Compare and Contrast the Endings of 1984 and Fahrenheit 451 Capstone Project

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1984 & Fahrenheit 451

The Pessimism of 1984 vs. The Optimism of Fahrenheit 451

Both 1984 by George Orwell and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury are futuristic depictions of totalitarian societies that value conformity over individualism. The two novels present systems of institutionalized control. There are strict laws and rules governing behavior and thoughts, and both societies are based on a hierarchy. The protagonists in the novels, Winston Smith and Guy Montag, are unhappy with the control their respective societies exert on people's lives, so they attempt to find ways to usurp the systems.

Both authors examine the idea of a central authority that has no institutional checks or limitations. Both societies endeavor to control how people perceive their own reality. Through the burning of books in Bradbury's work or through mechanisms such as the thought police in Orwell's, both works feature a reality where collective security and control have sacrificed individual expression. At the same time, both central authorities in the novel have little, if any, plausible resistance and opposition. Both social and political orders are predicated upon submission and obedience as opposed to active participation and voicing dissent.


Both Orwell and Bradbury emphasize theme of isolation and alienation through technology and fear. In 1984, Winston is depicted as one who does not quite fit in with the rest of his society. He has a persistent uneasy feeling that life is not what it should be that manifest themselves through his journal writing, which is strictly forbidden, "…Winston saw that he had left the diary open on the table.
'DOWN WITH BIG BROTHER' was written all over it…" (Orwell, 20). Society is governed by the Inner Party and no one is permitted to speak out or even think out against the government. Citizen's actions speech and expressions are constantly monitored through the telescreen. Anyone who appears to have a different thought than those approved of by Big Brother is in danger of arrest by the Thought Police.

Despite the fact that Winston is not comfortable with the oppression of the government, he is unable to express his dissatisfaction. People in 1984 have been conditioned to fear that even the slightest appearance of dissent may be reported. Winston is therefore isolated, even though he interacts with people at work and through volunteer associations. The irony of his society is that all people are isolated even though each person spends as little time as possible by themselves. No one can is given the opportunity to think or talk for themselves, and instead mindlessly repeat what Big Brother wants them to talk and think about.

Guy also faces isolation and alienation. He works as a fireman; however instead of putting out fires he sets fire to books and houses that contain books. "While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning" (Bradbury, 33). In the world in which Guy lives….....

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