Fahrenheit 451 Essay

Fahrenheit 451
A complacent society is a carefree, obedient one which allows itself to be drained of individuality and diminished into a dehumanised state where free speech and critical thinking is condemned. Ray Bradbury explores this notion through his novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by presenting to the audience the transformation of an estranged Montag within a consumer driven dystopian setting where media dictates all thoughts and attitude and, where there is no remote semblance of individuality. Using diverse characterisation, a comprehensive narrative style coupled with a frightening, yet potentially realistic plot and setting, Bradbury effectively demonstrates the importance of individuality and intellectualism in society as well as the dangers of censorship.
Bradbury takes the standpoint of an omniscient narrator providing a deep perspective into the setting he has created, but however centres all events on the novel’s chief protagonist, Montag. Montag is initially presented to us as a model of professionalism and conformism in society, a fireman with “black hair, black brows, fiery face” and the “blue steel shaved but unshaved look”. He takes great content in his occupation and with society “bearing the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame”. However he is slightly aware that something is wrong with society and collects and reads books in secrecy in order to quench his thirst for knowledge. It is not until a fateful meeting with the young, innocent Clarisse, who asks him the simple question “are you happy?” that Montag reconsiders his contentment, finding that he is in fact discontent, and is able to gain a basic comprehension of the denial of individuality present within his society. This new found understanding of society and discontent stemming from it results in several conflicts involving him and society throughout the novel.
Bradbury creates an uncertain yet multifaceted character through Montag. Montag feels passionate about inciting a...