are there that it is a “dystopia” (the opposite of a utopia, an ideal society)?

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Montag lives in a futuristic United States wherein the citizens are consumed by a conformist mindset, leaving no room for indivduality and free thought. It is similar to our society in that it is a consumerist society that has its people waiting for the newest thing or always expecting more and never being happy with what they have. They love media and television, but where our society is able to draw a line between reality and entertainment and live independently of it, their people cannot; they thrive off of their shows and it is all that they are able to think of (Mildred is a perfect example). School is soul-sucking and boring but where we at least have the choice of electives and the chance to ask questions, information is just shoved down their throats, and they are being made into followers not thinkers.

It is a dystopia because of the rule the government has over the people. They are blatantly lying to them (see Faber commenting on the mobilization of ten million men instead of one million because one million sounds happier) and tell them only what they want to hear (see Mrs. Phelps? saying that Pete will be home by the end of the week). There have already been two nuclear wars and there is another that happens throughout the novel. But, the main reason this is a dystopia is due to the inability of the people to think for themselves. There is no true freedom, only the illusion of freedom.


Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury