ENGLISH 312

LITERATURE AND FILM "THE DYSTOPIAN IMAGINARY"

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Final Paper




Varant Dickranian
English 312
November 18, 2009
Professor Wexler

The Fall of Mankind

Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 is a story about man destroying the creation of mankind, where the every day normal class citizens do not know who their true identity is or what their purpose to life is. The great novel Fahrenheit 451, yet very controversial, is one of the most engaging story which makes me worry about the future and the society we live in today, and what might come up in the future. The story showed me how history can repeat itself, and how controlled society can get without even noticing it. Not only was the book amazing, but the film by Francois Truffaut was just as good and showed me how blind people can get. It was shocking to me at first to read about society where reading or owning a book is a felony, where one will get arrested for a possession of a book, and also the fact that the “fireman’s” job is to burn homes that contain books. The desecration of all types of books and banning it across the country will make everyone illiterate and
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ignorant, as many people were. In the great novel, Montag, the main character, is a fireman, whose job is to burn books and one day begins reading them and realizes that it was a masterpiece that was once done by a person, which causes his entire life, career, and marriage to fall apart. Also, the movie, directed by Francois Truffat, somewhat describes the society of the modern
day. We do live in a time where the media is taking over our minds and lives of many. We do live in a time where the media is taking over our minds and lives of many. In the novel, the Government has made it clear that reading novels or even owning one is a major illegal mistake, where if one is caught, the "firefighters" will come and burn your house down...along with the books. The reason for this is because the Government wants the society to be pulled and pushed into one way of thinking and believing. They want the people to all be the same and think towards the same direction.
In the novel, one can clearly see that the average person, and even the firemen themselves have no control over their act of freedom or even creativity. “I’ve got to go see me psychiatrist now. They make me go. I make up things to say. I don’t know what he thinks of me. He says I’m a regular onion! I keep him busy peeling away the layers” ( Fahrenheit 451 Page 52). The author provides us with a quote that proves the point where people in this society have no control over themselves at
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all, where they are forced to go to places such as a psychiatrist when they do not even know why. In this case, the quote shows how “they” are the people who are making decisions and not “me”. “They” are the superior people, the people who are in control who do not even identify themselves. “Books make people unhappy, they make them anti-social” (Fahrenheit 451). In the film, Guy Montag was brainwashed at first and did not even know what the purpose of books were, and why the government wanted to burn them all. He was blinded by the Government and did not even know how books are precious objects in this society, until he actually took one home and opened one.
“Go on, Montag, all this philosophy, let's get rid of it. It's even worse than the novels. Thinkers and philosophers, all of them saying exactly the same thing,"Only I am right! The others are all idiots!"” (Fahrenheit 451). The Government has made it clear that reading novels or even owning one is a major illegal
mistake, where if one is caught, the "firefighters" will come and burn your house down...along with the books. The reason for this is because the Government wants the society to be pulled/pushed into one way of thinking and believing. They want the people to all be the same and think towards the same direction. Eventually he turns out to sacrifice everything he has in his life in order to protect books and even wants to produce books. Montag eventually becomes addicted and cannot stand the
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fact of destroying man’s creation, where he becomes in deep trouble and is forced to burn his own house and is charged with many “illegal doings”. Montag eventually kills his chief and runs away where he eventually meets people like his own kind, who were once scholars and were now seen as “the social outcasts” or prisoners. Granger who was one of them told Montag “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made” (Page 182). This shows that people in the future, or in this case their society, will not be remembered after they pass out. This is due to the fact that people were not able to read, so therefore were not able to write and write down history, or even if they were, what good is it to write if you cannot read or even own a book? In other words, man kind will be finished if nobody writes the history down. As time progresses in the novel, the great war starts again and a few bombs turns the city to ashes, where Montag finally remembers how he met his wife and in some ways feels bad for her now that she is dead. After reading the novel, it seems to me that society has to reach its’ worst for us humans to eventually realize what has happened and what our mistakes were, which is when society can finally start all over.
After reading the novel, I realized how the media today is doing the same actions to people of our modern world today as we speak. The media and the
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government in some way are all showing us viewers, especially the young teens and young adults, how it is to be considered "hot" or "famous", "rich", and how it is to be considered as normal, and what one must do to be accepted in society. It makes it seem as if, if we do not own specific cars, and wear specific clothes we will not be considered as part of the norm. As one turns on the television today, one can come across all sorts of media where they are telling us how to dress, how to talk, what to drive, who to date, and how to live our lives in other words. Or take the news as
