"Fahrenheit 451," a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury, is about future American society where books are outlawed. There are several themes in this book that have the potential to become a reality, namely the disconnection from reality. Guy Montag and the group of people who committed books to memory seems to be the only hope for humanity. Drugs are abused far more frequently, laws are barely followed, and people are becoming disconnected from reality. No one is educated enough to realize their wrongdoings, and this isn’t far from the truth today.
Education is a theme in this book that resonates throughout. "Fahrenheit 451" depicts the savagery that consumes humanity in the absence of education. Teenagers are wild, animalistic beings who abuse speed limits and have no regard for other peoples’ safety. They relish when they can hit an animal in the road, and couldn't care less if they hit a person. Mildred, Montag’s wife, lives an unfulfilling life, attached to the mind numbing walls of TVs for hours every day. She has nothing to live for anymore. She has no passion or desire to achieve anything in life. Mildred is considered the average citizen in this future American society, which is an important concept to understand. Mildred attempts suicide because of her unfulfilling life. She uses TV as an outlet, a distraction to confronting the problems in her life. Mildred is the protagonist’s wife, but she is a shell of a human being with no emotional, intellectual or spiritual connection with anything real. That’s frightening. Do we as Americans have this disconnection today?
With the surge in technological advances, it’s no wonder people are more attached to their electronic devices. The TV-walls in "Fahrenheit 451" are just one example of how technology is consuming humanity. Mildred is literally trapped in a room surrounded by screens of things that become a second reality. Humans have about seven to eight hours of screen time a day, and the trends are only rising. I’m not saying technology leads to these life-questioning thoughts, but when the world around you is perceived as less than the world on screen, it can lead to problems that Mildred and other citizens in the novel struggle with. These people would do anything to feel something “real” that it leads to addiction. Mildred’s addiction is mostly to television, but she also uses seashells to make her connection to the real world. Some people turn to alcohol and drugs, others have more sadistic tendencies, but the people in "Fahrenheit 451" need this distraction from reality. Reality is too dull without books.
In America today we are nowhere near outlawing books, but we are near a similar state of mind. America is a first-world country. Everything we want as humans is at our fingertips: food, entertainment, social interaction. These basic things are so easily attainable that eventually we may forget to think, just like the people in "Fahrenheit 451." Perhaps education and the freedom to read and learn is what keeps us separate from the society in "Fahrenheit 451." If we disregard education or spend our time fixated on how many likes an Instagram post gets, or which celebrities follow us on Twitter, or making it to the next level in a video game, then we may become disconnected. We may value those things that are less important. "Fahrenheit 451" should frighten us, but more than anything, it should be a testament to the value of education.
“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” – Ray Bradbury