The city is being dominated by technology, with books being deemed illegal and subject to destruction through burning. In Ray Bradbury’s FAHRENHEIT 451, technology showcases its advantages, but it also brings forth numerous issues. Continual reliance on technology in this country transforms it into more of a prison than a thriving city. It constrains individuals from behaving in certain manners or carrying out diverse tasks. Any deviation from the law or alternative approach leads to arrest. In multiple ways, technology is employed as a means of controlling people.
Citizens have developed a strong dependency on the technology at their disposal, exemplified by the parlor wall. In Bradbury’s novel, the main character Montage fears the mechanical dog and consequently refrains from any impulsive or disorderly behavior to maintain favor with the dog. While some citizens resist being controlled by technology, they face consequences for their defiance. Bradbury’s narrative, Fahrenheit 451, explores the significant role of technology, with people primarily focusing on its positive aspects like the snake while disregarding its drawbacks such as the parlor wall.
The parlor wall is used to brainwash people, leading them to desire to replicate the actions they witness. Mildred is one among many who have become addicted to the parlor wall, experiencing a form of brainwashing through the virtual reality individuals she observes and engages with in her living room. Consequently, Mildred’s overdose on pills occurred as a result of her being influenced by the parlor wall. Subsequently, Montage contacted the emergency hospital, where two men removed all of Milliard’s blood and replaced it with fresh, healthy blood (Bradbury 13-18).
The morning after Montage woke up, he noticed that Mildred was not by his side. Concerned, he hurriedly searched for her whereabouts. Montage entered the kitchen and found her eating nonchalantly, as if nothing had happened the night before. Seating himself beside her, he inquired about her well-being. Mildred complained of a stomach ache without any apparent cause. She believed she had attended a party and was now experiencing a hangover effect. After listening to her, Montage informed Mildred that she had taken too many sleeping pills, resulting in an overdose. Consequently, she had passed out and was assisted by paramedics.
Mildred expressed disbelief in anything Montage said, stating that she would never engage in such behavior. After discussing this, she inquired about when they would acquire their Ruth parlor wall. Mildred mentioned that it would cost them two thousand dollars, which is equivalent to one third of Montage’s annual income. Moreover, she mentioned that although they are still paying for the third wall they obtained two months ago, there are possibilities to obtain the desired parlor wall (Bradbury 18-20).
Mildred is not the only person who is apathetic towards the negative effects of the parlor wall. People are indifferent to its potential mental and physical harm, solely driven by the desire to watch and imitate what is shown on the screen. The parlor wall manipulates and exploits individuals, regardless of whether they suffer physical or mental harm. The mechanical hound possesses flickering green and blue eyes, moves on eight insect-like legs, and possesses one-inch teeth that inject morphine or procaine into its enemies.
The mechanical hound is employed to instill fear and ensure compliance with rules, discouraging impulsive or disorderly behavior. Additionally, it serves as a means for generating income. In Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, firefighters would descend the fire pole and set up the hound’s olfactory system with various stimuli, releasing rats, hickeys, and cats within the fire station. A betting activity ensued to predict which animal would be captured first (Bradbury 25).
The text demonstrates how the characters are receiving money and also highlights the dangerous nature of the hound’s attacks. Montage is not involved in these games as he once lost a week’s salary in a bet and got into a fight with his wife, Mildred (Bradbury 25). Engaging in these games is not wise as individuals could risk losing all their money and face potential harm from the hound while they watch.
The hound does not exhibit friendliness even in its normal state. Montage approached the mechanical beast and greeted it, gently touching its muzzle. However, this action caused the hound to growl and move towards Montage. Fortunately, Montage was able to escape in time (Bradbury 24-26). In the book, Montage expresses his observation to the captain, stating “I don’t think it likes me.” To this, the captain responds by dismissing the notion, saying that the hound does not possess emotions like liking or disliking. It simply fulfills its function, akin to a lesson in ballistics. The hound operates based on trajectory set by humans, targeting and pursuing its objective with copper wire, batteries, and electricity. Montage later mentions that the hound is capable of injecting lethal fluids into people. Additionally, he reveals that all the files of the firefighters are stored on the first floor of the fire station, making it easy for someone to manipulate the hound to target a specific individual (Bradbury 26). If the hound can be programmed to attack someone, no one can consider themselves safe around this mechanized creature. The fear of being targeted by this machine restricts people from certain actions.
If individuals deviate from societal norms by rejecting twenty-first century technology and adopting alternative approaches, they may face severe consequences, including potential arrest or even execution. In Ray Bradbury’s novel FAHRENHEIT 451, the possession of books is deemed illegal, leading to arrest; those who refuse to surrender their books are subjected to their destruction through burning. The storyline portrays a situation in which firemen receive an alert, and upon reaching the building, identify the specific apartment inhabited by the person who committed the offense (Bradbury 36-37). Typically, law enforcement personnel would promptly arrive at such scenes, apprehend the perpetrator, and transport them to a correctional facility. However, in this particular scenario, the individual remained present at the location despite the usual protocol.
When Montage and the rest of the firefighters arrived at the apartment, they noticed that there was an elderly lady still inside. They instructed her to evacuate, but she declined. In response, the firefighters proceeded to douse everything with kerosene. Despite being urged again to leave, the lady persisted in staying. Beauty initiated a countdown from ten while Montage pleaded with her to depart. However, midway through the countdown, she abruptly interrupted Beauty and revealed a match in her hand. All the firefighters retreated except for Montage, who persisted in imploring her to evacuate. Eventually, she commanded him to back away, and he complied.
She burned herself with her books (Bradbury 38-39). While they were driving back to the fire station in their fire truck, Montage mentioned that the women had uttered something before dying. Beauty remembered hearing the same words from two men who had also chosen to burn themselves alive in 1955 (Bradbury 39-40). If the government persists in using technology to control people, it will result in more deaths and arrests, causing only physical and mental harm to those being governed.
The government shows no concern for the harm they cause, as long as people obey their rules and follow their instructions. They will persist in employing parlor walls to induce individuals to squander their money and manipulate them into behaving in a specific manner. Mechanical bots will be used by the government to instill fear in the city’s inhabitants and exploit it as a means of obtaining funds. No one will be allowed to obstruct their desires; consequently, failure to abide by the regulations will result in punishment. The government is prepared to resort to any means necessary to achieve their objectives.