another example, the news broadcasters always put the viewers into fear by always containing news about murders, attacks, terrorist attacks, rapes, health concerns, diseases, etc. All this “news” excites us and makes us fear the real world, and whatever is around us, making us purchase whatever is necessary to be considered safe. It makes us do what they tell us to do, and not touch whatever they do not want us to touch. The Government hyped the entire nation up when the terrible incidents occurred in September 11, 2001, which made most Americans aware and afraid of their surroundings. “They” kept feeding us news about America being attacked by terrorists,
how the security in the airports are going to strengthen, how we must fight back the terrorists which most people did not even know who they were. We were also told how every phone conversation as of the September Eleven attacks are now going to
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be tapped by the Government, recording everything just in case they can catch the next terrorists. America is now built on fear thanks to all the incidents and all the doings of the U.S. Government. By building this country on fear and fearing all the citizens living in this country allows the Government to have absolute jurisdiction over everyone and everything. The moment one turns on the news today, we are constantly being informed about murder stories, or gang related stories to make us all aware and go out and buy guns. They are brainwashing us that the outside world is dangerous, and that if you want to be safe you have to do things “our way”. In reality, the outside world is not as dangerous and action packed as the news broadcasters make it seem like. With their shaky cameras and loud voices, they are adding fear into our plates to control us and our lives.
All this is very similar to the incidents that occur in the novel “Fahrenheit 451”, and I have come to the conclusion that most of us are blinded by it, how the media is really telling us what to do and what not to do, and how to live our lives. In other words, we as American citizens are being blindly controlled by the media force who we do not know of, just like how Montag's wife and the her friends were controlled. “What traitors books can be! You think they're backing you up, and they turn on you. Others can use them, too, and there you are, lost in the middle of the moor, in a great welter of nouns and verbs and adjectives” (Fahrenheit 451). This quote shows
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how greatly they were being brainwashed and controlled by the secret Government force, how the average person believed that books were the worst thing that could ever happen to mankind, how books “ruin” us or turn on to us. But one thing that bothers me is how the average person never wanted to fight the law and actually open a book, let alone own one. Not one soul besides the protagonist in the novel, Montag and a very few characters, never had the will to challenge what was wrong in the society and open a book and see what it is about books that is to traitorous. The average citizens were just sheep following the commands of their sheepherders. Take drugs for example, in our society, we all know that drugs such as marijuana or cocaine are illegal and bad for us. One can see all sorts of advertisements, banners, billboards, even large messages painted on the freeway stating that drugs are bad for us, and that we should all be drug free. But why do so many people still do drugs even though they know it is illegal and bad for us just like how the Government in Fahrenheit 451 states that books are so bad and traitorous. Based on some surveys, there are about 12.8 million Americans who abused the law by taking drugs this month. The reason why I believe the numbers are so high is because the people who take it know it is illegal, so therefore they get a pleasure out of doing something that is illegal, and yet they know it is bad for their health. But without concern, millions of Americans still abuse the law and take drugs. What is it
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about books that no one wants to own or read? It is after all a creation of mankind, where one can find obtain all sorts of information from it.
“There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing” (Fahrenheit 451). After the old lady stays inside her house and decides to die and get burned along with all her books, people become really shocked and begin to wonder what is it inside the books that makes “a woman stay in a burning house”. People begin to think now, to see what is it that people like to read, what it is to have books, and to eventually think what is it like to read? The same happens in this society today. No one person will try something new until one person tries, or a group of people come together and try it for the first time. As one can see, the citizens are all blinded by what the Government feeds them, and they do not have their own brains to actually make their own decisions, they just go along with the flow.
The novel Fahrenheit 451 really informs us how our future might one day be; controlling and with lack of freedom. In fact, it is happening today at this very moment. The Government, the news, the media, they are all informing us how to life, and most of us are blindly falling into it. We are living our lives they way they want us to live. Ray Bradbury’s novel is about Montag protecting what everybody is willing to
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destroy; The creation of mankind, where the every day normal class citizens do not know who their true identity is or what their purpose to life is. The great novel Fahrenheit 451, yet very controversial, can easily be compared to how the media is controlling our lives today. As humans, I believe we have to do and act on what we believe is right for ourselves and not let the outside sources control our lives.
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Cited Sources
Truffaut, Francois. Fahrenheit 451. Anglo Enterprises. 1966

