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. The single most important person in Montags journey is Faber. 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. Faber does this through coaching 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. Faber and Montag first many years before the time when the book takes place in a park.
After a long discussion about books, he gave Montag his contact information. After Montag is taken in by the magic of books, he decided to contact Faber and together, the two men try to work together against their oppressive society. 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 thinks about Captain Beatty he may seem like he’s 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 tell him what their society was so good at withholding, such as; information, things to think about and the truth of how they got there.
He also provides Montag with the history of the society that the two currently were living in, and the history of his profession as a firefighter. The History he is made aware of covers why books are banned and how those living in that society lost all the capability to be able to think on their own. 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. Beatty also gives him permission to keep the book The Hearth and the Salamander for a day before returning it to the Fire Station 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’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. 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. In 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 and survival and rebellion against the state. Winston is content with just managing to survive, where his counterpart Julia is a true survivalist, as she uses any means necessary to conduct 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 merely fantasy and is apathetic to the Party’s principles.
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 was able to utilize and should have utilized but did not. According to the Party, Goldstein is the legendary leader of the Brotherhood. He seems to have been a Party leader who fell out of favor with the regime. In any case, the Party describes him as the most dangerous and treacherous man in Oceania. At the end of Part Two of 1984, just a short time before his arrest, Winston comes to realise 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.Then, there are the proles. 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.