Saturday, August 10, 2013

Welcome and Summer Close Reads Library

Hello AP students.  I look forward to beginning to share and deepen eachothers' ideas through this page.  Please remember to be professional in your grammar, tone, and choice of words.


We will have two kinds of posts on our blog: "Library" and "Conversation".  "Library" posts are for us to build a set of documents, our own library on an issue.  In a library post, you simply post what you have written on a subject; it does not have to respond to other posts.  

Most of our posts will be "Conversation" posts.  There, the goal is to have an academic conversation on about a question.  This is similiar to a Socratic.  In this style of posts, you read what's been said and then add to it.

It's easiest if your blogger name is the same as your first name.  If it isn't, please begin each of your posts with your name.

As part of your homework for Thursday, August 22nd, choose which of your summer-close reads you think is your best work.  It can be from Fahrenheit 451 or your choice novel.  Attach your best summer close-read here, as a comment.  If your close-read is too long to be one post (there's a character limit), post it as two comments.  

44 comments:

  1. Dina Kharag

    Fahrenheit 451- Figurative Language

    Number one: Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores. It has features. This book can go under the microscope. You’d find life under the glass, streaming past in infinite profusion. The more pores, the more truthfully recorded details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper, the more ‘literary’ you are... The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her to the flies (Bradbury 83).
    The passage above from Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 uses metaphor and personification to describe the relationship between books and people. From the first questions and answers, Faber sets up the idea about books being important. When honing on the words “quality” and “texture”, it gives the physical state of books being in mint condition. This presents that Faber finds the books to be perfect in everyway. He then adds more to how books are special by adding the metaphors. When Faber says the books have “pores” and “features”, he presents how the books are unique in value. He uses this idea of pores and features to make the books seem like they are human. He adds more to this idea when he says “you’d find life under the glass.” This gives an impression that books have souls, hearts, and organs to prove more how books are just like human beings. The line afterwards, “streaming past in infinite profusion”, establishes a view of seeing an endless soul. He does this to demonstrate that books are more than living things, but actually are immortal! This gives an idea that books can’t be destroyed. He also says that books can be immortal due to what is inside their “pores.” With this, he puts humans under the label, scholars, to the book gods because the main job humans have to do is “truthfully” record the lives of the books with “details of life per square inch you can get on a sheet of paper.” This supports the idea that books are valued due to all the details that can be obtained, squished, and packed into each page from their writers. Faber also adds if all people do this, they can be more “‘literary.’” This can be interpreted that the writers are as important as the books that they write because the writers are the source of everything that makes the books have value. In general, depending on how the people treat their stories, they are ones that give the books their god-like value.
    So how can people treat their books? According to Faber, there are three ways to treat their stories with their god-like potential. In the later part of the passage, this is shown through the personification quotes. According to the first quote, Faber says “the good writers touch life often.” This means that writers who respect the books their writing put more heart and effort into their work. This gives the result that their books should become god-like. In the second quote, Faber adds, “The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her.” This quote states that writers who don’t put much time and effort into their writing would make weak and meaningless book. This will lower their book’s value which leads the books to lose their god-like value. In the last part of the passage, Faber warns, “The bad ones rape her and leave her to the flies.” This presents that the writers who don’t put any effort into their writing will make their books not at all obtain the god-like presence. However, these writers are different from the other two because even though these writers write their books very poorly, they still believe their books will go down in history. Unfortunately, these books don’t get anything from this false belief because the tough criticism leads the books to get “raped” and later “left to the flies.”

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  2. Eyes, Fahrenheit 451
    Physical eyes can look but eyes that truly see can think. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the senses of the human body such as touch, taste, and smell are used. The most apparent sense in the novel is sight. Eyes give humans the ability to see and know their surroundings. In the world that Montag lives in, everyone can look at their environment but only a minority can clearly see a place of destruction that encompasses them.
    Technology can either be beneficial or harmful depending on the way it is applied to daily life. The advancement of technology in Montag’s world has everybody dependent on their TV screen walls. Montag’s wife, Mildred, is especially addicted as she says, “I had a nice evening,” “What doing?” “The parlor.” “What was on?” “Programs.” “What programs?” “Some of the best ever” (Bradbury 49). Mildred’s eyes see nothing but the parlor TV walls, making her and many in the same position incapable of thinking outside the norm. Eyes are always on the TV screen walls, taking them away from the TV labels them as missing out. The shows that are aired into the homes of families consist of meaningless content. With their eyes, they watch this type of entertainment. Little do they know that this “entertainment” is waste lingering in their brains, causing them to want more. Only some citizens of this crazy world see the importance of meaning and thinking in life. With their eyes so occupied with technology, these people are incapable of seeing the meaningful things in life.
    In life, asking questions and sharing ideas furthers the knowledge of students and citizens. In Montag’s life, very few people provoke new ideas or to live differently from his neighbor. Bradbury writes, “we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you” (Bradbury 29). The students are spoon fed information that they must accept. It is no doubt that the citizens can see, any less read but so few are brave enough to ask why. Eyes are not necessary tools to gain information or to think but Bradbury’s repetition of the word eyes, provokes a symbol of thought. A great amount of people in this world fail to see how conformed and insignificant their lives are, causing a halt in judgement and wisdom.
    Books are written with the hope of spreading ideas and allowing knowledge to be spread. Books are unrelatable, obscure, and burned in Montag’s world; causing the loss of memory, creativity, imagination. Bradbury writes, “Maybe the books can get us out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!...God Millie, don’t you see?” (74). Montag understands that there is a concern to read these books with eyes and to understand them with the mind. When Montag says, “stop making the same mistakes,” he declares his urgency to make a difference in a place where everything is uniform. The books are being burned yet only a miniscule fraction think twice about the fault in this action. People can see with their physical eyes but they cannot use their judgement to coincide with their sight to develop values in life.
    Life is not dependent on looking, but seeing and understanding what matters. In Fahrenheit 451, the crazy world of advanced technology and the burning of books ruins the human nature of thinking and discovery. The people of this world are not using their eyes to an advantage just as we do in our own world that we live in. Our world does not burn books nor do we not allow students to think but we are addicted to technology. Many citizens falter to gather up courage to make changes in this shattered world.
    Hannah Lee

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  3. Invisible Man - His Environment

    In the novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, the author provides a great amount of imagery that shows the effects on Invisible Man from his environment. Invisible Man, an unnamed protagonist, goes on a journey from the South to Harlem, New York. At the college in the South, IM is very much influenced by the environment. He looks up to a very high authority, Dr. Bledsoe. A much higher rank than Bledsoe is Mr. Norton, one of the cofounders of IM’s college. IM drives Mr.Norton to an insane asylum called Golden Day because he had passed out in the car from the heat. IM brings him inside and the insane men who were former WWI veterans help him out. They encounter a brain surgeon who tells the “truth”. He says, “‘ he has eyes and ears and a good distended African nose, but he fails to understand the simple facts of life. Understand. Understand? It’s worse than that…He’s invisible, a walking personification of the Negative, the most perfect achievement of your dreams, sir! The mechanical man!’” (Ellison 94). When IM is in the car with Mr.Norton, the atmosphere is different from the Golden Day. IM tries to keep his pride and good attitude around Mr.Norton because he was a wealthier and much more powerful man, but when IM is in the Golden Day, he doesn’t act quite the same. When the brain surgeon implied all of this on Mr.Norton about how IM is technically still enslaved because IM acts and treats Mr.Norton a certain way when he’s around him. This proves that the mind often shifts the attitude of someone according to their surroundings and motives. The mind is a very powerful tool that can influence the way he acts. It is also shown when IM joins an organization in Harlem called Brotherhood. They are a group of men who want to pursue a goal in helping the black community gain equal rights. IM says, “No, I thought, shifting my body, they’re the same legs on which I’ve come so far from home. And yet they were somehow new. The new suit imparted a newness to me. It was the clothes and the new name and the circumstances...I was becoming someone else.” (Ellison 335).

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  5. IM’s new job and life has pushed him away from his old way of life. He was given a new identity and a better livelihood. IM was portrayed similar to an enslaved man but now he was living like a free man. His past in the South has kept a chain on him that prevented him from doing something meaningful because he had always worry about trying to please the higher man but now he was doing something new. His new clothes and new environment placed a different perspective in his mind that was optimistic. His mind adjusted to the new way of life that made him feel so powerful and in control of himself. The surroundings can have a positive or a negative impact on him. They allow him to see different sides of himself and helps IM choose what he wants to do in life. If he wanted to be like when he was in the South and continue life in that lifestyle because he believes that’s what he wants most, he could. He could also continue his new life because now he was doing something meaningful and IM has come to realize that. He feels as if nothing can get in his way of doing anything that’s not worthwhile. While he may be enjoying his new lifestyle and mindset, IM can not let go of his past. When he is about to deliver a speech for the Brotherhood, he says, “the pounding of voice and applause against my diaphragm, my eyes flying from face to face, swiftly, fleetingly, searching for someone I could recognize, for someone from the old life, and seeing the faces become vaguer and vaguer the farther they receded from the platform.” (Ellison 340). Everything seems to be working out for IM because everything is running nice and smoothly in his life. When it comes down to the moment to give the speech. The feelings of anxiety and fear creep up on him. When this fear comes around, his mind creates a need to find a familiar face. In this setting of pressure, IM searches for an face he can recognize to find that comfort he needs to get through his speech and overcome his fear. It’s as if the mind had a mind of it’s own. Everyone is able to know what comforts them and how to make the best of it. This helps IM find who he is and what he’s destined to do in life. IM’s life shows how his surroundings and way of life affects his mind. His mindset is so powerful that it adjusts to the right situation and guides him along the way to the right path he was destined to follow.


    Sorry, I had to separate them into two posts because I went over the word count limit.