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Fahrenheit 451 Response 11/18/09



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Varant Dickranian
English 312
November 18, 2009
Professor Wexler

Fahrenheit 451 Response

Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 was one of the best in depth novels I have ever read because it showed me how history can repeat itself, and how controlled society can get without even noticing it. Not only was the book amazing, but the film by Francois Truffaut was just as good and showed me how blind people can get. It was shocking to me at first to read about society where reading or owning a book is a felony, where one will get arrested for a possession of a book, and also the fact that the “fireman’s” job is to burn homes that contain books. Getting rid of books and banning it across the country will make everyone illiterate and ignorant, as many people were. In the novel, Montag, the main character, is a fireman, whose job is to burn books and one day begins reading them and realizes that it was a masterpiece that was once done by a person, which causes his entire life, career, and marriage to fall apart. Also, the movie, directed by Francois Truffat, somewhat describes the society of the modern day. We do live in a time where the media is taking over our minds and lives of many. We do live in a time where the media is taking over our minds and lives of many. In the novel, the Government has made it clear that reading novels or even owning one is a major illegal mistake, where if one is caught, the "firefighters" will come and burn your house
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down...along with the books. The reason for this is because the Government wants the society to be pulled and pushed into one way of thinking and believing. They want the people to all be the same and think towards the same direction.
In the novel, one can clearly see that the average person, and even the firemen themselves have no control over their act of freedom or even creativity. “I’ve got to go see me psychiatrist now. They make me go. I make up things to say. I don’t know what he thinks of me. He says I’m a regular onion! I keep him busy peeling away the layers” ( Page 52). The author provides us with a quote that proves the point where people in this society have no control over themselves at all, where they are forced to go to places such as a psychiatrist when they do not even know why. In this case, the quote shows how “they” are the people who are making decisions and not “me”. “They” are the superior people, the people who are in control who do not even identify themselves. “Books make people unhappy, they make them anti-social” (Farhenheit 451). In the film, Guy Montag was brainwashed at first and did not even know what the purpose of books were, and why the government wanted to burn them all. He was blinded by the Government and did not even know how books are precious objects in this society, until he actually took one home and opened one.
“Go on, Montag, all this philosophy, let's get rid of it. It's even worse than the novels. Thinkers and philosophers, all of them saying exactly the same thing,"Only I am right! The others are all idiots!"” (Fahrenheit 451). The Government has made it clear that reading novels or even owning one is a major illegal

