Imagine walking into a room and being surrounded by televisions on all four walls. You look to the left as a train approaches and watches as it passes you from one side of the room to the other. This is the type of entertainment available to the people in Fahrenheit 451. The society in that book is more similar to our society than the time that Bradbury wrote the book.
Apparently, the most obvious similarity is the technology. Mildred, Montag's wife, always had both ears plugged with "electronic bees" that communicated with her constantly (18). This technology is strikingly similar to our common day portable CD players. Everywhere you go, you find people that walk around with Discmans in their ears, oblivious to everything going on around them. Another similar technology is the wall TV's (19). The way that people mindlessly sit in their parlors watching their wall TV's, the same way people today will sit in front of their large screen televisions, entertainment centers, satellite systems, DVD's, and computers.
Another way that the society in Fahrenheit 451 is more similar to ours is the way that the books are cut short into a cheaper version. Beatty explains how "classics are cut to fit fifteen minute radio shows" (54). This is similar to us today because most people would rather see the news on television than actually read it. During Bradbury's time, most people would get up in the morning to read the paper. Also, books are literally cut shorter (54). This applies to us because many students would rather go online and get notes on a certain book than actually read it. Let's not forget Reader's Digest, which is basically a cut down version of popular literature.
Definitely, the people themselves in the book are more like us today than the people in the fifties. One sad example is the way the children kill each other. Clarisse said how "she was afraid of children her own age. They kill each other" (30). During the past couple of years have children been going into their schools and gunning down their fellow classmates, Columbine being one well-known example. Who would of heard of such a thing during Bradbury's time? Never would have Bradbury thought that such a thing would actually happen. Another way the people are more like us is the way life is more distracting. Beatty again explains how "life is immediate, the job counts, and pleasure lies after work" (55). This is like us because our world is very fast paced and immediate. Life for us is pleasure after work; getting the job done so we can go to that one party or sit at home. The fifties was a slower time, a time to reflect and think about things. They didn't have all the distractions that we did, such as computers and other technology. There sometimes seems to be so much on peoples' schedules these days that it seems overwhelming.
Bradbury presents a very interesting foreshadowing of the future in Fahrenheit 451. I call it a foreshadowing because his portrayal of the world seems similar to ours in so many ways. It is very true that people these days would rather watch the news than actually read it and use some cheap notes than reading a book for a class. The technology is also similar. I wonder if Bradbury really thought that people would actually have portable CD players and huge TV's. These are just some of the reasons that his book has a bigger impact on us today than ever before.