The Impact of Technology on Individuality in Fahrenheit 451 Essay Example

Norman Mailer once said “Obsession is the single most wasteful activity, because with an obsession you keep on coming back and back and back to the same question and never get an answer.” The dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury comments on this quote and how obsession is not a good thing. It tells the story of a fireman named Guy Montag, who lives in a society of technology obsessed people, which includes his wife, Mildred, who spends all day watching TV. Along the story, he has some interactions with his new neighbor, Clarisse, before she dies. Clarisse is a person who enjoys the outdoors and Montag originally sees her as a weird individual, but over time he starts to see where Clarisse is coming from. Fahrenheit 451 demonstrates that the obsessive use of technology in people’s lives leads to a lack of individuality.

For example, Ray Bradbury uses the society in book to exhibit that obsessive technology use leads to a lack of individuality. For instance, when Montag is condemned as a fugitive for killing his boss, Beatty, and for hoarding books, the government use the parlor walls-also known as TVs, to tell the people to all together look outside their house to see if they see Montag is outside with Montag thinking that “the doors opened. He imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into alleys, and into the sky, faces hid by curtains, pale, night-frightened faces ” (Bradbury 132). The author specifically uses the phrase “thousands on thousands of faces” because it refers to a large number of people that are all paying attention to the parlor walls at this time. It shows that in order to get everyone to do something together the government has to say it through the parlor walls; revealing how people are addicted to TV in this society and pay attention to little else. Due to everyone watching TV so much, and the use of the words “pale, night-frightened faces”, Ray Bradbury is saying that everyone is the same. They all stay inside a lot, as it appears that they are all afraid of the night or of the outdoors. This confirms that because everyone is so obsessed with TV, they no longer do things differently, presenting the lack of uniqueness in this society. To add on, once Montag gets home, and finds his wife, Mildred overdosed and unconscious with thimble-wasps or earbuds still playing in her ears, he calls the emergency hospital, where two workers revive her and then say “we gotta go. Just had another call on the old ear-thimble. Ten blocks from here. Someone else just jumped off the cap of the pillbox” (Bradbury 13). The author shows how even though Mildred is unconscious, she is still wearing “thimble-wasps” or earbuds to demonstrate that people in this society as so needy of technology that they have it with them always even in situations where it is not necessary like in the state of unconsciousness. Ray Bradbury, then uses the workers of the emergency hospital receiving another call of someone overdosing to convey how other people are also overdosing with pills, illustrating how people overdosing on pills is a regularity in this society. This proves that people are losing their individuality as they are all using pills in the same way, with the hospital going from house to house to revive them, always doing the same thing to save the patients every time. To wrap things up, Ray Bradbury uses the general society of Fahrenheit 451 and displays how once people become obsessed with technology, they lose their uniqueness, making everyone act the same.

In addition, Ray Bradbury specifically also uses Clarisse to emphasize that the obsessive use of technology leads to a lack of individuality. For example, when Montag meets Clarisse, Montag feels uneasy at first because Clarisse is different and questions society. Whereas, others just watch TV all day as she says “I rarely watch the ‘parlor walls’ or go to races or Fun Parks. So I’ve lots of time for crazy thoughts” (Bradbury 7). The author uses Clarisse to emphasize how society has a lack of individuality because where everyone else is the same, watching parlor walls and going to Fun Park, which is a place where people play recklessly and live on the edge, Clarisse symbolizes the extreme abnormality of society as she does not watch parlor walls or go to Fun Park. Due to all of society watching so much TV besides Clarisse, who is not, it illustrates how because everyone is using tech and not questioning things of society, they lost their differences, making them all act the same. Another instance where Clarisse is used to emphasize that obsessive use of technology leads to lack of individuality, when Montag pretends to be sick to not go to his fireman job and his wife Mildred complains about it for a little bit before focusing on the TV again, his boss Beatty comes by and talks about Clarisse as “She didn’t want to know how a thing was done, but why.” (Bradbury 57) and “Luckily queer ones like her don’t happen often” (Bradbury 58). The author emphasizes on the words “how” and “why” in the situation to point out how rather than be like everyone else in society where they just want a straight to the point answer in how, Clarisse liked to ask questions that involved an answer that people had to elaborate on. The phrase “queer ones like her don’t happen often” just emphasizes how she is different than society as the rest of society all behave the same way, each person acting like another person, and not having any differences between them, displaying how obsessive technology use removes someone’s individuality. To conclude, Clarisse is used by Ray Bradbury to show the other side and what happens when someone is not consumed by technology usage. Instead of lacking in individuality, Ray Bradbury uses Clarisse to say that when someone is not obsessed with technology, they are able to separate themselves from other people and contrast from the rest of society.

Fahrenheit 451 was a book written in 1953 by Ray Bradbury and yet it still stays relevant after fifty plus years because it addresses how obsession affects people’s lives when it gets out of hand. This novel suggests to society what could happen if their attachment to technology gets out of hand. The society in the novel and Clarisse to indicate how using too much technology can affect how unique someone is. If society today would stop focusing so much on technology and start appreciating how they are different from each other more, everyone could learn a lot from each other.


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