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mistake, where if one is caught, the "firefighters" will come and burn your house down...along with the books. The reason for this is because the Government wants the society to be pulled/pushed into one way of thinking and believing. They want the people to all be the same and think towards the same direction. Eventually he turns out to sacrifice everything he has in his life in order to protect books and even wants to produce books. Montag eventually becomes addicted and cannot stand the fact of destroying man’s creation, where he becomes in deep trouble and is forced to burn his own house and is charged with many “illegal doings”. Montag eventually kills his chief and runs away where he eventually meets people like his own kind, who were once scholars and were now seen as “the social outcasts” or prisoners. Granger who was one of them told Montag “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made” (Page 182). This shows that people in the future, or in this case their society, will not be remembered after they pass out. This is due to the fact that people were not able to read, so therefore were not able to write and write down history, or even if they were, what good is it to write if you cannot read or even own a book? In other words, man kind will be finished if nobody writes the history down. As time progresses in the novel, the great war starts again and a few bombs turns the city to ashes, where Montag finally remembers how he met his wife and in some ways feels bad for her now that she is dead. After reading the novel, it seems to me that society has to reach its’ worst for us humans to eventually realize what has happened and what our mistakes were, which is when society can finally start all over.
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After reading the novel, I realized how the media today is doing the same actions to people of our modern world today as we speak. The media are all showing us viewers, especially the young teens and young adults, how it is to be considered "hot" or "famous", "rich", and how it is to be considered as normal, and what one must do to be accepted in society. It makes it seem as if, if we do not own specific cars, and wear specific clothes we will not be considered as part of the norm. Or take the news as another example, the news broadcasters always put the viewers into fear by always containing news about murders, attacks, terrorist attacks, rapes, health concerns, diseases, etc. All this “news” excites us and makes us fear the real world, and whatever is around us, making us purchase whatever is necessary to be considered safe. It
makes us do what they tell us to do, and not touch whatever they do not want us to touch. All this is very similar to Fahrenheit 451, and most of us are blinded by it, how the media is really telling us what to do and what not to do. In other words, we are being blindly controlled just like Montag's wife and the her friends.








Cited Sources
Truffaut, Francois. Fahrenheit 451. Anglo Enterprises. 1966

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballantine Books, 1953. Print.

Premodern Moral Order and Modern Moral Order

Some facts that popped in my head is that I believe as we go more into the future, people become less aware of their surroundings and also less responsible with everything in their life. This had occurred because the people today have power, and they do not have someone to obey.
Back in the days, people liked and also accepted the fact that there were people who had higher roles then themselves such as kings and queens. There was a level of hierarchy, and how people had to obey their rules. It brought in justice and also kept everything under control. The peasants accepted themselves as peasants, then it went to the working class and then jumped to the higher class. There were those who had royal blood as well. This kept everything balanced any made everyone had different levels of powers.
Today it’s more based on the equality of everyone and the voice of the community. Unlike the older days and during the practice of hierarchy, people just had to obey the rules that were given to them, they either had to take it or leave it. In both Fahrenheit 451 and Clockwork Orange, we see this power that the leaders have and the people still have to obey the rules. All because the word hierarchy is never mentioned, it does not mean that
it is not occurring. Even in those societies, there are the rich, the poor, the every day people, the homeless, and those with power. What makes it different then before?

I believe individuality is the best way to live because that way, everyone has their own power and belief.

Benjamin and Adorno/Horkheimer 10/14/09

As I read both articles, it made me realize how people today do not get any messages or clues from watching movies since movies today lack something very important, uniqueness.As some movies have a message or point out a form of social change, the viewers and the people do not show any emotion to it, or probably do not get the messages that the makers were trying to convey.
As some students mentioned, Adorno definitely goes straight to the core and talks about the problems of the media in the present day. As he mentioned, all producers and directors care about is money, money, and money. Their concern is not about the quality of the film, but the quantity of the profits. Back in the days movies had a feel to it, it had a message, a good point. People were able to connect to it and feel for the characters and
the message of the film.As he stated, “Real life is becoming indistinguishable from the movies. The sound film, far surpassing the theatre of illusion, leaves no room for imagination or reflection on the part
of the audience, who is unable to respond within the structure of the film, yet deviate from its precise detail without losing the thread of the story...” (Adorno). This clearly states the fact that movies today leave no room for imagination whatsoever. What happened to the films where people actually had room for imagination. The movies today are just flooded with stories that contain no story at all which bumps down the stories
which actually do contain good stories. The quick money makers are being replaced with the good films because those in power chose that.
Benjamin on the other hand stated that the good films which does call out for social change are out there in the public for us to watch, but they are rare and hard to get our hands on. In other words, there’s not much choice for us. The film industry/entertainment world are just creating junk for the world which only creates money but no imagination or does not even produce a message of social change. I believe there should way more varieties of films out there for the public to view.