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  6. Bradbury fills his novel, Fahrenheit 451, with paradoxes. His characters feel like anyone else yet their emotions and morals are backwards. The main misconception the characters have is the truth behind in their emotions. When Montag meets Clarisse for the first time, at their parting, she asks him if he’s happy, and at first he scoffs at this silly question, ‘Happy! Of all the nonsense…What does she think? I’m not?’ (Bradbury 8) Yet later, he gets back to his reality, he walks into his bedroom to find his wife doing a half awake half asleep act, and he is hit with the truth,
    ‘Darkness. He was not happy. He was not happy… He recognized this as the trues state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.’ (Bradbury 9)

    The feelings that Montag says he has conflict with the way he is truly feeling. In this story the people live in such virtual states, they cannot face the reality of what they can produce with their emotions. But once he is forced to actually see the way he is, there is no turning back, you can never unsee something. But for Millie, she never has to face her mass of feelings. As she listens to Montag explain his true feelings, she buts in, “‘I am.’ Mildred’s mouth beamed. ‘And proud of it.’” (Bradbury 62) Bradbury makes obvious the lie she tells herself when blurting her emotions. Instead of writing Mildred beamed, he wrote, ‘Mildred’s mouth beamed.’ Only a part of her body ‘beams’ it is not the truth, it is only what she says. Just like when a smile never reaches the eyes, it is not a real smile, when a mouth beams, without the rest of the face, the joy within that person is just for show. There is no happiness there. Especially when Mildred had just attempted suicide a few days before, yet here she is now, claiming she is as happy as can be, and proud that

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  7. she can have such happiness. This paradox within human emotion shows the way Bradbury doubts the reality that we have with being true to ourselves, if we can’t even be true to our feelings how are we true to the innermost part of us? To our morals and principles? Montag tries to keep his morals straight but feels they are wrong from years of careful manipulation by societal influence. Montag tries to preserve the knowledge within the books, but since he knows it is against the law, he distances himself from the truth of his own actions, by convincing himself it was his self-thinking hands used to save the books. “Montag’s hand closed like a mouth…Montag had done nothing. His hand had done it all, his hand, with a brain of its own.” (Bradbury 35) It’s not him of course it’s the hand that is the ‘horrible’ savior and he comes to the conclusion that, “ it was the hand that started it all . . . His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms . . . His hands were ravenous.” (Bradbury 41) It is shown to us his instinct is to do what is right morally through the usage of his ‘hands’, as they are the ones who are doing the physical actions. Yet because Montag has been trained to only think the way society does about books, he doesn’t believe what he does in good in any way. So he blames his hands. He feels they are ‘infected’, and it will continue yet the irony is that they are ‘infected’ with morality. His hands are the ones who are doing good, but his view is backwards, upside down, so his understanding of what is right and wrong is altered. This backwards guilt for morality is not uncommon in American literature, as in the novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain uses the same style when describing Huck’s feelings towards Jim. Although Huck helps Jim and treats him with respect, Huck feels guilty because all he’s ever known is what society has decided to teach him about people like Jim. The authors use this as it gives a broader perspective on where we are in our society. It makes the actions more dramatic so readers can better understand what is happening to us, and realizing it, is the first step towards revision.

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  8. In the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the use of censorship by the government has created a world where independent or physiological thinking is considered unlawful and feared. Books were a primary target for the government to censor. Bradbury didn’t reveal the specifics into why books were targeted so extremely. But we do know government has tried to demonize them and anyone who affiliates with it. A prime example of this is when Montag reads from a book of poetry in front of Millie and her friends
    “ Mrs. Phelps was crying. The others in the middle of the desert watched her crying grow very loud as her face squeezed itself out of shape. They sat, not touching her; bewildered with her display…Mrs. Bowles stood up and glared at Montag. “You see? I knew it, that’s what I wanted to prove! I knew it would happen! I’ve always said poetry and tears, poetry and suicide and crying and awful feelings, poetry and sickness; all that mush! Now I’ve had it proved to me. You’re nasty, Mr. Montag, you’re nasty. (Bradbury 100)

    This quote shows how demonized books have become. Mrs. Phelps didn’t understand the words that were coming out of Montag’s mouth; she became scared because she didn’t know what was going on. Like a baby in a room full of talking adults, too much information for such a small-undeveloped brain to hold, all Mrs. Phelps could do was cry. Montag should have foreseen Mrs. Phelps discomfort because only a few hours ago Beatty explained it to him. Beatty said
    “ Surly you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright’…and wasn’t the bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal”(Bradbury 58)

    When the general population became more and more simple-minded, they looked to more educated people as a threat. They believe that intellectual people think their superior to the rest of the population, and would some how take advantage of them. Because of this fear, anything affiliated with intelligence i.e. books have to be destroyed to prevent this. What is interesting is how the Government has managed to interpret the Constitution“ Not everyone is born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal” This shows how the government bends and twists the laws to their own advantage. Which justifies the used of entities like the fireman and the dog, all for the conservation and protection of the Constitution.
    Mrs. Phelps isn’t an entity in this society. As the population in America rapidly increased, people wanted to do things faster. So they kept simplifying and simplifying just to make life quicker and a little less complicated. This all becomes known to Montag when Beatty explains the social agenda with this social metaphor“ More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun, and you don’t have to think, eh? Organize and organize…more pictures. The mind drinks less and less” (Bradbury 57). This quote reveals how the government was able to get their citizens to become involved in mindless group activities that drain their ability to think individually. These team games have also created a new resource for the government. When Montag was on the run, the government mobilized its citizens to search out their windows and find him. The citizens didn’t question the government’s orders. To them it’s been just another activity on the schedule for them.
    Censorship has been around as long as man has. What always comes with censorship is the lost of truth. If it’s the burning of thousand year old books and scrolls in Communist China or the blocking of social networking sites in the Middle East. Various groups have always tried to stop others from living without barriers, because with those thousand year old books and the ability to speak freely on the Internet is knowledge, and knowledge is power.

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  9. Fire is a sensation that sparks many strong burning afflictions towards many certain things. It is a feeling of danger which can ultimately resort into many unnecessary outcomes. In the novel, Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury illustrates Guy Montag’s journey rekindling his leisure and life back after talking to Faber. As Montag was escaping his city, he thinks about how fire is a tool that doesn’t necessarily require anyone’s use but that fire itself lingers all the time through the sun. As Bradbury comprehends the symbolism of fire, he interprets,
    He saw the moon low in the sky now, The moon there, and the light of the moon caused by what? By the sun, of course. And what lights the sun? Its own fire. And the sun goes on, day after day, burning and burning. The sun and time. The sun and time and burning. Burning. The river bobbled him along gently. Burning. The sun and every clock on the earth. It all came together and became a single thing in his mind. After a long time of floating on the land and a short time of floating in the river he knew why he must never burn again in his life… So if he burned things with the firemen and the sun burned Time, that meant that everything burned! (Bradbury 134).

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  10. This quote illustrates Guy Montag’s perception of fire to be an everyday occurrence. When Bradbury initiates the symbol of the sun, he pertains to how the sun is its own bright, illuminating epitome of fire itself. The sun is something that burns every single day nonstop and when Bradbury exclaims, “And the sun goes on, day after day, burning and burning,” he generalizes the perspective of the sun burning timelessly without ever stopping its roaring flame. The “sun” is a figure that demonstrates the life of luminosity as it pertains about the moon and how it gives off its shining ray of white color. When Bradbury says, “The sun and time. The sun and time and burning,” he portrays a sequence that all three of the those specific symbols initiates how fire can actually be in the universe. The sun represents the burning essence that flashes a radiant burst of light. “Time” symbolizes that it is being burned endlessly – as time goes on, the sun inflicts its light on people and the years that gradually come. The last symbol “burning,” combines both of what the sun and time mean. The sun burns constantly and time itself is being burned endlessly around the whole globe of the Earth itself. When Montag started to realize that those specific ideas that lingered through his mind, he idealizes to the point that his days of inflicting scars of burns should be ridiculed and stopped because he foresees in his mind that burning always and will pertain to what the sun does only. When Bradbury explains, “he knew why he must never burn again in his life,” it signifies the destruction that fire has brought into his life. From the fire incinerating his house, from the flames engulfing Beatty and the other two firemen, he realizes to a perspective that physically inflicting burns shouldn’t be his job because the sun is the primary source of how waves and furies of heat induce pains of burnings. That is the idea of what came to Montag as he was thinking while staring upon the starlit skies and the twilight of the moon. The repetition of the word burning is very common in this quote. Bradbury initializes the word by integrating that burning is something that can be consuming when he illustrates the word with “Time” involved and that burning is something that can be highly equitable to danger that resort morally towards death. In the last sentence, when Bradbury stated, “So if he burned things with the firemen and the sun burned Time, that meant that everything burned!” it integrates that whenever something is being physically burned by Montag or his companion firemen, it also demonstrates how “time” is constantly at the urge of being singed. When both of those are both being attacked with fire, it situates that everything ultimately is consumed with burns. The dangers of fire can also seem to be a positive enlightening because even though fire is the consumption of burns and destruction, it can also provide a sense of light. When the author uses the symbol of the moon, he shows how that the moon reflects light around the world when it is mirrored with the sun together. Instead of having torches of incineration going around, the sense of light of which the moon can provide is a beneficial factor that the regularity of fire can be perceived.

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    1. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man tells the tale of a young African American who ventures out of the Deep South to learn the truth about society’s social structure and how blacks play a role in it. Ellison uses this hero’s journey to display an account of a man who entered Harlem in the 1930’s and was rejected, dejected, but almost resurrected as his newfound revelations would revolutionize his views on society and what social responsibilities one has in the world. Invisible Man discovers how the principles of freedom and the aspect of diversity that America was founded on should be treasured and held in high regard despite humanity’s innate will of conforming to the idols of the upper class and discriminating those who one does not understand. The hero’s journey is first grasped upon when Invisible Man’s grandfather gives his last words, “Son, after I’m gone I want you to keep up the good fight… Live with your head in the lion’s mouth. I want you to overcome ‘em with yeses, undermine ‘em with grins, agree ‘em to death and destruction, let ‘em swoller you till they vomit or bust wide open” (Ellison 16). The hero’s journey is set up as Invisible Man is given a key piece of advice but does not yet comprehend it. Invisible Man’s grandfather is giving the truth about how society will see all African Americans no matter where they go or how they act. However, Invisible Man is misguided as he initially disregards all of his grandfather’s words and attempts to overcome the social stigma of discrimination that African Americans retain in the South. Invisible Man believes that through hard work and determination he can find success in life despite his racial background, and that he doesn’t need to “keep up the good fight.” Invisible Man’s journey will be comprised of revealing the truth about America’s racial treatment in America and how one should respond to this. After being expelled from college, Invisible Man moves to Harlem, New York. Though Invisible Man has begun to pick up on the underlying racism that haunts society, he still believes he can triumph over everything. At the end of a riot in Harlem, Invisible Man is stuck in a hole, trapped by some policemen who believed he was a thief. On the brink of survival, he begins to burn all the papers in his brief case. Each item that Invisible Man sets ablaze is actually a symbol of society’s intentions and a lesson that Invisible Man has learned:
      I started with my high-school diploma, applying one precious match with a feeling of remote irony…The next to go was Clifton’s doll, but it burned so stubbornly that I reached inside the case for something else. Then by the light of the smoke-sputtering doll I opened a folded page. It was the anonymous letter. (Ellison 567-568).

