In the Science Fiction novella Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the protagonist, Guy Montag, works as a fireman that burns books rather than putting out fires, like a fireman is intended to do. Montag starts out as a loyal citizen to the society, burning books without question and participating in the suppression of knowledge. Fireman help to destroy all forms of knowledge, books being the main subject in this novel.
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This story is filled with countless examples of ignorance and knowledge and it is displayed through most of the characters during the course of the story. The society in Fahrenheit 451 is very lacking of communication. This is a problem that Guy Montag begins to fully realize during the beginning of the story. This is a sign of ignorance. People will move all their focus to their tvs instead of to their relationships with others.
A prime example of this is Mildred, Montag’s troubled wife. She spends her time wondering what her next television show will be rather than how her own husband is doing. Montag begins to question everything when he meets clarisse, who ends up asking him if he was truly happy with his life. Nobody listens to me anymore. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me. I can’t talk to my wife: she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read. (2.82) Montag had given up on fixing his relationship with Mildred because he knew nothing could mend their unhappy life together, especially not books. So he had to look to someone else for the help he desired. Faber, the one person Montag believes can help him achieve his goals and bring back books and knowledge to the world. Faber, like Montag, seeks to protect and take back the rights of books and the knowledge that the world is so afraid of and trying to censor. Number one: do you know why books such as this are so important? They have quality…Number two: leisure and digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two. (2. 83-85)
Faber uses the knowledge of books as his advantage compared to the rest of society, who spend all their time on the electronics of the world. Faber immediately expresses his love and passion for books throughout his time in the novel, but he is too afraid to do much about it. He hides out in his home and is very cautious as to who he makes contact with. He views himself as a coward and it wasn’t easy winning over his trust, but Montag was able to talk him into it. Guy Montag, Clarisse, and Faber are all examples of the knowledge that is shown throughout the story. They are different in a way that prevents them from succumbing to ignorance. They look beyond the parlor walls and instead of talking of things, they talk of the meaning of things. Montag is soon taught, by Clarisse, that happiness is very much involved in the concept of knowledge. This pulls him from ignorant and transitions him to knowledgable. He was not happy. He said these words to himself.
He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back. (1. 12) Clarisse was the one who started on Montag’s journey with books and shed light on just how censored and distracted the world was. Nobody was happy, they were all just distracted by what the world wanted everyone to see, constantly blaring the television and showing off blinding billboards that stretched on for miles down the highway. The world had plummeted and became ignorant to what was important; knowledge and happiness. There are countless ways to explain the use of Ignorance and knowledge in bradbury’s novel fahrenheit 451. It is concluded that ignorance is brought out through distraction, people believe that ignorance leads to an easier life. A life that is controlled brings out all the unhappiness in the. On the other hand, happiness is achieved through knowing, thinking, learning, and connecting(communicating). Through the course of the story the concept of ignorance and knowledge is explained through each individual character, especially Guy Montag, who goes through one of the most drastic life changes in which change his life forever.
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