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...
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