      For a start, Invisible Man burns his “high-school diploma,” which signifies education. In destroying this, Invisible Man demonstrates that though he is an extremely intelligent African American, his invisibility prevents people from knowing this. The common citizens on the streets merely assume he is just another uneducated black from the Deep South, without a mind for his own. They probably also come to the conclusion that he was raised on a farm and only knows how to sharecrop or labor in the fields. By destroying this piece of paper, Invisible Man shows how useless education was for him in a world where society is ignorant and fails to look deeper than what the stereotypes dictate. Secondly, he burned Clifton’s doll. This paper toy was used to dehumanize blacks. However it goes further to symbolize that African Americans are only good for cheap entertainment, as the doll costed only a quarter. In addition, this paper doll will soon be forgotten and thrown away like any childhood toy. The puppet even burns “stubbornly,” which can be seen of applying the social stigma of trash to the African American race; the toy can not even be disposed of properly.

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    2. Eventually this “stubbornness” is what caused Clifton’s demise as he did not wish to capitulate to the hands of some policemen in an unfair brawl. Lastly, Invisible Man burns the anonymous letter which the audience soon discovers was written by Brother Jack. This teaches Invisible Man that though the Brotherhood supposedly fights for racial equality, the organization’s own leader recognizes its futility and attempts to limit him. Even though Invisible Man has spent countless hours in the Brotherhood cause, his own supposed mentor in this hero’s journey doubts the productivity of his actions. All the lessons that Invisible Man has learned during the course of his hero’s journey are symbolized by the items that he has been lugging around in his briefcase throughout the entire novel; this is the same briefcase that was publically bestowed to him after being humiliated and spat upon in the Battle Royal of the first chapter. Invisible Man has been carrying around the burdens that the African American people have suffered from both in the North and the South, and has finally casted them aside as ashes to be blown away in the wind. Each of these pieces of knowledge will later be used in life and inspiration as shown through Invisible Man’s last revelation at the end of the epilogue. Invisible Man states:
      Life is to be lived, not controlled; and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. Our fate is to become one, and yet many- This is not prophecy, but description… (Invisible Man’s Grandfather) accepted his humanity just as he accepted the principle. It was his, and the principle lives on in all its human and absurd diversity… Who knows but that, on the lower frequencies, I speak for you? (Ellison, 577, 580-581).

      This last revelation displays groundbreaking knowledge that is the sole result of the accumulation of Invisible Man’s experiences, which have varied from being unemployed and impoverished in the loving hands Mary Rambo, to becoming one of the most prominent politicians in Harlem, New York. Invisible Man starts off by describing America’s identity. Even in the 1930’s, America was an extremely diverse country. One could argue that it is the most diverse country that has ever or will ever exist; there are not many places in which one can find so many different culture co-existing in such a peaceful manner, while the entire population is open to accepting new ideas. Invisible Man grasps upon this concept of “absurd diversity” as he explains that throughout his life, multiple people have told him who he is and how he should act. In reality, Invisible Man says to embrace one’s own identity and self-expression, and that in doing this each citizen can add to the complex nature of America’s diversity. Invisible Man states that the “fate” of the country is to become “one” by becoming “many;” only through the immense, abundant amount of culture that is constantly expanding can this be achieved. Invisible Man claims that this is the “principle” and mindset that his grandfather had accepted and worked towards. One should “play in the face of certain defeat” as it is human nature to conform to society’s standards. In the last few pages of the novel, Invisible Man declares that his biggest crime was staying in the hole for such a long period of time.

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    3. This is because Invisible Man believes his time spent pondering his philosophies has wasted opportunities to fulfill his social responsibility of adding America’s diversity, while representing the principles he and his grandfather now believe in. In the last “fateful” sentence Invisible Man says that on “lower frequencies” he “speaks for you,” or the audience. Ellison chooses to end the book on a challenge or a call of duty. Ellison wants to personally ask the readers if they have been fulfilling their own social responsibilities or have been following the dreary path of conformity, which eventually “wastes time creating a conscience for something that doesn’t exist” (Ellison 354). Conformity will eventually fail in the end because one is trying to construct a fake, alternative “conscience” to contradict the genuine one that has been existing and developing in the mind since birth. Invisible Man’s heroic journey ends with these final conclusions in the hole. He has ventured from the Deep South to the buzzing streets of Harlem. Though confused and dismayed at what his role in society should be as an African American, he undergoes tribulation and turmoil, but fearlessly emerges, equipped to achieve the new, personal role he has discovered. Ellison’s use of the heroic journey provides a story in which Invisible Man’s account is displayed for those who may be on the exact same trail that Invisible Man had walked.

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  12. Fernando Portillo
    8/13/13
    Able

    In the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, Hester Prynne’s alienation and reaction to being an outcast in a society ruled by the doctrine of men, demonstrates the resilience and fortitude of women in a controlled society. Hester is outcasted for the fault of fornication, her sin becomes her suffering and so she is ridiculed by society. It’s incredible the way that Hester handles all the consequences, with such accepting manner and never once complaining about the treatment that she receives, one might say an extreme act of being humble. “In this matter if Hester Prynne, there was neither irritation nor irksomeness. She never battled with the public, but submitted uncomplainingly to its worst usage; she made no claim upon it, in requital for what she suffered; she did not weigh upon its sympathies...In all seasons of calamity, indeed, whether general or of individuals, the outcast of society at once found her place”(Hawthorne 140). This quote reveals, understanding and acceptance, Hester recognizes that her actions were seen as sin in the eyes of men. Thus to avoid confrontation, she maintains a calm spirit, to the point where she turns the other cheek whenever society plagues her. Hester, being this “outcast of society” has found her place, her alienation from society makes her a more stronger and determined woman.
    As Hester is marked with the letter “A”, her status in society crumbles and she is recognized all over town as this devilish woman. At the beginning of the novel, the scarlet letter is the emblem that reminds Hester of her wrongdoing, but it also serves as a way of outcasting her from the rest of the people. Unfortunately as beautiful as the letter is made, it eats away at Hester’s soul, so much hate and isolation that comes from this forsaken letter. Hester soon finds her calling, she finds an alternative to wearing this letter, Hawthorne writes, “The letter was the symbol of her calling. Such helpfulness was found in her, - so much power to do, and power to sympathize, - that many people refused to interpret the scarlet A by its original signification. They said that it meant Able; so strong was Hester Prynne, with a woman’s strength”(Bradbury 141). As ironic as it might seem, pretty soon people start coming to Hester for guidance, Hester has transformed the meaning of the A into a symbol of leadership. Hester realizes that she can’t let the letter control her, instead she begins to set an example in the community by becoming this role model. Nothing was more amazing that seeing this woman, who has been punished and basically put through hell, rise and transform herself into this resilient woman.

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  13. Even though the rules set down by men, and the punishment they handed Hester had completely changed her but in a way never imagined. The scarlet letter has limited her for many years, yet she is able to thrive and live her life as an independent woman, and never once worried about what other people think or say about her. Surprisingly Hester becomes this huge symbol of hope for others living in distress, Hawthorne writes,
    “But, in the lapse of the toilsome, thoughtful, and self-devoted years that made up Hester’s life, the scarlet letter ceased a stigma which attracted the world’s scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over, and looked upon with awe, yet with reverence too. And, as Hester Prynne had no selfish ends, nor lived in any measure for her own profit and enjoyment, people brought all their sorrows and perplexities, and besought her counsel, as one who had herself gone through a mighty trouble.”(Hawthorne 228).
    This quote reveals the true revelation of the scarlet letter, and the effect that it has on Hester. People were astonished as they realize that Hester didn’t really suffer as many thought she would, instead she learns to embrace the scarlet letter and becomes a symbol of hope for many. The same people who tried to make her life miserable, were now burning up and seeking refuge, and Hester is the only one they look for because she had suffered yet she propelled herself to overcome it all.
    Furthermore it is evident that Hester Prynne’s alienation serves as motivation for her to become a stronger woman. Where there was no hope, Hester finds illumination within the scarlett letter, and becomes a symbol for not only women but both men. Her reaction serves as an example of resilience and fortitude because when everyone expected her to sucumb, she pushes forward and not only saves herself and her daughter, she also saves the many hopeless souls that once made mockery of her.

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  14. The Scarlett Letter Alienation

    In the novel The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, the theme of alienation is shown through the protagonist Hester Prynne journey. Hester Prynne lives in a Puritan community where the Puritan lifestyle is strictly enforced. Anyone who broke any of their beliefs or norms are simply look down up and are alienated from their community. Hester Prynne is one of those who fit in to that category. Prynne had a baby, which would be normal; only if her husband were with her instead he was not with her for the past 2 years. This showed that Prynne had committed a sin; she had gone against Puritan rules and their holy life style. She was now considered an adulterer, because of this Hester was punished. She was humiliated in front of others and used as an example by placing a red letter “A” on her clothes that she must wear for her life. Hester Prynne was now alienated by breaking the norms; she had broken the traditional role of a woman in this time. She was made an example for others to not commit such an act, but this alienation did not affect Hester as they intended to do so. It only made her a stronger woman who can endure humiliation and scandal. She was able to make the most of the life that was presented to her by society.
    Hester had to pay for what she had done; she had committed an act that went against the Puritan lifestyle. The community was dedicated to make her do so and show others that what she had is taken seriously. They were going to make Hester an outcast of society, they were going to alienate her from the rest; they wanted to filter out the sin from their pure society. The way they would do so is by making a mockery out of her and giving her a mark that would set her apart from others. The narrator says, “On the breast of her gown in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery bad fantastic flourished of gold thread, appeared the letter A” (Hawthorne 37).This quote reveals how Hester is forced to now had to wear a symbol that set her apart from others; it made her stand out amongst a group because of the sin that she had committed. A red letter was placed to symbolize the passion of what she had committed, red typically being a color of passion and sin. The letter “A” stood for adulterer, meaning that she had taken part of a sin that was against the laws of religion. This was a symbol of sin that made her into an outsider, made her become alienated for going against god. The whole purpose of her alienation was to push her aside from the society she was part of for committing a sin that was against what they believe in. She was going to be an example for others; they want other to not do what she did by instilling fear in their minds of what consequences they would face.

