Dystopia in Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 Essay A dystopia is defined as a community or a society that is undesirable or frightening in some important way. There have been many novels written about such societies, such as 1984 by George Orwell, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 describes a dystopian society in which books are outlawed and technology is prevalent. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury conveys a significant message through the contrasting tones he uses to describe Clarisse and Mildred.

Bradbury uses a reverent, respectful tone to describe Clarisse, when Guy Montag sees her for the first time in the street as he walks home from work (3). The diction “slender” and “milk-white” portrays that Clarisse is young and innocent. These words create this feeling because one would normally associate slimness and a clear complexion with youth. The personification used in “gentle hunger” and “tireless curiosity” reveal the fact that Clarisse is inquisitive to the reader.

The use of “gentle” and “tireless” allow the reader to see that Clarisse has a hunger for knowledge. The imagery “sliding walk” and “dress was white” creates an image of Clarisse’s demeanor and general appearance in the reader’s mind. Using these words also gives the reader the sense that Clarisse is pure, like an angel, because a sliding walk and white garments are associated with angels. Bradbury’s praising and positive tone shows that he strongly identifies with her personality.

In contrast to the tone he uses when describing Clarisse, Bradbury uses a dull, monotonous tone to talk about Mildred when Guy Montag sees her as he walks into their bedroom shortly after his encounter with Clarisse (11). The metaphor “felt no rain” and “felt no shadow” compares rain and shadow to the feelings that Mildred does not feel. With this metaphor, Bradbury reveals to the reader that Mildred is apathetic, unfeeling. The diction “tamped-shut ears” and “ears all glass” suggests to the reader that Mildred is oblivious to her surroundings.

These words create the effect that Mildred does not see and hear what is going around in front of her. The simile “like a snow-covered island” compares Mildred’s face to a snow-covered island. This simile leaves the reader with the impression that Mildred’s face is pale, almost lifeless. Bradbury’s apathetic, negative tone shows that he does not approve of Mildred’s obliviousness and lifelessness. Bradbury uses an admiring, awed tone to describe Clarisse when Guy Montag is remembering his encounter with Clarisse (8).

The simile “face like the dial of a small clock” compares Clarisse’s face with the dial of a small clock. Bradbury goes on to describe the clock as the type giving off light in the darkness in the middle of the night. This comparison conveys the idea that Clarisse represents good early on in the book. The simile “how like a mirror too, her face” emphasizes the fact that Clarisse’s demeanor in general makes Montag reflect on his actions, thoughts, and words. Bradbury is trying to relay the message that Clarisse has the type of personality that makes other people reflect upon themselves.

The simile “like the eager watcher of a marionette show” compares Clarisse to an eager watcher of a marionette show through a simile. This simile demonstrates how perceptive Clarisse is. Bradbury’s tone of disbelief and awe shows his admiration of Clarisse’s character. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses contrasting tones towards Clarisse and Mildred in order to convey his opinion that one should not blindly the beliefs that are presented to them. Bradbury strongly believes that we should constantly question the world around us.

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