In the book Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury, Montag never got to experience the knowledge and truths held in books, especially because his job was to burn them. This knowledge from books gave you a type of power that no one else could ever achieve without doing one simple thing; reading. This was normal, though, and no one ever really saw reading as an option. People living in this society were taught that books were dangerous, almost poisonous, and everyone’s freedom of choice was being taken away, without them even noticing, or caring for that matter. Bradbury addresses these struggles through character metamorphosis, wisdom, and character dialogue.
Mindless stimulation and titillation do not create lasting satisfaction. This means that living a half-life does not bring happiness. You have to think and process things to be able to live a full life. For example, Montag thought he was happy being a fireman, but realized it was just society telling him he needed to be. This realization came to mind because his friend, Clarisse asked him is he was happy, He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold, over and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. Darkness. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true 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. Montag admitted to himself that he wasn’t happy, and everything changed. Bradbury might be trying to emphasize the wisdom that you can’t gain happiness from a fake type of lifestyle. This moment leads to Montag standing up for himself, fighting for his freedom from societal norms and laws, and his acts of rebellions. Also, Montag, when alone and completely himself, the fake smile we wear and the fake happiness he has completely faded away. He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold, over and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. This shows the transparency of his happiness and how he’s almost living a fake life.
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