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  15. Although Hester was alienated from society she did not accept defeat, she pushed each and every single day to make the most of what life she now had. She was not willing to succumb to what others asked of, she was not going to let a “A” stitched on her clothes dictate her life. Hester remained a strong woman and lived her own life. Hester clearly reacted to her alienation by breaking the traditional lifestyle that was expected, she did not play the typical role of being a Puritan woman. She was beginning to do her own things and took her own life into her very own hands. She was able to break away from the Puritan society, doing something that others had not even dared try. As the narrator says, “The scarlet letter was her passport into regions where other women dared not tread. Shame, Despair, Solitude!” (Hawthorne 137). This quote reveals that Hester is able to do something that others were not or are afraid to do so. Her alienation is not a curse, but instead a blessing. She is able to do a variety of things without any harm or guilt with her “passport”. She was able to make the most of her alienation by accepting it and moving on, she was courageous by doing and going to where “other women dared not tread”. Hester was not going to do what others told her to do or live by, you can say that she was able to liberate herself from the Puritan oppression that was set upon her and this is why she was able to make the most of her alienation. Hester maybe be separate from others, may be marked, humiliated and tormented but she did not let that get to her; she was able to fight this all off. This went against the purpose of the letter that placed on her clothing that marked her entire life. Her reaction to this was positive instead of negative, she still continued to live her life and take care of the blessing that she received in this situation. She was able to enjoy her only gem left, her daughter Pearl. This is why the narrator says, “The scarlet letter had not done its office” (Hawthorne 114). Hester was able to take this hatred that was given to her and make it into something that made her a stronger woman. A woman stronger that any man in this novel who was able to overcome the challenges presented to her and move on. The letter clearly did not do its job; it did not make Hester weak, it did not eat her conscience away leading to her demise. Instead it made her a stronger woman, she transformed that “A” and embodied it as part of herself; she was not ashamed of it and by doing this she became stronger. At the very end the narrator says, “the scarlet letter ceased to be a stigma which attracted the world scorn and bitterness, and became a type of something to be sorrowed over a looked upon with awe” (Hawthorne 179). Hester transformed this stigma by embodying it and letting it become of her instead of hating it. Hester is the true definition of a strong woman by doing so, she did not let others ruin her life for what she had done. Her reaction to alienation was a surprise to many because she was not afraid of it, she continued to move forward and put that in the past; Hester accepted who she was and what she had done unlike anyone else in her community who were tormented and frightened by their religion.

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  16. Rachel Purvis

    In the novel “Fahrenheit 451”, the author, Ray Bradbury, uses throughout the book different symbols to represent the different emotions and thoughts that occur during the story. These different objects or descriptions describe his changing thoughts in both his consciousness and subconsciousness as Guy Montag, the hero of this story, evolves during the book. Towards the beginning, Bradbury describes Montag’s encounter with a strange girl named Clarisse, who aids him discover his true feelings towards being a fireman. After this and a few more encounters with this girl, he begins to question what is really right and wrong. This change of thought is first shown when Montag enters his room and feels out of place. Bradbury describes:
    “Without turning on the light he imagined how this room would look. His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of a tomb...The room was cold but nonetheless he felt he could not breathe. He did not wish to open the drapes and open the French windows, for he did not want the the moon to come into the room. So, with the feeling of a man who will die in the next hour for lack of air, he felt his way toward the open, separate, and therefore cold bed. An instant before his foot hit the object on the floor he knew he would hit such an object...He still did not want outside light. He pulled out his igniter, felt the salamander etched on its silver disc, gave it a flick...The small crystal bottle of sleeping tablets which earlier today had been filled with thirty capsules and which now lay uncapped and empty in the light of the tiny flare” (Bradbury 10-11).

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  17. This quote demonstrates how uncomfortable his own subconscious is to him. He first notices his wife “stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold...”, showing that though his wife should be described as perhaps something warm or welcoming, it is instead described as being lifeless. This could symbolize that he finds her to be a pointless figure in his life, and does not want (or perhaps cannot) acknowledge her existence. Bradbury then describes the room as also being “cold”, and describes that Montag can’t breathe properly in the room. This could symbolize two things: the first being that he feels he’s being suffocated in this supposed unfamiliar area. This could show the amount of anxiety he has, even though he is in an area that should come off as being familiar and comfortable, instead he is beginning to worry and feel fear, causing him to have a hard time breathing. The second idea is that it could symbolize an internal flame he has within him, and it is beginning to suffocate him and work against him. This unfamiliar feeling he has is then shown through the description of his bed, yet another object that should be a comfortable area for Montag. As a result of his own room being so unfamiliar, it could show that being a fireman, something he’s been for many years, is beginning to feel strange and off-putting.
    Bradbury also describes that Montag refuses to open the curtains to let the moonlight in. His room can now be interpreted as being his subconscious, and since your subconscious carries every fear, lie, and deep truth you have, he doesn’t want any light to be shed upon the truth. Montag could also not want anyone outside of his mind to see what’s really going on in his head, he doesn’t want people to see how he’s changing, how he’s beginning to question what, not only he finds normal, but what the rest of society finds to be normal. As Montag continues to walk he hits an object, a medicine bottle. This symbolizes that he started a chain reaction in his mind. Medicine is, at times, used to dull people’s senses, so perhaps this medicine, this now empty bottle, was the one thing completely holding Montag back from questioning his whole life. The last object that was dulling his mind was finally knocked down. He then “pulled out his igniter, felt the salamander etched on its silver disc, [and] gave it a flick”, which could represent a small area of awareness he has in his subconscious. The use of fire in this scene shows that he still trusts fire, even though later on it will be used against him, he still tries to find a way to use fire.

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  18. In Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451, machines and fire are a recurring symbol. The people in this dystopian society are surrounded by machines, and the fires destroy certain things.
    The novel is about Montag, a man who burns books for a living and how he comes to realize how oppressive and dysfunctional his society is. He comes home from work to his wife every day, and she’s always sitting in the parlor, buried under the influence of the television that covers three of the walls. These walls tell people what to say and think and what they want. They tell Mildred that she needs a fourth wall- a fourth wall that will completely shut her off from reality. The shows are programmed to manipulate how people feel when they watch it, and they only make them laugh. They don’t talk about “messier” topics that are controversial or make them feel sad. The scripts they send to people to make them feel like a part of the show are designed to make people dependent on an idealistic world where everything is neatly scripted all the time. When Mildred’s “mouth moved and she was saying something but the sound covered it,” (59), it goes on to show how even when people do try to say something, the machines and the walls will try to smother it and to prevent others from hearing their individual thoughts. These walls take away the individual power of the people so that their society will succeed in maintaining their oppressive control over the people.
    Montag asks Beatty about the Mechanical Hound, and he responds with, “‘It doesn’t think anything we don’t want it to think,’” (27). The hound is being juxtaposed with people like Mildred. They are both programmed to think and feel only the things society allows them to, and they are both cold, lifeless machines without their own thoughts. The only things people are allowed to know are the things society tells them to be the truth through their walls at home. Clarisse, a girl who seems different from the rest of the world because she has her own thoughts, says, “‘They all say the same things and nobody says anything different from anyone else,’” (31). Everyone who watches these walls are programmed by society to be the same and to think and want the same things in the hopes that there will be no more controversies, no one will be offended, and everything will be more simple and clean, just like a scripted show on the walls.
    Beatty says to Montag, “‘Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean,” (60). To Beatty, the answer to all the problems of the world is fire. Fire, to him will destroy all the things that people don’t want to face. It’s a way of escaping from the truth. Fire is “clean” because of its power to destroy things that take power away from the machines and society. Once something is destroyed, a person can start again from a clean slate as if nothing had happened. In Montag’s society, books are burned, and people go about their everyday lives as if nothing had happened. Books give some amount of power back to those that can find meaning in them. Some people don’t like the meanings that they uncover in books, so their solution is to escape from them by destroying them entirely. Faber says, “‘…you can’t argue with the four-wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real’. It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest,’” (84). After these books are destroyed, they resume their lives surrounded by the voices and the people who live in their walls. These walls won’t remind them of the things that they don’t want to think about. Everything seems easier with these walls because people don’t have to think for themselves anymore when these walls give them all the reasoning and answers they once thought they would find in books.

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  19. Bradbury tries to tell people of their need for answers and simple conclusions. When people find answers they don’t like, they either run away from it or destroy it. Escape is easier with all the technology available in the world today, but what the author is trying to convey is how people should choose to know the truth and to face it rather than burn it when they aren’t simple and clean. Faber says that routine and rhythm isn’t living. When everyone is stuck in a routine and stops questioning society, that’s when the people’s power is being taken away by society. People are told what to like and what to buy today, and everyone seems to think the same things. Society might seem to think a neatly scripted world would be better by trying to destroy or hide all the messier things in life, but that would take away the right of the people to find their own answers and to think for themselves. Everyone has a right to the truth, and when people find themselves following and accepting the things society deems to be the truth, they are being molded into the way society wants everyone to be- simple and complacent, and Bradbury tells his readers they need to go against all of the ideas society programs into people and to escape from them, even if they seem solid and true, in order to uncover the truth.

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  20. Jessica Talbot Invisible Man

    Name, sound, apparel, personality and so on, are all aspects of identity. A human's identity is the very foundation from which they are able to grow and represent what they stand for. Usually a person's identity is constant and determined by the individual. However, in the case of Invisible Man, that remains untrue. Ralph Ellison's novel of the triumphs and tragedies of a black man during the Harlem Renaissance largely focuses on the changing identity of Invisible Man over the course of the fiction. In the beginning of the novel, Invisible Man is a high school student with dreams of attending college, leading him to an unfortunate accident in which he becomes aggravated, then shifting to a man of constant questioning, and finally to complete destruction. Invisible man (IM) goes though all of these identity changes merely because he allows others morph his identity. Ralph Ellison expresses that forces around an individual can mutate their identity, and allowing other people to control a man’s identity will ultimately lead to his demise.
    The only identifiable matter about Invisible Man is that he himself has no true identity, making him "invisible." IM never reveals his name to the readers, nor does he give any history about his past. From the outset IM proclaims; "When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination- indeed, everything and anything except me." (Ellison 3) Exemplifying that because he is "invisible,” people are able to fill his blanks with their desired traits. Throughout the novel, IM adapts to the demands from his peers and never is he the individual he himself seeks to be.
    In the beginning, it is clear IM is inferior to the powerful white men around him. When IM is forced into a Battle Royale, he is unwilling to resist the torture; "We were rushed up to the front of the ballroom, where it smelled even more strongly of tobacco and whiskey. Then we were pushed into place." (Ellison 18-19) Instead of fighting his way out of the unpleasant situation, he allows the men to make him look like a savage. This subordination continues throughout years at college and into New York City. No matter where he travels, there is always someone there to adise his identity, and he settles with this because he is seen as, and feels as a minion. IM's subordination to those around him force him to become a savage because of the powerful men around him controlling his identity who force him into uncomfortable situations. Most of these situations, such as his episode within a burlesque bar with a very important person, get him into trouble and put him in tragic situations such as being kicked out of college. These types of events occur over and over again in the beginning of the book. Even though he sees that doing what others say tends to put him in undesirable circumstances, he continues to follow along, almost like a slave to society.

