by Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 Theme of Dissatisfaction
In the world of Fahrenheit 451, everybody seems to be happy. Sort of. They watch TV all day, they’re never forced to face anything unpleasant, and they’re never truly bothered by anything. Sound like paradise? We hate to break it to you, but it's not.
Most everyone in the story is horribly dissatisfied—it’s just that no one is willing to admit it. Why else would Mildred try to overdose on all those pills? The deep ennui that runs through the population is subdued by mindless activity and an insistence on happiness, both on the part of the government and the citizens themselves.
Questions About Dissatisfaction
- Are characters like Mildred are her girlfriends content? Are they happy? What’s the difference?
- Montag yells at Mildred for having never been really bothered by anything. Is that a bad thing? Why or why not?
- After Montag talks with Clarisse, he claims that his mask of happiness has been lifted. Does this mean he was never really happy in the first place, or that Clarisse took his happiness away?
Chew on This
Beatty is the only character who is both aware and satisfied in Fahrenheit 451.