College Papers

Xavier them to be, a conforming mass all

Xavier JamiesonMr. DempseyENG4U28 December 2017Success is TruthAs the late Ray Bradbury once said “There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them”. The literary talents of Ray Bradbury and George Orwell shine bright through their works: 1984 and Fahrenheit 451. If one has not had the pleasure of reading those books it truly would be a crime. Both books are quite similar as they include a dystopian society with protagonists who are trying to escape the stranglehold of oppressing leaders. In the end both protagonists attempted freedom but with differing outcomes. The success of Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451, unlike that of Winston Smith from the novel 1984 was entirely due to Guy Montag’s ability to utilize those around him to escape the stranglehold of those in power. When looking at Montags journey and the success which came of it, the single most important person is Faber. If Montag was unable to utilize the knowledge and help of Faber there would have been no way for him to achieve success in the end. Fabers role in the Fahrenheit 451 is providing a mentor type figure to Montag. He teaches Montag that books display the element of humanity in everyday life and situations and also dispalys the terrible truth “that the ‘telivisor’ is irresistible. Furthermore, if you ‘drop a seed’ (take a sedative) and turn on the televisor, ‘It grows you any shape it wishes. It becomes and is the truth.’ It makes a people into what it wants them to be, a conforming mass all acting in unison”(Eller). This lesson shows Montag what he needs to see in order for him to realise what will show him his true happiness; which lies in books. Faber also coaches Montag both in person and through the hearing device planted in his ear. He helps direct Montags reactions through altercations with Mildred’s friends and several altercations with Beatty along the way. Oddly enough though, Faber and Montag had met many years before the time where the book takes place. The too met in a park at random and hit it off. After a conversation they had about books he gave Montag his resources to use in order to contact him if he was interested. After Montag is made aware of  the beauty of books, he decided to contact Faber and together, the two men try to work together against their oppressive society. “Faber is responsible for getting books reproduced and printed, and Montag will plant books in the homes of firemen in an attempt to discredit them and destroy the repression of censorship. The two men communicate via a two-way radio earpiece”(Benson). “All in all, the idea Faber is trying to convey is that if Montag is to escape the technological cocoon which the culture has built up him, he must do it in mind and body, in books and sensations”(Eller). If it were not for Montags ability to see how great of a resource Faber can be to him and to utilize him and his knowledge, he would not have been able to seek success to the extent that he did.  Captain Beatty was also a character that Montag was able to utilize. Initially, when a reader analyzes Beatty as a character he may seem like he is just the know it all fire captain who has a fiery passion for burning books. But he is a lot more than that and Montag is quick to recognize that as the plot develops. Montag sees the inner conflict in Beatty and takes advantage of it. He is able to get Beatty to provide him with valuable insight and knowledge, things to reflect on and think about, and the truth of how things got to where they were. “Captain Beatty, Montag’s superior, ironically becomes his “teacher.” Even though Beatty’s purpose is to bring Montag back into conformity with the system, he drives Montag farther away during his ‘history lesson”(Eller). The history lesson he provided unveiled to Montag the true history of his occupation as a firefighter. The history he is made aware of covers; why books are banned, and how those living in the society he lives in lost all the capability to be able to think on their own. “Beatty tells him that the condition of the world and the rejection of “books” and their ideas was a “mass” phenomenon. Not only did the population find it easier to read condensed versions of literature and digests rather than whole works, but it was also more “agreeable.” Books are notorious for their slippery and contradictory ideas. It becomes easier and safer to do away with them altogether; this is the job of the fireman. Over time, substitutions displaced books altogether: photography and film, rule books, sports, and trivial information. Fill them up with “non-combustible” stuff so they feel “absolutely brilliant” but lack any thought which may have “two sides… no philosophy or sociology,” says Beatty. Then we can have a perfect tyranny of technology over the comfortable and thoughtless.”