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  21. continued...

    Later in the novel, Invisible Man is saved by a group of doctors and given a new name. During an episode in which IM is working in a factory, he begins to show some aggressiveness when he gets into a fight with his boss. After a lobotomy like procedure occurs, the doctor tells Invisible Man, "Well, boy, it looks as though you're cured, You're a new man. You came through fine. Come with us." (Ellison 245) Once again succumbing to the jurisdiction of others, IM believes that because the doctors give him a new identity, he must live out his new character.
    Joining the Brotherhood leads to one of Invisible Man's final identity changes and his ultimate tumble into darkness. Noticing IM’s hostile new personality, the brotherhood, a communist group, finds him as a perfect fit for their black speaker to communicate with the public. He is invited to a gathering of Brotherhood members, where his identity is altered once again. IM is giving an envelope with a piece of paper in it by one of the Brotherhood leaders, Brother Jack, "This is your new identity. Open it... That is your new name. Start thinking of yourself by that name from this moment." (Ellison 309) With merely a piece of paper, IM's identity is once again changed by someone else. With that, Invisible Man begins acting like a Brotherhood member. He begins to speak in public regularly, using "scientific" terms, as asked of the Brotherhood. The big change that is seen, however, is the fact that he now questions things more, much like his fellow Brotherhood members question him after his public speeches, but he does NOT question the Brotherhood, because they tell him not to. He is told to trust the sciences and question everything else. That is his new identity, a man who questions society but trusts his fellow people. Because he has been told to trust the Brotherhood, he fails to see their true intentions to start a riot in Harlem. When the riots do occur, Invisible Man feels deceived and runs away from society by crawling into a dark hole he now calls home.
    Throughout Ellison's Invisible Man, the IM has no personal path and continually allows those around him to identify him and make him the person they want him to be, instead of shaping the course of his own history. After leaving his trust in the hands of others, and changing his identity for them, wherein he was only left feeling tricked and manipulated. Instead of trying to find himself after this epiphany, he decides to paint over his past and live underground in the safety of the darkness, which like him, has no identity. IM’s last and final identity alteration occurs the moment he again, has let society mold him and change him so much that he is left broken and hopeless. Ellison’s novel serves as an example to all of his readers to not let society shape them like IM let society shape him.

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  22. In his novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury portrays nature, opposed to technology by introducing us to the character of Clarisse McClellan. Clarisse is a cheery, pure and curious character that mirror the way nature in the society. In the Society that Clarisse is living in, she isn’t considered to be “normal” like the other kids, because she is curious about what is going on in the society while other children don’t bother to ask questions since this is the way they were raised in the society.

    Clarisse represents the way society was before technology took over. When Montag meets Clarisse, he starts seeing the world in a new way than he did before. Bradbury writes, “He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going knock on her door and ask for it back.” (9) When Bradbury explains how Montag’s happiness was like a “mask”, he is trying to say how Montag wasn’t happy in reality, even though he thought he was, until Clarisse made him realize that he wasn’t happy because she made him think about what is going on in society. She tells him how before firemen use to put out fires instead of starting them and also details that might seem unimportant, for example, how there was dew on the lawn in the mornings. However, these details were important to Montag because he had never stopped to think about any of these things. When Bradbury says, “there was no way of going knock on her door and ask for it back.” He is showing how Clarisse took the blindfold off Montags eyes, that was set by society and made him curiosity spark up, and there was no way that he would stop his curiosity anymore. After that day, Montag spends more time with Clarisse and tells her about his life, which shows how comfortable he was talking to her, rather than talking to his wife, who wouldn’t listen to him because she was a victim of technology.

    Censorship was really important in the society that Clarisse and Montag were living in. Firemen were in charge of getting rid of anything that might seem inappropriate or break that censorship and one of the firemen was Beatty. After Clarisse disappears, Beatty goes to visit Montag at his house and Montag asks him about Clarisse and Beatty replies, “ The poor girl is better off dead.”.... “Luckily, queer ones like her don’t happen often. We know how to nip them on the bud, early.” (Bradbury, 58). Beatty tells Montag how the firemen “nip” people like Clarisse “early” before they spread their knowledge to the rest of society and this is an example of how important Censorship was, for them to take such actions.

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  23. Nature and Technology in Fahrenheit 451
    In the novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury contrasts nature with technology as a way to mirror our own lives and demonstrate how dangerous too much technology can be. Bradbury portrays nature as something pure, free, and content. He uses Clarisse McClellan, who is different from everyone else in her society because of her great sense of awareness and appreciation of all things natural, to demonstrate this idea. Bradbury writes, “Once he saw her shaking a walnut tree…three or four times he found a bouquet of late flowers on his porch, or a handful of chestnuts in a little sack…One day when it was raining…and the day after that calm day was a day like a the furnace of summer and Clarisse with her face all sunburnt by late afternoon (28). Bradbury uses these snapshots of Clarisse’s life to show how connect she is with her natural environment. As Montag witnesses these moments, he grows fond of her. Clarisse symbolizes what Montag is lacking in his life
    ‘Being with people is nice. But I don’t think it’s social to get a bunch of people together and then not let them talk, do you? An hour of TV class…we never ask questions, or at least most don’t; they just run the answers at you, bing, bing, bing, and us sitting there for four more hours of film teachers’ (29).

    Unlike many of the other students in her class, Clarisse is aware of the fact that there is something not right going in her school – the students are being deprived of interacting with one another and thinking freely. Technology has taken over the education of the students in Clarisse’s school and has great influenced their views on things natural and unnatural. Clarisse finds fulfillment in sitting out in her porch with her family, picking flowers, and knitting. While doing all of these activities, she gains a better appreciation of not only nature, but also social interactions with others and other hobbies. Clarisse’s interactions with Montag are very carefree yet thought provoking. Through Clarisse, Montag is finally able to open his eyes and realize that there is a whole other world outside of the Seashell radio his wife listens to every night and TV parlors. The technology the people in Montag’s society has hurt them rather than helped them. Although many do not see it this way – Mildred and her friends find the TV parlor to be a source of wonderful, meaningful entertainment that provides excitement into their lives – technology has manipulated Montag’s society. It has used as a distraction to keep people from thinking freely about absolutely anything. They have become so used to this distraction that even the smallest things, keep their minds occupied and away from thinking freely. Bradbury writes, “…Each line must be memorized. I will myself to do it. He clenched the book in his fists. Trumpets blared. ‘Denham’s Dentrice.’ Shut up, thought Montag. Consider the lilies of the field” (78). When the toothpaste ad comes on while Montag is on the train station, he cannot bring himself to focus and memorize the parts of the Bible he must memorize in order to create a replica. Through this, Bradbury is warning his readers the danger of having too much technology in ones’ life. While technology is, in many ways, a great resource it can also hurt ones’ life. Mildred, who spent practically her entire life glued to her TV parlor, secretly felt unhappy with her life. So unhappy that she tried to kill herself. There was no true meaning or substance to her life other than her TV shows and radio stations. In contrast, Clarisse’s life was filled with meaning and happiness. She found happiness in the smallest things and as a result, lived a content life and gained a wise perception of herself and the world around her.

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  24. In Ray Bradbury’s dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, the author uses the symbol the nuclear war and the allegory of amoral Mildred Montag in order to portray the ways in which mankind has lost it’s morality.
    Bradbury uses the war as a motif to demonstrate the apathy plaguing Montag’s world. From the beginning of the novel, the audience hears about the imminent onset of nuclear war. However, the reader is never fully enlightened as to the cause of the battle. The ambiguity surrounding the cause of the war makes a statement about Montag’s society. The implication that many, if not most of the people are unaware of what the war concerns makes it obvious that the people have lost all sense of their morality. They are willing to send their men into battle with little to no regard for their safety. This is suggested through the excerpt,
    That's what the Army said. Quick war. Pete was called yesterday and they said he'd be, back next week. Quick..."
    The three women fidgeted and looked nervously at the empty mud-coloured walls.
    ‘I'm not worried,’ said Mrs. Phelps. ‘I'll let Pete do all the worrying.’ She giggled. ‘I'll let old Pete do all the worrying. Not me. I'm not worried.’
    ‘Yes,’ said Millie. "Let old Pete do the worrying.’
    ‘It's always someone else's husband dies, they say.’
    ‘I've heard that, too. I've never known any dead man killed in a war. Killed jumping off buildings, yes, like Gloria's husband last week, but from wars? No.’
    ‘Not from wars," said Mrs. Phelps. ‘Anyway, Pete and I always said, no tears, nothing like that. It's our third marriage each and we're independent. Be independent, we always said. He said, if I get killed off, you just go right ahead and don't cry, but get married again, and don't think of me.’
    ‘That reminds me,’ said Mildred. ‘Did you see that Clara Dove five-minute romance last night in your wall?’” (Bradbury 94)

    This quotes exemplifies what Montag’s society has become. The citizens are ready and willing to support the cause that is given to them without argument. They are apathetic towards the fates of their husbands dismissing the idea entirely, and changing the topic back to the ‘family’. Later in the book, they go so far as to be indifferent in regards to their leader, giving more thought to how the candidate appears than what he stands for. This reveals the shallow lifeless mess that Guy Montag’s society has become. The women, who are generally portrayed as more considerate and empathetic towards others, are unmoved by the fate of their world.
    Montag’s wife is representative of the average psyche of their society, she is passive and depressive without the constant stimulation, and has no regard for the plague of apathy sweeping the people. Montag begins to seriously question his society after meeting the young Clarisse McClellan who opens his eyes to the simplistic wonders of the world. Additionally, after his team burns down the house of an old woman, her avid refusal to vacate her home during the blaze opens his eyes to the care and dedication people feel towards their volumes. Because of this he begins to pester his wife about the ‘family’. Montag asks, “but how can I leave myself alone? We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in awhile. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?" (Bradbury 52). This quote displays the ways in which morality is absent from Montag’s life. His spouse has no driving force in life, no dedication, and no worldly values. She instead wastes away, transfixed by the colours and exaggerated of the lives of the people in the walls. When she does not have this constant stimulation and excitement, Mildred falls into a deep depression, relying on sleeping pills to get her through the night because she is unable to live outside the din. Mildred represents the average person in Montag’s society, she is docile and uncaring about living in a world free of censorship.

