Fahrenheit 451 by Bay Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury’s book explores a period in American history when nook burning was common. In the novel’s setting, the firefighters were sanctioned by the state to destroy any belongings found in the homes of people with outlawed books. As such, the government had absolute control of the flow of information by that, enforcing censorship tendencies for its selfish gain. However, the discovery that the same firefighters usually stole a few books to read on their own is ironical. Consequently, the glass factory mentioned in the book symbolizes the moral conscience inherent in every human being. Such a basic instinct helps a person to decipher right from wrong regardless of one’s age, gender, or race. For this reason, individuals need to rely on their conscience in every decision they make to avoid castigating others because such a pretentious attitude is unethical, unfair and helps to prevent consumption of propaganda from government agencies.
Bradbury likens the glass factory to some form of authority in presenting an honest account of events. According to experience, mirrors are an accurate reflection of a person’s identity. They never provide a false appearance and even serve as reminders of some particular aspects of an individual’s body. By making such a comparison, the author aims at creating awareness of the usefulness of preserving historical events since they act as reference points for future challenges (Bradbury, Albright & Eller, 2010). In particular, the factory would be viewed as a center for learning mistakes to avoid their repetition. Similarly, it reinforces the idea that having a sense of right and wrong manages to facilitate proper decision-making rather than committing irrational deeds based on emotional imbalance or external influence. For example, it is evident that the government would like to control the messages that are disseminated through the mass media. By authorizing the firefighters to burn specific books deemed critical of its policies, it hopes to make the citizens compliant to certain norms by that offering little resistance. Such a scenario is similar to the current state of affairs in which the administrations silence dissenting voices. They go to great lengths to regulate mass and electronic media in order to coerce the population into believing their chosen propaganda. Opposing voices are banned by that leading to the arrest or disappearance of human rights advocates. For this reason, the glass factory is a symbol of hope for an end to injustices in which various actions are weighed to ascertain their usefulness in the society. Judging by the significance given to the facility, it appears that it is vital for the community to have an ethical repertoire, which ensures that social justice is maintained.
Likewise, its construction is an acknowledgment of the different evils that occur within the society and the need for them to be identified for correction. By suggesting that the citizens of the city would be obligated to look at the mirrors, the author is providing a challenge to them to confront their past as a way of preparing for the future. Accordingly, the conscience facilitates such kind of interactions whereby an individual assesses his/her actions with the aim of correcting the mistakes made for the sake of a better life (Bloom, 2008). Additionally, it is an opportunity for him/her to realize that humankind faces the same destiny hence the need to treat each other equally without prejudice. For instance, it is unfair that people with banned books were rendered homeless by firefighters who themselves stole or owned theirs. Such form of discrimination helps to develop tensions among people, which could escalate to ethnic, gender, economic or racial divisions. As such, the mirrors would put this behavior into perspective and help to enforce adjustments.
Moreover, the glass factory is a testament to the need to eradicate illiteracy. As the inhabitants of the fictional city watched their images on the screens, they would be able to notice certain flaws that they may have overlooked. By so doing, they would be conscious of their existence thereby devising ways of overcoming their inadequacies. Therefore, having an ethical mindset would help in the transformation of the society into an informed entity to prevent its vulnerability to consuming information without conducting proper vetting. In most instances, people are manipulated into believing the official version of events as told by government officials. Nevertheless, such communication is laden with inconsistencies that cannot be easily inferred to the ordinary citizen. It is incumbent upon the recipients to develop an analytical mind that would interrogate the findings being presented in order to separate the truth from the lies (Reid, 2000). In that way, they can demand accountability and transparency. Therefore, the glass factory’s symbolism of conscience is vital in enhancing the society’s responsibility of being vigilant to government activities to prevent dictatorial tendencies and a trampling of civil liberties.
Additionally, the mirrors act as a form of resistance especially to conformity. Throughout the novel, the people are subjected to rigorous routines aimed at making them live a simple lifestyle and giving the government more leeway to conduct its activities. In fact, citizens who offered resistance towards the burning of their possessions and books were brutalized into submission. It was a tactic meant to scare others into avoiding confronting the state. Accordingly, they lived predictable lives. However, the mirrors would grant them the chance to seek alternative ways of conducting affairs. Similarly, having and implementing ethics in daily life would drive people to seek for a better way of living rather than accepting some of the illegalities committed by the authorities. As a voice of reason, it would spur citizens into providing checks and balances towards their elected representatives thereby helping to stem vices such as corruption, injustice, and censorship. Elimination of such complacency would also be a great way of enhancing their freedoms.
It is evident that the books were a source of enlightenment to the public as well. The manner in which the state ruthlessly enforced their ban suggests that censorship is used as a tool to enhance the government’s reputation among the masses by glossing over the truth. It is also an admission that the administration is involved in dishonest conduct of which the population should be uninformed. However, this is an illegality because some of these operations are unconstitutional. As such, the glass factory was to serve as an advocate of righteousness whose objective was to highlight the wrongs being propagated. It can be attributed to the mind as well because it is meant to examine the rationale for specific actions by the government as well as other mainstream media in comparison to the official version of events. It does so by offering insights and broadening the mental capacity of individuals so that they can have independent opinions especially on matters affecting their lives (Bloom, 2008). In most instances, such revelations would inspire the citizens to make certain demands of their government, failure to which would lead to a revolution. Therefore, the factory symbolizes the ability to reason rather than be a consumer of information because that is the only way to separate truth from fiction.
Furthermore, the likening of the glass factory and its mirrors to the mind is deliberate as it represents continuity. While Bradbury describes the burning of books and possessions and its impact of depriving the victims of their livelihoods, this facility could not be burnt. Rather, it could only be damaged by breakages. Nevertheless, the pieces of mirrors would still have the ability to offer reflections of images. Consequently, an individual’s material wealth can be confiscated yet his/her mind cannot be replaced. Unlike the goods that may be carted away forever, the conscience is inbuilt and can be harnessed in under any circumstances. As such, this is an indication of the benefits of tapping into one’s knowledge to avoid being gullible to outside influence because it could be misleading. In fact, the motive of silencing people is pegged on the premise that they are ignorant and should be forced to remain that way. However, just as in the novel, it is inevitable that the population will realize the folly of following unjust orders and reconstitute themselves into an enlightened opposition movement using educational tools available to them. Such materials would offer them a different perspective on issues, help to separate the fact from the lies thereby ensuring a just, and free society for all.
Bloom, H. (2008). Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, new edition. New York: Chelsea House.
Bradbury, R., Albright, D., & Eller, J. R. (2010). A Pleasure to Burn: Fahrenheit 451 Stories. Burton, MI: Subterranean Press.
Reid, R. A. (2000). Ray Bradbury: A Critical Companion. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press.
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