The Choice to Think roughdraft

The Choice to Think roughdraft - January 9, 2006 Mr. Wolf...

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January 9, 2006 Mr. Wolf The Choice to Think In Fahrenheit 451 , Ray Bradbury creates a society whose chief desire is to achieve constant happiness. The people fill their lives with things that will supposedly offer them joy, primarily constant stimulation provided by television and earbuds. The characters use these different media to prevent themselves from engaging in any form of provocative thought. The society feels that independent thought is fruitless and can only lead to the suffering that comes from self-examination. They do not understand why anyone would want to willingly engage in independent thought. Thus, they shun thought in favor of the momentary joy that comes from the usage of electronic devices. Ironically, the thing they need to achieve their goal of finding happiness is the thing they avoid at all costs. In the society’s quest for happiness, they are willing to forgo the ultimate benefits of independent thought because of their fear of pain. They fail to realize the pain that comes from thought is necessary in order to achieve happiness. Bradbury challenges the assumption that avoidance of pain brings happiness through characters who willingly choose to give up the fullness of human experience in order to achieve happiness and yet suffer enormously because the evasion of pain cannot yield true fulfillment. This willingness reveals the characters’ extreme fear of pain and inability to make choices that affect them beyond the immediate future. The people feel that distraction from their deeper feelings will lead them to happiness, and thus choose to stray from independent thought. Officer Beatty, the chief fireman whose job is to burn books, reveals to Montag that before there were laws in place, society was free to read and learn but chose the momentary joy that came from
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their electronics, which sparked the downfall of independent thought. Beatty says, “It didn’t come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God” (58). Even without laws in place, the society did not believe they could find happiness through pain. The society chose on its own to become so careful not to offend others by reducing their disagreements, which ultimately resulted in uniform
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This note was uploaded on 08/20/2008 for the course ENG 240 taught by Professor Mattawa during the Fall '08 term at University of Michigan.

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The Choice to Think roughdraft - January 9, 2006 Mr. Wolf...

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