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A Comparison of Fahrenheit 451 and Dover Beach

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Fahrenheit 451 is a well-written book that tells a story of a dream world and one man who wakes up from that dream. Montag, the protagonist of the story, brings home a book of poetry one day and begins to read the poem Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold to his wife and her guests. Many critics think that Bradbury picked this poem because it paralleled life in his book. The poem Dover Beach can be compared to Fahrenheit 451 because both pieces of writing talk about themes of true love, fantasy and allover hopelessness.

One of the ways Fahrenheit 451 can be related to Arnold’s Dover Beach is by connecting the absence

of true love in both of them. Throughout the book, Montag slowly realizes that he does not truly love his wife Mildred. In the beginning, Montag believes that he truly loves Mildred. However, as the book goes on, he meets Clarisse, and begins to change his way of thought. He slowly begins to wake up from the dream world that he is living in. As he begins to know Clarisse, he slowly realizes that Mildred does not share the same deep passion for life that he does. At the beginning of the Sieve and the Sand, Montag frantically reads books to gain more knowledge. Mildred complains and kicks the books around, showing that her and her husband are growing apart. At the end of the book, Montag is talking to Granger, and says "... Even if she dies, I realized a moment ago, I don't think I'll feel sad (155)". This shows that Montag does not care for his wife as much as he thought he did before. In the poem, Arnold states "…a land of dreams ...hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light". The world in Arnold’s poem is a land of dreaming. While people are dreaming of true love and joy, there is none in the real world that you live in once you wake up from the dream. Once the “confused alarms of struggle and flight” wake you up, you realize that the world is really void of love and happiness. The world in Arnold's poem is a world parallel to that of Bradbury's: Both are worlds that do not contain love or light, as much as people in them would like to believe otherwise.

Both Fahrenheit 451 and Dover Beach are pieces of writing that deal with lands of fantasy. The true world that Bradbury lived in while writing Fahrenheit 451 was one of real books that people loved to read, not burn. The world he made up for Fahrenheit 451 was one of fantasy. In it, people are kept happy by being fed nonsense facts that make them feel intellegent. Firemen are there to keep the peace. Beatty even says to Montag "I don't think you realize how important you are, we are, to our happy world as it stands now (62)". He is implying that they, being the firemen, keep the world that they live in happy, because that is the world they are used to being happy in. Their land of nonsense information is their dream world that people live in without thinking of other possibilities for living. The beauty of the real world is masked by the tall buildings of the city, which the firemen keep up to make the people happy. When people are discovered hiding books in their houses, they are letting the light of the real world show through. Outside of the city, the real world really shines through. The gang of men who memorize books is showing that the real world does exist, though it cannot fully be real without the actual books. In the poem Dover Beach, Arnold says "the world, which seems to lie before us like a land of dreams, so various, so beautiful, so new, Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain...". This can be compared to Bradbury's dream world of the city, which is a land of dreams, yet has no real love, joy, or peace. Yet, "we are here as on a darkling plain".

Both Arnold and Bradbury use their writings to talk about the cycles of life and its sadness.

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