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  25. Bradbury uses the lack of morality in Montag’s society to make a strong point about the direction in which our society is headed. He uses the examples of Mildred Montag, and the war to show the ways society has become amoral. In many ways Bradbury is making an accurate assumption about the future in our world. Bradbury uses this tale of censorship in order to show the world that we are moving too far towards apathy and in turn, amorality.

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  26. Living in a big city crawling with more people than can ever be known, one can sometimes take people for granted. In Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, the creature created by Frankenstein is cut off from the world by his grotesque looks. Although he begins his journey into life as the most caring and mild character imaginable, by the end he resorts to murder. This is an eye opening look into what happens when one is deprived from interaction. His experience argues that companionship is needed just as much as food and sleep and without it one resorts to unthinkable measures.
    In the beginning of his story he is innocent, even childlike in his observation of the world. Very soon after he just woke up and escaped the room he was created in, the creation described morning with, “Soon a gentle light stole over the heavens and gave me a sensation of pleasure. I started up and beheld a radiant form rise from among the trees. I gazed with a kind of wonder.” (Shelley 129). This does not sound like the experience of a monster. It is a description of the world by one who not only is new to it, but appreciates it. The observation gives an idea of being from a child because it is showing what things feel like but with the distinct feeling that it is unfamiliar. “A sensation of pleasure” is used in place of simply saying warmth, giving the feel that it is being described at face value rather than being compared to past experience. This idea carries on to the description of the sun as “a radiant” and how the everyday events are taken with “wonder.” It is a very common for childlike qualities to be interchangeable with those of innocence. Also, innocence and purity from experience allow one’s true colors to show through. This small observation of the world therefore paint a clear picture of the creation as an innocent and peaceful being with no disposition toward any kind of malice.
    Now jump forward through years of total rejection and isolation, for these are the sole experiences of Frankenstein’s creature. After being rejected by the family that he grew to love, he resolved to go to his creator’s home town. On the way he saves a young girl from drowning and is repaid with a bullet. This fills him with malice and he decides to bring on his creator the loneliness he feels himself. When in the woods, he encounters a boy who bears the surname Frankenstein, so he kills him. He describes the afterglow of murder, “I gazed on my victim, and my heart swelled with exultation and hellish triumph; clapping my hands, I exclaimed, ‘I too can create desolation; my enemy is not invulnerable; this death will carry despair to him, and a thousand other miseries shall torment and destroy him.” (Shelley, 167). This character is clearly very different from the day he arrived on the planet and blinking, stepped into the sun. When before he viewed the world with a sense of awe, he now sees it as a cruel place where he ought get revenge. The cruelty is exceedingly clear in this section because he feels great joy and satisfaction from the act of killing a young child. Not only is this murder in cold blood, but also the victim is innocent of why he is suffering and is only being used to harm another. Secondly, it is done not as some act of defense or need or passion but a calculated move made with the forethought of how it will deeply affect his creator. It is not alone either, for just after committing this atrocious deed he plans to do many more. This is not the type of thing that the benevolent creature from the beginning would ever be able to do.
    Such a change is incredible. There is hardly a commonality between the two other than the flesh they inhabit. For the entirety of the creation’s life he was reasonably well fed and protected, the only need he was deprived of was companionship. Thus, according to Mary Shelley this is what perpetual loneliness does to a person. It can change the very core of their being from complete peacefulness to a putrid mess of revenge and malice.

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  27. In his novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury employs fire to symbolize forces that can be destructive and yet compelling. Through this, it symbolizes life and life’s cycle. In the beginning of the novel Guy Montag, a fireman, describes his experience with fire. He explains,
    “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his hands, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor, playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history” (Bradbury 1).
    To Montag, fire is beneficial as it grants him both power and pleasure. Because he wilds the fire, he holds the power to change and destroy objects. History is in his hands. He could alter his surroundings and bring them down. Fire grants him control. Fire also brings him intense feelings of joy, which Bradbury conveys through the use of strong words such as ‘pounded,’ ‘pleasure’ and ‘great.’ Later, Captain Beatty and the rest of the fire department receive a call about a potential house with books: Montag’s house. Before destroying the house with fire, Beatty lectures Montag about taking responsibility for his actions and the consequences that come along with it, one if his consequences being, his house being destroyed with fire. He says,
    “What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it? . . . It's perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did. Or almost perpetual motion. If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out . . . It’s real beauty is that is destroys responsibility and consequences. A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it” (109).
    The most desirable trait about fire is it's perpetual motion - the idea that it will continue burning without any input from anyone. It keeps going on and destroying. It is so destructive that it could burn away “lifetimes,” not just mere physical bodies. Hence, despite bringing Montag pleasure, fire is also quite dangerous. Contrastingly, such a destructive property serves another beneficial quality. Throughout the novel, society has been told that the proper way to exist is to conform; people should merely go about their daily routine without questioning society and causing issues. Fire is the solution against such issues. It is practical and destructive and leaves almost no mess behind. It destroys responsibility and consequences, values that make humans alive. In the novel, people aren’t encouraged to think for themselves so fire serves as an oppressive mechanism by destroying what makes us human and real.

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  28. (This is my log continued)
    Although fire serves to make life easier and to control everything, it can also be a source of life. After killing Beatty with the very material that he thought was perfect, Montag flees and joins a hobo camp consisting of outcasted intellectuals. One of the men tells Montag a story. He begins, “There was a damn bird called a Phoenix . . . Everytime he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got all born again . . . But we got one damn thing the Phoenix never had.We know the damn silly things we did . . . someday we’ll stop [doing them]” (156). In conjunction with fire, the phoenix bird is used as a symbol. Again fire is used in a duplicitous manner, both in a destructive and renewing way. Even though the fire ruins the bird, the end result is positive as the bird rose from its own ashes. Here, the man asserts that the phoenix represents society and it’s constant cycle of destructiveness and rebirth. But society has one aspect that the phoenix lacks, it learns from its mistakes. In conclusion, fire represents both the lightness and darkness within society. It manages to destroy, but also to give the people the chance for a start fresh. It provides the opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes and to move forward. Realizing one’s mistakes makes progress possible in life.. Without failing and restarting, life becomes a mundane routine in which one lacks feeling and exists as a part of the mold.

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  29. Ray Bradbury uses imagery and metaphor to argue that government blinds people with an unattainable desire to live in a constant state of happiness in order to divert attention from its possible wrongdoings, and then takes further advantage of this blindness by mechanically draining people’s lives for its own gain.

    The image of Mildred that is engrained in Montag’s memory shows how she has been blinded by an unattainable need to be happy, distracting her from any governmental wrongdoings. Bradbury writes, “he remembered last week and the two white stones staring up at the ceiling” (49). This is a reference to when Mildred had overdosed on sleeping pills a week before and had been found staring straight upward in her bed when Montag came home from work. Bradbury’s description of Mildred’s eyes as “two white stones” appears to be symbolic. Mildred’s eyes being described in this way implies that she is being blinded by her medicine. This conclusion makes sense because medicine can also be described as “white stones”, and these “white stones” have replaced her eyes and vision. But furthermore, Mildred is being blinded by what the medicine stands for -- the feeling placed upon her by society that she must be happy at all times. She is overdosing on medicine at her own detriment just so that she can have the momentary feeling of happiness that she is led to believe is essential. Mildred has been led to take the sleeping pills by the need to remain happy, and all of her focus is concentrated on this desire.

    The government has created this maze-like search for personal contentment as a decoy from their actions. Mildred is so caught up in her singular vision that she cannot see what is really going on in the world. This is expressed when Bradbury writes that her “two white stones”, her blind eyes, are “staring up at the ceiling”. The ceiling is probably the most meaningless part of her room, yet she is transfixed upon it because of her blindness. This symbolizes how her mind has been misdirected toward her unattainable and artificial goals. She remains painfully unaware of the war going on around her or the possibility of governmental wrongdoing. Through the image of Mildred staring up at the ceiling with her “two white stones”, we can see Bradbury’s disillusionment with how government blinds its citizens.

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  30. Bradbury builds upon the idea that Mildred is the product of manipulation through the usage of metaphor. Remembering the time when Mildred was taken to the hospital for overdosing on pills, Bradbury writes about Mildred encountering “the pumpsnake with the probing eye and the two soap-faced men with the cigarettes moving in their mouths when they talked” (49). The pumpsnake is a metaphor for why the government is blinding Mildred. They are blinding her so that they can extract all of her usefulness for their own gain. Because she is trapped in her never ending quest for happiness, Mildred is stuck buying and supporting things that she is brainwashed into thinking will make her more happy. In this way the government, like a pumpsnake, is sucking everything that she has out of her -- her labor, her money, and her votes. The description Bradbury uses when talking about the doctors demonstrates their manipulative mission. In fact, he doesn’t even refer to them as the doctors they supposedly are, instead calling them “soap-faced men”. These featureless, unidentifiable soap-faced men are more like handymen out to perform a duty rather than doctors. Through the use of metaphor, Bradbury shows how Mildred is a product of manipulation as the government tries to extract her worth for its own gain.

    In his novel, Bradbury criticizes how the government blinds people by giving them an unattainable goal, and then manipulates them through their subsequent unawareness for its own gain. On a greater scale, the government’s purpose according to Bradbury is to create millions of Mildreds, people that will spend their lives chasing happiness, buying into things with no real value, and ignoring the real issues in the world. The government isn’t trying to give Mildred a perfect world like they claim, as they need her unhappiness to keep them going and in power. All they do is lead her to believe that this perfect world exists just beyond her reach so she’ll keep on walking forward until she falls of a cliff and into an abyss of unawareness.

