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Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451
For more than half a century science fiction writers have thrilled and
challenged readers with visions of the future and future worlds. These authors
Write your Comparison between Brave New World and 1984 research paper
offered an insight into what they expected man, society, and life to be like at
some future time.
One such author, Ray Bradbury, utilized this concept in his work, Fahrenheit
451, a futuristic look at a man and his role in society. Bradbury utilizes the
luxuries of life in America today, in addition to various occupations and
technological advances, to show what life could be like if the future takes a
drastic turn for the worse. He turns mans best friend, the dog, against man,
changes the role of public servants and changes the value of a person.
Aldous Huxley also uses the concept of society out of control in his science
fiction novel Brave New World. Written late in his career, Brave New World
also deals with man in a changed society. Huxley asks his readers to look at
the role of science and literature in the future world, scared that it may be
rendered useless and discarded. Unlike Bradbury, Huxley includes in his book a
group of people unaffected by the changes in society, a group that still has
religious beliefs and marriage, things no longer part of the changed society,
to compare and contrast todays culture with his proposed futuristic culture.
But one theme that both Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451 use in common is
the theme of individual discovery by refusing to accept a passive approach to
life, and refusing to conform. In addition, the refusal of various methods of
escape from reality is shown to be a path to discovery. In Brave New World,
the main characters of Bernard Marx and the Savage boy John both come to
realize the faults with their own cultures. In Fahrenheit 451 Guy Montag
begins to discover that things could be better in his society but, sue to some
uncontrollable events, his discover happens much faster than it would have. He
is forced out on his own, away from society, to live with others like himself
who think differently that the society does.
Marx, from the civilized culture, seriously questions the lack of history
that his society has. He also wonders as to the lack of books, banned because
they were old and did not encourage the new culture. By visiting a
reservation, home of an uncivilized culture of savages, he is able to see
first hand something of what life and society use to be like. Afterwards he
returns and attempts to incorporate some of what he saw into his work as an
advertising agent. As a result with this contrast with the other culture, Marx
discovers more about himself as well. He is able to see more clearly the
things that had always set him on edge the promiscuity, the domination of the
government and the lifelessness in which he lived. (Allen)
John, often referred to as the Savage because he was able to leave the
reservation with Marx to go to London to live with him, also has a hard time
adjusting to the drastic changes. The son of two members of the modern society
but born and raised on the reservation, John learned from his mother the values
and the customs of the civilized world while living in a culture that had
much different values and practices. Though his mother talked of the
promiscuity that she had practiced before she was left on the reservation (she
was accidentally left there while on vacation, much as Marx was) and did still
practice it, John was raised, thanks to the people around him, with the belief
that these actions were wrong. Seeing his mother act in a manner that
obviously reflected different values greatly affected and hurt John, especially
when he returned with Marx to London. John loved his mother, but he, a hybrid
of the two cultures, was stuck in the middle. (May)
These concepts, human reaction to changes in their culture and questioning of
these changes, are evident throughout the book. Huxleys characters either
conform to societys demands for uniformity or rebel and begin a process of
discovery; there are no people in the middle. By doing so, Huxley makes his
own views of man and society evident. He shows that those who conform to the
brave new world become less human, but those who actively question the new
values of society discover truth about the society, about themselves, and about
people in general. An example of this is Huxleys views of drugs as an escape.
The conforming members of society used widely a drug called soma, which induces
hallucinations and escapes from the conscious world for two to eight hour
periods. Those very few who didnt, John included, mainly did not because they
thought the drug either unclean or an easy escape, one not needed in a society
aiming at making life very simple. By refusing to go along in this escape
from reality, John is ultimately able to break from society and define his own
In Fahrenheit 451 Guy Montag, the main character, is able to see through the
government and the official policies of his society. He does so by gradually
beginning to question certain aspect of society which most simply accept as
fact. Montags job as a fireman serves as a setting to show how many people
passively accept the absurdity of their society. Instead of rushing to put out
fires, as firemen today do, Montag rushes to start fires, burning the books and
homes of people reported to have books. This was considered by most people to
be a respectable profession. But on different occasions Montag took a book out
of burning homes and would from time to time read them. From this, he begins
to to question the values of his society.
Montags marriage also serves a setting to contrast passive acceptance versus
questioning of societys values. His marriage is not the happy kind that
couples today experience but more like a coexistence. He and his wife live
together and he supports her, though he apparently neither loves her a great
deal or expects her to love him.
This relationship and living arrangement, with its lack of love, is
Bradburys way of showing what life could be like if people not only stop
communicating but stop thinking and choosing, thus loosing control over their
lives. Montag and his wife continue to live together though people in that
situation today would not hesitate to terminate such a relationship. Montags
wife apparently accepts this relationship because it is normal for the society
in which she lives. (Wolfheim)
Like Brave New Worldcharacters escaping from reality through the use of
soma, Montags wife, and many other characters, escape through watching a
sophisticated form of television. This television system covers three of the
walls of the Montags TV room (they cant afford to buy the screen to cover the
fourth wall), has a control unit that allows the watchers to interact with the
characters on the program and another unit that inserts Mrs. Montags name
into specific places, thus creating the image they the characters are actually
conversing with them. Montags wife, having only a few friends and ones she
rarely sees, spends much of her day in this room, watching a program called
The Family, a government sponsored program that shows the viewers what life
at home should be like.
The problem with this is that Montags wife takes the program as a substitute
for reality. She is almost addicted to the program, much as people were with
soma in Brave New World. Bradbury uses this television and its programs as a
way of showing the escape he is worried people will look for in the future.
Without actively questioning societys values, he is concerned that people will
look for ways to idly spend their time.
But like Marx, Montag chooses not to take part in this addiction. By
abstaining, he can see the affects its use has on the people around him, much
as Marx and more importantly John the Savage saw in their culture. Both
authors try to show that with life made easier by strong government control and
a lack of personal involvement people will no longer spend their time thinking,
questioning or developing their own ideas.
Through these various diversions from normal behavior in society, Marx, John
the Savage and Guy Montag are able to see the truths behind the societies they
live in and are able to learn about themselves. And though their discoveries
meant that their lives would be changed forever, the authors succeeded in
showing that the key to humanity lies in thinking and questioning. These men
found themselves through their own discoveries, much as Bradbury and Huxley
hope others will do.
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