Kerr 9/23 _ Genetics and Eugenics



Reading Kurr’s Article about Genetics and Eugenics really made me think about our future. Before I go on, I would like to define eugenics based on an online dictionary.Eugenics is the study of, or belief in, the possibility of improving the qualities of the human species or a human population by such means as discouraging reproduction by persons having genetic defects or presumed to have inheritable undesirable traits (negative eugenics) or encouraging reproduction by persons presumed to have inheritable desirable traits (positive eugenics).Pretty much it’s about making everyone perfect, creating perfect kids, with a perfect future, in a perfect world. Depressing, yes I know.I believe what those scientists are studying and testing is something that is morally incorrect and something that should NOT be tested. As some students mentioned topics about abortion, and being able to “save” your sickened child before they are born, I really got sickened by this whole topic of eugenics. What eugenics will do is destroy humanity and mankind. Yes, I understand that it is supposed to cure the sick, correct things into
what some member of society describes as “Perfect”. In reality, it is destroying us. Humans were not all supposed to be “Perfect”. Every race has their own characteristics which allows us to be different, hence the word “character.” If everyone today or in the future is cured and seen as perfect, there will be no more life. In my opinion, we’re supposed to have the sick, the geniuses, the average joes, the psychos, murderers, good people, bad people, ugly people, good looking, tall, short, fat, skinny (etc...) We are all supposed to be different which is why people DREAM, work hard, and pursue their career.If everyone on this planet was skinny, good looking, with perfect health, and smart, what will we all do? Who will do the necessary jobs that we classify as low ranking, or mid ranking.

An example: Let’s say you round up 2 people. They are both “perfect” due to eugenics, they both have the same IQ, both handsome and hard working. Will guy 1 with the same IQ as guy 2 serve you a quarter pounder at McDonalds while guy 2 works in Downtown as an accountant for big firm? Negative.

Eugenics will destroy all sort of jobs, dreams, hopes, careers, all in all, it will destroy life. I believe it is terribly wrong in many ways.

THX 1138





http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zONGiyFDvg8

1984 - Howe 9/16/09



Irving Howe’s article about 1984 brings up many debatable topics. In my opinion, George Orwell’s “1984” is indeed a novel. It is a fictional story about a man who lives in a society similar to actual societies such as a totalitarian society. I both agree and disagree with what Howe states about the story. “In Oceania the sex instinct, particularly among members of the Outer Party (the lower bureaucracy), is virtually obliterated” (Howe). This brings to my first point on how I agree with Howe when he states that George Orwell slightly exaggerates about the obliteration of sex and sexual freedom. I understand how the leaders are trying to diminish feelings and enjoyment, but how in the world can humans who have been having sex for eons, can suddenly not have the urge to have sex. Sexual desires are not taught by parents or teachers, it is simply in our blood and minds, it is part of being human being. This is when Orwell does not make sense at all in my opinion. I can understand if sex was limited to human beings as a way of torture in their society, but totally diminishing something that cannot be diminished just does not make sense to me. Also, why would one be caught or killed if he has sexual desires. Are they not supposed to be human?
Another point that I do agree with Howe is that the society that 1984 takes place in is
indeed how a totalitarian society would fall under Totalitarianism does indeed destroy
personal behaviors, talents, religion, faith, and sadly memory. Totalitarianism tries to
mold a human into a machine, rather than an individual with their own chosen beliefs,
wants, desires both sexually and non sexually, and also a significant aspect called social memory, which makes each individual unique because of their own memories. By
cutting/destroying one’s memories and filling minds with programmed “memories”, this destroys the human population and makes every single being a molded machine or robot, with each individual to have the same thoughts, memories, and desires.
In the end, George Orwell’s 1984 is just a novel that has been altered by actual political systems. The article does in fact make me look at the book in a different perspective, and how one should question everything. People might believe that Orwell was in fact implying an attack on political systems such as Socialism or other systems, but I think Orwell’s 1984 is his imagination and belief of what might happen in the future. The novel 1984 opened my eyes and made me see today’s society in a whole new aspect. Orwell wrote 1984 to provide us with an educational and debatable novel, but he might have written it to open the eyes of the people and show them what can happen to society one day, to simply not be ignorant and be a little more observant of our surroundings.