(Eller)All the information Captain Beatty provides, answers countless questions that Montag had, and instead of resolving Montags dilemma at the time, ends up leaving him more disconnected as he does not want things to be the way that had Beatty described. As described in the book, “Beatty also gives him permission to keep the book The Hearth and the Salamander for a day before returning it to the Fire Station”(Bradbury) to be disposed of or in other words terminated. This helps Montag feel a lot better and provides him with more confidence when thinking about keeping books in his everyday life. Beatty also subtly hints to Montag that he himself went through a period of time where he faced the same problems before he was able to come back to work and be content with the profession he pursued. This also makes Montag feel better about his recent breakdown and gives him a chance to think about it with a lot more clarity. By presenting Montag with all of the information and things to think about, even when done without knowing it, pushed Montag into realizing what his heart truly desired. It also made him realize how unhappy the society was making him. Although it was not Beattys intent it, let Montag discover that he can not continue to keep being who he has been and that he must escape soon. If it was not for Montags ability to realize that he could inherit such vast knowledge from Beatty and use that to his advantage, he would not have been able to use it to help himself escape the oppressive society that he was trapped living in.Another individual that Montag is able to utilize in order to gain freedom from the oppressive society he was born into was Clarisse Mcclellan. Clarisse is Montags next door neighbor who is silenced by the government for living independently and learning the true meaning of life “She teaches him that he and everyone else are subject to the dictates of others, that their thoughts and experiences are controlled”(Eller). She’s very chatty, and through a few walks with Montag she is able to open his eyes to the world of freedom as she uses books to show him. Clarisse is his first teacher. Clarisse prods him back into experiencing the outside world’s sensations. She entices him out of the insulated “walls” of their house and into the rain, away from the rule books and 3-D comics whose content is strictly controlled so as to ensure that everything is agreeable—that is, all packaged to promote conformity and consumerism(Eller).Montag grows increasingly dissatisfied with his life the more he talks with Clarisse. He starts to wonder if perhaps books aren’t so bad after all, and even steals one from a house he burns down. Her influence on Montag at the beginning of the story is quite extensive; because of her, Montag decides to begin reading himself. Montag could have easily told the girl to leave him alone after the first interaction he had with her, but instead he saw something that he had never seen in someone else especially at such a young age and he knew he could possibly get something positive out of it. He definitely did not expect it to have such an impact in the end. It was Montags ability to see the potential and utilize it to better himself that helped him on his jaunt towards freedom. When looking at the novel 1984, Winston Smith is led to believe that he has met the love of his life, but also his ally in Julia. Initially, they both appear to have the same interest in escaping struggle of the oppressive leader (Big Brother) in Oceania. Where Winston was unable to utilize Julia to help him escape oppression was by not analyzing Julias way of  survival and rebellion against the state. Winston is content with just managing to survive, where as his counterpart Julia is a true survivalist, as she uses any means necessary to run her egocentric rebellion against the state. Her behaviour is that of a committed party follower, but behind the mask she is able to put on lay an individual with unchecked human desires and a deliberate spirit. Julia is far more intuitive and realistic than Winston. She understands the Party better than he does and is more devious in the ways that she defies the Parties ideologies. While Winston is emotional about the Party and its potential downfall, Julia feels his wishes are purely an unrealistic fantasy and is indifferent to the Party’s principles. Instead of Winston looking at the big picture (there overall escape), he is caught with only intent of satisfying his desires as a way of rebelling against The Party.Desire is thoughtcrime in Oceania because it elevates the human, the individual, above the powers of the state to control him. In fact, as Winston and Julia begin to make love for the first time, this piece of repressed knowledge becomes conscious; “the animal instinct,” he thinks, “the simple undifferentiated desire: that was the force that could tear the Party to pieces.”