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  31. Invisible Man Close Read
    The novel Invisible Man focuses on the theme of the elites’ domination over the individual, as seen through a young black man’s experience of his own “invisibility” as those employing him fail to see him for his identity. However, this narrator finds that even after discovering this unsatisfactory dynamic, he fails to be a hero and mobilize other invisible people against these conditions like he wanted, barely saving himself. Toward the beginning of the novel, the narrator tells of his experiences at his “all-negro” college, to which he received a scholarship. Due to a good reputation, the head of the school chooses the narrator to give a white trustee, Mr. Norton, a tour of the college and surrounding area. As the narrator drives this man around, Mr. Norton expresses, “I had a feeling that your people were somehow connected with my destiny. That what happened to you was connected with what would happen to me . . . Yes, you are my fate, young man . . . I mean that upon you depends the outcome of the years I have spent in helping the school” (Ellison 41-42). Here, Mr. Norton describes the narrator and all the other black students as his “destiny” and “fate,” implying that what they do and who they become defines not them, but him. Hence these students serve as his pawns, void of their own identity and personhood, for they only live to serve his name. In “helping the school,” Mr. Norton uses money - since he is a trustee - to shape these students’ education and thus influence their lives. Therefore, he gains control over these students, transforming them into mere objects of value to him in order to employ them in his own personal pursuits. Mr. Norton is blind to the students as people. Logically, he serves as a model to indicate a trend, for most trustees of this school certainly invest money in order to influence the students to their favor. Accordingly, they too would desire to see that their money was used well - that the students succeed in their name. The students like the narrator become invisible and oppressed while the white trustees blind, for the students’ true identities cannot be seen by their leaders.
    After this event, the narrator is expelled from college for leading Mr. Norton into distasteful parts of town and so he leaves the South for New York. In New York, the narrator joins a movement known as The Brotherhood that works to socially improve the community. During his time working there, the narrator hears comments from other Brothers, “‘Individuals don’t count for much; it’s what the group wants, what the group does. Everyone here submerges his personal ambitions for the common achievement’ . . . ‘You were not hired to think . . . Such crowds are only our raw materials, one of the raw materials to be shaped into our program . . . ‘But there’s nothing to be done about it that wouldn’t upset the larger plan. It’s unfortunate, Brother, but your members will have to be sacrificed,” (Ellison 397, 472, 501). Reminiscent of the college where individual students mainly counted for their achievements to the trustee’s names, “individuals don’t count for much” in The Brotherhood either. This ideology shifts focus to the movement’s goals and actions, which are determined and controlled by a select few leaders. Thus, the majority of The Brotherhood works, unnamed and unidentified - invisible - for the cause of the blind elite Brothers and the ominous title of Brotherhood: they are not validated as individuals. Accordingly, the lower Brothers are not supposed to “think,” but merely follow; they should not be curious human beings, but merely simple drones. In the same way that The Brotherhood leaders treat the lower Brothers, The Brotherhood itself views its followers as “natural resources,” again identity-less objects whose sole purpose is to be used and “sacrificed” at will by The Brotherhood.

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  32. (continued) Hence, the narrator has fled from one individual-suppressing mechanism to another, despite believing that within this new organization, he could heroically improve the lives of other invisible people in New York and beyond. Although he attempts to save others from oppression, he inadvertently continues this oppression, not only of those around him but of himself.

    Furiously realizing his mistake, the narrator develops a new resolve to be a hero and stop this domination: “I’d overcome them with yeses, undermine them with grins, I’d agree them to death and destruction . . . And now I sat breathless, asking myself how Rinehart would have solved the problem of information and it came instantly clear: It called for a woman” (Ellison 509, 512). Now the narrator decides to allow The Brotherhood to hurt its followers, hoping that they will peel away and cause “death and destruction” for the organization. Scheming as to how to most effectively “undermine” it, he decides to behave like Rinehart, a person he’s heard of who lives many lives at once and cheats most all who know him. However, in using a “woman,” the narrator becomes his own Brotherhood as he decides to utilize other human beings like objects to fulfill his personal pursuits. Since he only cares about the information, he is blind to the individuality of these people. Hence, the narrator transforms himself not into a courageous hero, but a devious manipulator.

    Later in the novel, the narrator walks into a massive riot on the streets of Harlem and finds a group of men who have organized the burning of their apartment building due to poor conditions. The narrator helps without a thought and comments on the riot in general, “It didn’t occur to me to interfere, or to question . . . It was not suicide, but murder. The committee had planned it. And I had helped, had been a tool.” (Ellison 546, 553). Here, the narrator realizes that in ‘yessing’ The Brotherhood while it deserted the people, he simply allowed it to push the people to rebel violently and without larger organization, cause “death and destruction.” He was blind to its actions! Accordingly, the narrator is not only devious and greedy like the blind elite but he also serves as another identity-less “tool” in The Brotherhood’s apparently abusive plans. Despite attempting twice to heroically obstruct the oppression and depersonalization of the smaller people by the larger elite leaders, the narrator’s plans backfire and he finds himself both guilty of, and powerless against, these forces.

    Finally, at the end of the novel the narrator lives in the sewer where he can separate only himself from the abuses. He has so far served in no way as a hero, and only in the roles of an identity-less/invisible man and the oppressive/blind man, thus merely perpetrating these societal dynamics. Upon failing, he flees away from all human contact as a coward would. Therefore, the “Invisible Man” of the novel is no hero. Through these series of events, Ellison indicates that to be a hero is impossible, for one cannot see or think enough to help while inside society, but when outside of society one lacks the influence to make change.

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  33. The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne, is a feminist novel due to its female protagonist fighting against stereotypes that are created by the pious community she's surrounded by. The stereotypes she disproves involve her independence and ability to raise her daughter without an active husband partaking in her childhood, and the fact that she overcomes the burdens that were placed on her, due to the scarlet letter she wears on her left breast that signifies her sin.

    Prynne demonstrates an extraordinary effort to repudiate the prejudicial views by the members of the Puritan community through her achievement in successfully raising her daughter Pearl. During the early stages of the novel, Prynne was exposed and interrogated on the scaffold to the entire town to find about her husband's identity. Prynne refuses to disclose that information, and does this for several years. Keeping this secret from society is a worthy effort in itself, as for the next few years of her life her social image was deteriorated by the scarlet letter she bears on her chest. While Prynne carries this social stigma everywhere she goes, she also carries something that proves her ability to deflect whatever is thrown at her. This proof is her daughter herself. Prynne says: “It was the scarlet letter endowed with life . . . Hester contrived so perfectly to represent the scarlet letter in her appearance” (Hawthorne 70). This quote reveals that, although Pearl is a reminder of Prynne's sinning, as stated in the quote “the emblem of her guilt and torture”, she accepts her, in turn. Prynne, instead of seeing Pearl as a burden for sinning, treasures her. Pearl is what Prynee had “contrived so perfectly to represent the scarlet letter in her appearance”. Despite the social negativity that she receives because of the scarlet letter, Pearl brings out a beauty and goodness from it that Prynne sees from her affection of her. Pyrnne's acceptance of her daughter both as a burden and a blessing reveal her actions to defy society's intentions; the Puritan community intended for Pearl to be a tremendous burden to her as a reminder of her sins, but Prynne refutes this and sees her as a blessing instead. In addition, her abilities to raise Pearl reflect her ability to resist feminine stereotypes. During this time period, women are expected to be dependent on their husband. Prynne does this all by herself, as she simultaneously utilizes her knitting abilities to earn some respect from the community while raising Pearl to become a better person than Prynne was and not to make the wrong decisions that result in a life of punishment. In the years that Prynne raises Pearl, Pearl becomes a person that no one ever expected her to be. The narrator says: “But now the idea came strongly into Hester's mind . . . might be found to have the taint of falsehood in them” (Hawthorne 123). The fact that Prynne “creates” a dignified and noble daughter reveals how she surpassed living under the punishment of sinning by molding the character of her daughter and making her not as sinful as Prynne was. In other words, the goodness that Pearl exhibits, as Prynne says “the stedfast principles of an unflinching courage, . . . a sturdy pride”, demonstrate Prynne's success in raising her child; not to mention, independently and under the pressure of the Puritan society. Those years that Prynne raises Pearl prove her resistance to the discriminatory views of women.

    Prynne defies stereotypes through her efforts in accepting Pearl as a blessing, not a burden, while revealing her independence of men through solely raising Pearl not only to make better decisions that what Prynne made, but to be successful and confident in the world around her. Because of Prynne's significant role in resisting the stereotypes that she's associated with, The Scarlet Letter is clearly a feminist novel.

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  34. In the book Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury portrays the lack of feeling in society and the influence this affect has on a person. He also demonstrates this using seclusion as a main force of influence. Bradbury writes, “Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall, but it felt no rain; over which clouds might pass their moving shadows, but she felt no shadow…” (Bradbury, 11) ‘Snow-covered island’ portrays that Mildred is a part of this Earth and that she is tangible and very present. However, “but she felt no rain” shows the numbness that she feels due to her lack of presence. “but she felt no shadow” represents the unawareness she feels. She doesn’t feel the presence of another essence and this is also because of the numbness she feels. Along with the meaning of presence is the idea that she may think she is free in some way. The ‘island’ tends to lean towards freedom and free will, yet the numbness shows that she is not free because she can’t feel the freedom. “her eyes all glass” symbolize the synthetic presence of herself. Since her eyes are simply glass and not windows, her feelings are suppressed and cannot be acknowledge by an outside viewer. “Music bombarded him at such an immense volume that his bones were almost shaken from their tendons; he felt his jaw vibrate, his eyes wobble in his head. He was a victim of concussion.” (42) The music, which is the representative of society’s influence on the human conscience, is causing Montag to suffer because he has more structure. Because he isn’t numb and is exposed to what has been hidden from society he can feel the heavy control that society tries to take. “his bones were almost shaken from their tendons” is an example of this influence. The very bones that are uses to burn and make fires are becoming sore. The loud music is currently how society is distracted and is numbed because of it. “he was a victim of concussion” shows the effects of the numbing influence from society. ‘concussion’ means he is submerged in his sub conscience with the ‘music’ being the last thing he hears. The music is meant to be powerful enough to change his sub conscience and the way he thinks. “Nobody listens anymore. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re screaming at me! I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want somebody to hear what I have to say.’”(78) Nobody listening shows that that they are alive, however they are not present. Him talking to the walls and them screaming back are symbolic of him hearing his own voice because his voice echoes off the walls. This correlates to an issue of literature in this society which is the lack of new things being written and everyone sounding the same with their ideas. They scream back at each other with these same ideas. Montag is hearing his own thoughts simply said allowed back to him and there is nothing different, nothing included with his idea. Mildred listening to the walls shows her lack of presence and the numbness she feels. “’They’d put you in jail, wouldn’t they?’ She looked at him as if he were behind the glass wall” (62) Montag being seen as if through a glass wall represents how trapped he is with himself. It is ironic because she asks him if he will be put in jail when he actually is already trapped in one. However, this would be worse because he has to see the world continue the way it is without being able to communicate with them.

