University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Technology in Fahrenheit 451 and the Real World
How technology affects society in Fahrenheit 451 and the real world Every day, everywhere people are using technology to check email, calculate tax, and talk with each other. Technology has greatly affected the social structure today and in Fahrenheit 451. Technology has effected how the TV controls our lives, how we communicate with one another, and how strong the social structure is In both the real world and Fahrenheit 451. Similarly to the real world, in Fahrenheit 451 the TV is a habitual action that diminishes social contact. In the real world too much TV leads to “the Mean World Syndrome.” (Sheldon).
The Mean World Syndrome is a term for people who have watched so much TV that they believe that the world is a much more dangerous place then it actually is. In addition “Every hour spent watching TV, DVDs and videos as an adult reduces life expectancy by almost 22 minutes, a study suggests,”(Hope). This suggests that people will shave off years of their lives doing nothing but staring at a screen. In Fahrenheit 451 the TV is also a very consuming habit. For example Mildred says, “It’s really fun. It’ll be even more fun when we can afford to have the fourth TV wall installed.” (Fahrenheit 20). This quote shows how the TV is putting up a physical and an emotional barrier between family and friends. Although TV diminishes social contact in both Fahrenheit 451 and the real world, it is not as bad as it seems. TV has allowed companies to advertize to a larger audience.
TV has also kept people informed about local crimes that have happened. For example, in Fahrenheit 451, when Montag is running away, the cameras broadcast his ‘murder’ to 20 million viewers. TV has taken control of many lives Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Human communication has greatly increased with the introduction of computers, email, phones, Etc. in the real world as opposed to the lack of communication displayed in Fahrenheit 451. In Fahrenheit 451 people are discouraged from venturing out of their homes to communicate with each other. The mechanical hound is a good example of how the advancements in technology are keeping people from talking to each other without the fear of being hunted down. Another good example of how technology is reducing the amount of communication is how Mildred has replaced her actual family with her so called ‘TV family’(Bradbury 20). In the real world however, because of the increase in amount of technology, there has been an increase in the amount of communication. “Teens on average text over 3500 times in a month,”
(Sheldon).That means that teens are talking online to one another over 100 times a day. Fahrenheit 451 depicts a world where technology has reduced communications whereas today in the real world communication has greatly increased. Technology can either make or break a society. Technology has transformed the real world into a thriving society, which is in contrast with the technological wasteland displayed in Fahrenheit 451. In Fahrenheit 451 the social structure is displayed as a technological dystopia where people live in constant fear. The technology is used mostly to keep the social order intact and keep people from acting out. For example, “-nose so sensitive the Mechanical Hound can remember and identify ten thousand odor indexes on ten thousand men without resetting!”(Bradbury 133). The mechanical hound is used to keep people from being different; it is used to keep people equal. The real world is more of a technological utopia.
Technology is used in classrooms around the world to improve the educational process. ”Imaging studies show the brains of Internet users become more efficient at finding information,” (Richtel). Around half the classrooms in Woodbury High School have a Smartboard to help teach students. Not all technological advances have been beneficial though. After the United States and other countries began the development of nuclear weapons during WWII, the cost of an international incident increased. For example, while John F. Kennedy was the president the was an incident known as the “Cuban Missile Crisis” that dealt with nuclear weapons that the Soviet Union was storing in Cuba as possible attack against the United States.
Technology has had many positive and negative effects in both Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Technology has similarly impacted how much the TV controls our lives and differently impacted communications and social structure in Fahrenheit 451 and the real world. Albert Einstein said, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity.” This famous quote is saying that technology has become a large part of our society, but it is not necessarily a bad thing to have technology in our lives. It is easy to say that technology has become a large part of both the real world society and in Fahrenheit 451.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine, 1982. Print. Sheldon,
Pavica. “Psychologist Examines Effects of Technology Society.” Psychologist Examines Effects of Technology Society. Newswise, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.newswise.com/articles/psychologist-examines-effects-of-technology-society Richtel, Matt. “YOUR BRAIN ON COMPUTERS; Hooked on Gadgets, and Paying a Mental Price.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 07 June 2010. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/technology/07brain.html?pagewanted=all Hope, Jenny. “Is Your TV Killing You? Every Hour of Viewing Takes 22 Minutes off Your Life, Couch Potatoes Are Warned.” Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd, n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2026380/TV-watching-Every-hour-takes-22-minutes-life.html