(Fitzpatrick) Nevertheless, it is an ill-advised idea for their general well being and ends up becoming what leads to their downfall. If Winston could have caught on to her mentality and mindset instead of focussing on desire as a way of rebellion,  he definitely would have had a greater chance in staying under the radar and detecting potential threats getting in the way of his ultimate goal. Winstons fatal error was being unable to recognize that Mr. Charrington was not as he appeared. Mr. Charrington appeared to just be an old man who ran the antique store in the district. When the two first met, he was kind and encouraging to Winston and seemed to share the same interests in things of the past. He also seems to support Winston’s rebellion against the Party and his relations with Julia, since he rents Winston a room without a telescreen in which to carry out his affair. But Charrington is not as he seems. He is a member of the Thought Police. His shop is a trap designed to entice party members who are swaying toward subversion. The first hint that Winston should have recognized was all of the illegal items openly displayed such as the book he had been encouraged to purchase. Also, Charrington later attempts to manipulate Winston further by offering him even more illegal items and a private room with no telescreen. Winston failed to recognize that he was being tricked by Charrington; when he knew that all buildings had telescreens put into them when the party took over. Instead he ignored that fact and assumed that the room was left without one completely. The fact that Winston was entirely oblivious to the off putting behaviour of and was unable to utilize that to his advantage is one of the reasons why he was unsuccessful in his quest to seek freedom.Goldstein is another person who Winston should have utilized but did not.  According to the Party, Goldstein is the legendary leader of the Brotherhood. The Party describes him as the most dangerous and treacherous man in Oceania. While Winston knows that, he does not use that to his advantage as it is made quite obvious Goldstein is the only person in Oceania that the party had ever had fear in. At the end of Part Two Winston to realises Goldstein’s final message. It is, in his words:The future belonged to the Proles.This is a turning point in 1984: without finishing Goldstein’s book, Winston learned the true meaning of rebellion. That is, that the Proles will eventually become conscious of the Party’s absolute power and they will rise up and overthrow. Why Winston did not use Goldstein’s book or the messages in it to influence others or to help him with his endeavors with The Proles, is a major fault.Then, there are The Proles. “If there is hope,’ wrote Winston, ‘it lies in the proles.’If there was hope, it MUST lie in the proles, because only there in those swarming disregarded masses, 85 percent of the population of Oceania, could the force to destroy the Party ever be generated. The Party could not be overthrown from within”(Orwell, 89)All hope lies with the proles and Winston knows that, the fact that he was unable to utilize them to help overthrow the party was an error of mass proportions. They are the only part of society with the amount of people/ manpower necessary to overcome the military forces of the Party. Winston knows that the only threat to the party is from someone in the Outer Party, who would have the ability to think beyond their own needs, and might be able to provide the Proles with hope of a better life if they revolt. The way to overthrow the government of Oceania would have to be a Prole who has managed to think or have there basic thinking patterns enlightened enough to think beyond basic needs and manage to organize a movement without Big Brother noticing. When looking back at the errors made by Winston Smith and the success of Guy Montag made evident throughout the text above, it may leave one feeling lugubrious or even anxious. That is due to how small a difference between the two characters behaviours, but how large a difference there is with their outcomes in the end of there journeys. When it all came down to it, it was the ability to utilize those around them to escape the stranglehold of those in power. Maybe if Winston would not have listened to the great Bob Dylans lyrics so literally he would not have been so content with the ideology  “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” as a guidline when trying to escape tyranny and may have had a different fate in the end.Works CitedBenson, Sonia, et al. “Fahrenheit 451.” UXL Encyclopedia of U.S. History, vol. 3, UXL, 2009, pp. 529-532. Gale Virtual Reference Library, Accessed 11 Jan. 2018.Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Delo, 2004Eller, Edward E. “An overview of Fahrenheit 451.” Literature Resource Center, Gale, 2017. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 12 Jan. 2018Fitzpatrick, Kathleen. “An overview of 1984.” Literature Resource Center, Gale, 2017. Literature Resource Center, Accessed 13 Jan. 2018Orwell, George. 1984. Ishi Press International, 1949.