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  35. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Mirrors, Close Reading 1

    Mirrors give people the chance to view themselves. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the citizens of the novel’s dystopian society were not able to honestly see themselves. Using Granger’s idea to build a mirror factor, Bradbury presents a metaphor for the necessary examination of one’s surroundings and own self, in his novel as well as in American society.
    In the novel the greatest representation of mirrors is found when Granger puts forward the idea to build a mirror factor in the dystopian society. Just as one would do in a mirror, Granger suggests that people look at their reflection and observe not just their exterior but their principles and actions as well. “Come on now, we’re going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them” (Bradbury 157). In the society which Granger and Guy Montag fled, no person was capable of becoming an individual. In fear of upsetting society’s status quo, the people followed the law and questioned nothing. The citizens were pushed by the dystopian society to follow the status quo rather than become independent. The people were blinded by the fear of what conclusions may become of their actions, leading them to refrain from straying too far from the norm. They transformed themselves to become whoever and whatever society wished them to be, losing sight of their own self. Citizens who chose to fight against the government’s constraining influences became outcasts. Though both Granger and Guy became victims of this, it is evident that they, unlike others, saw the true destructive society in which they lived in. In suggesting that they may build a mirror factory in the future, Granger displays a sense of hope in encouraging others to look at themselves and the society in which they live in. “… put out nothing but mirrors… and take a long look in them” (Bradbury 157). Granger proposes that if nothing but mirrors were to be produced, it would force the people to engage in self-examination. In giving them the chance to look closely at themselves, mirrors would offer the people a chance to change the damaging lives they live. People would gain control of their lives, no longer losing themselves to the power of the government.
    Bradbury emphasizes the detachment from a sense of self that is brought about by the constraining influences of the government. In presenting this argument in his novel, Bradbury also suggests that American society should be aware of their actions and principles. Similar to the novel’s citizens, American citizens can often be blinded by the fear of their own actions. In hopes of staying safe from the often, destructive truth, people are not honest when viewing themselves as participants in society. Similar to Granger and Guy, Americans who stray away from society’s status quo, usually become outcasts. However, in depicting both characters as men who oppose the manipulative society in which they live, Bradbury implies that through self-examination, one can become of great influence. Comparable to Granger, one can draw upon self-understanding to influence others to do the same.
    A reflection can be found in both a mirror and in one’s self-examination. In his novel Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury puts forward the idea that mirrors convey the ability to aid in one’s self-discovery. Through Granger’s proposition to build a mirror factory, Bradbury suggests that the factory represents the need for greater examination of one’s self-understanding and surroundings in both contemporary American society and the dystopian society in his novel.

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  37. The novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (first published in Playboy) follows the evolution of Guy Montag, a “fireman” in a dystopian future where books are banned and firemen must seek them out to destroy them (and occasionally their owners). Fire is a symbol used throughout the book and when we first see it Montag is in love it,
    “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.” (Bradbury, 1)

    This quote shows us that right from inception, Montag enjoys fire greatly. He knows that it is “venomous” and harmful, but the sheer power he gets from the flame completely overpowers all of his rationality at turns him into a beast that seeks only to fuel his primal urges. He is quite literally “burning down... history” and yet his joy allows him to overcome and feeling of regret and makes him ignore the implications and repercussions of his actions. The fire is all consuming, as is real fire. It turns him into a beast whose only desire is to consume and change. Montag almost embodies fire, he devours whatever he is set on without second thought. Here, the fire symbolizes primeval urges and lack of control.
    Later in the novel the symbol of flame appears again, with a much more direct definition of what it should mean in this novel. Montag is forced to burn his own house down, an act in which he actually takes pleasure. Beattie drops this gem when the act is finished, “What is fire? It's a mystery. Scientists give us gobbledegook about friction and molecules. But they don't really know. Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences” (Bradbury, 125) When Beattie says this he shows what the firemen are and what fire stands for. It is brutal, it is harsh, and it is uncaring towards reason. Beattie dismisses the intelligent scientists and puts in his own definition of fire. Something that is cleansing, something that is not responsible for what it does. Something that is just in its own way. Fire is uncaring towards what it is doing, it does not have the time to rationalize or think. Fire simply is. Fire stands for the lack of authority, it stands for action regardless of why.

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  38. In our world today, there are a lot of things that are two sided. They have positive and negative to them. Some of these things are rare and hard to notice, other are present in our everyday life. One of the things that have this phenomenon and that we tend not to notice is fire. Fire can have a good, warming side that saves lives, or a bad side that burns and causes mass destruction. Both of the sides are easily achievable. It is easy to come next to a fire and warm yourself, and it is as easy to take an extra step and burn yourself. But most tend to hear and think about fire in the negative way. In the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the author talks about how easy it is to destroy things with fire. He constantly puts in scenes that talk about the easiness and cleanliness of fire when it destroys things.
    To demonstrate the swiftness of fire, Bradbury puts in a scene at a fire assignment. The firemen have soaked everything with kerosene inside of a lady's house. Everything was ready to get burned. But the lady gave the firemen an unpleasant surprise, "The woman on the porch reached out with contempt to them all and struck the kitchen match against the railing." (Bradbury 37). This quote demonstrates the horrible concept of fire once it gets started, it will do lots of destruction and it is next to impossible to stop it. But the most terrifying thing is that how easy it is to start this path to destruction. It could be done with as simple strike of a match. Bradbury is able to demonstrate to the reader how the woman got power, just by being able to start the fire. But he also conveys that to start the fire, the woman only needs a kitchen match, she doesn’t need anything special or huge. Bradbury shows how easy it is to do it. Readers can relate this to real world stories of fires and how they get started. Usually they do start with a match or a cigarette. This is one way Ray Bradbury shows the power and easiness of fire, later on in the book he uses character's speech to demonstrate this effect.
    A couple of more scenes into the book, Montag, the main character in the book, called in sick to the fire station. Beatty, Montag's captain, decides to pay him a visit. Beatty educates Montag on the history of how humans came to the burning of books. He talked about how at first minority groups didn't like some books so they had to be burned. Then, it got out of hand, and all the books began to be burned. He also talked about how because people did not like funerals, cremation became popular. And in the end he said, "Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean." (Bradbury 57). This quote demonstrates the idea of easiness of the fire. Fire leaves no finger prints behind. It is easy to "burn all, burn everything" with the fire. If somebody dislikes something, instead of trying to correct it, just burn it with fire. It will leave nothing behind and will keep everyone satisfied. Using fire is the easy way out. By telling this to Montag, Beatty almost describes a world problem solution. By having this quote included in the book, Bradbury successfully hints the reader about the fire's easy destructibility. Later on in the book, Beatty shares his other opinions about the fire.

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  39. Later on in the book, Beatty finds out that Montag has books in his house when an alarm brings up Montag's address. The crew travels to the address to burn down Montag's house. When on the spot, Beatty decides to lecture Montag about fire once again. At the end of the leacture Beatty says, "Its real beauty is that it destroys responsibility and consequences. A problem gets too burdensome, then into the furnace with it. Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical." (Bradbury 109). This quote, once again, underlines the easiness and useful destructibility of fire. Here Beatty tells Montag that fire can also be an easy solution to people's "responsibility and consequences". He explains how burdens can be solved with fire as well. And then he says that Montag is a burden and a problem. But according to Beatty, fire can solve any burdens because it's so easy to use, it's "Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical." This shows the destruction side of fire, it can destroy not only objects like books, but also it can destroy lives. By having this in the book, Ray Bradbury, once again shows the reader the reality of fire. How fire can destroy everything that stays in its path, and how all this destruction can be controlled with ease.
    Ray Bradbury is really able to show the meaning of fire through his book Fahrenheit 451. He tells the reader that the fire can cause a lot of destruction and that it could be controlled easily. He does this by including scenes and quotes of characters that explain that. He is really able to bring in the points that describe the fire's qualities. This relates to the real world as well. There are a lot of things around us that have sides like fire does.

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  40. Thank you! This conversation is closed.

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  41. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, the comparison between the symbols warmth and coldness is used to describe the characters and how they change throughout the novel. Guy Montag isn’t your typical fireman; instead of putting fires out he creates them. Montag describes the change of atmosphere when he first meets Clarisse McClellan. Montag reveals, “Perhaps his nose detected a faint perfume, perhaps the skin on the back of his hands, on his face, felt the temperature rise at this one spot where a person’s standing might raise the immediate atmosphere ten degrees for an instant.” (Bradbury 3). This quote reveals that temperature can presented in many ways. Temperature doesn’t also mean warmth, but can be genuinely displayed as comfort, friendliness, enthusiastic, and eagerness. These are all implied in Clarisse’s personality. It shows that Montag is exposed to a change of reaction and sense of Clarisse’s character. As they walk to Clarisse’s house, she asks him, “Are you happy?” (Bradbury 7). Once Montag departs from Clarisse’s house, he realizes that the warmth has faded. He reveals, “He felt his smile away, melt, fold over and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the tallow skin, like the stuff on a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out.” (Bradbury 9). This reference explains how Clarisse made an impression on Montag’s view of his life. The phrase, “fantastic candle” is used to show the warm welcoming of Clarisse’s presence and how it changes Montag’s feeling.
    On the other hand there is Mildred, Montag’s wife. She is a self-absorbed character and doesn’t want to part take in other’s business. She is immersed with being in the parlor and chatting with other women from her church. Montag describes her, “Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall, but it felt no rain; over which clouds might pass their moving shadows, but she felt no shadow.” (Bradbury 11). Bradbury’s use of a simile to describe Mildred is very precise, it really emphasis on her character and how she represents what the society wants others to be. Mildred is a safe character, with phases like, “rain might fall” and “she felt no shadow” gives the reader a sense of her cold and rolled-over emotion of her character.
    Montag fits in the middle of these two personalities, in the beginning of the novel he is just as cold as Mildred, but once he meets Clarisse things change. After Montag’s first encounter with Clarisse, Bradbury describes Montag’s feeling as, “He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other.” (Bradbury 21). This shows that he contemplates who he is and what he stands for. The contrast between the warmth of Clarisse’s personality and the cold, formed behavior of Mildred is shown through Montag’s actions and thoughts. It’s not till later in the novel where Montag makes his decisio

    Keira Atkins

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