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SohaSafari
ProfessorGriffith
English113BMW11AM
13May2016
ThinkOutsidetheBox
L.FrankBaum,anAmericanauthorstatesregardingknowledge,Nothief,howeverskillful,can
roboneofknowledge,andthatiswhyknowledgeisthebestandsafesttreasuretoacquire
(Baum).Wisdomandknowledgeispartofanindividualsliving,andwhatgivespowertoa
humanbeingthatmakesitdifferentthananyotherlivingorganism.Whenaperson'slivelihood
becomescorruptandmanipulated,thennaturallyitdevelopsintoactingobliviousandunaware.
InthenovelFahrenheit451,thesocietyissetupacertainwaysopeoplehavewhattheyneed
inordertobehappy,andpeoplesmindsdonthaveenoughtimetoprotestandbecurious.Inthe
novelOryxandCrake,thelossofinnocence,whichleadsintothelackofunderstandingand
knowledge,resultsinignorance.InbothnovelsofFahrenheit451byRayBradburyandOryx
andCrakebyMargaretAtwood,theybothexpressthecommonthemeofhowthelackof
wisdomandknowledgewithinasociety,leadsacivilizationtobehaveignorantlybroughtonby
carefulandprecisemanipulation.
WhileFahrenheit451andOryxandCrakesharethesamereoccurringtheme,Fahrenheit
451isaboutafiremanbythenameofGuyMontagwhoburnsbooksinafuturisticsociety.In
Montagsworld,afiremanstartsfires,insteadofputtingthemout.Unfortunately,theciviliansin
thissocietydonothavemeaningfulconversationsorthinkindependentlywithanother.After
becomingfriendswithhisneighborClarisse,hestartstoquestionthesocietyinwhichheis

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livingin.Onanadventure,Montagrunsawayandescapesduetohisinterestandthirstfor
knowledge.ThestoryofOryxandCrake,isalsoafuturisticanddystopiansocietywheregenetic
modificationsandscientificcreationsiswhatthesocietyisbasedupon.Theprotagonistalso
knownasJimmydescribesacatastropheinthenovelthateventuallyeliminatesthewholehuman
race.Thestoryfollowstheadventurethatleaduptothecasualtiesandhowheendsupbeing
unaccompanied.
ThedystopiansocietyofthenovelFahrenheit451portrayshowthelackofknowledgeand
wisdomresultsinusingignoranceasacrutchtogetbythrougheverydaylifewithintheculture.
Thesocietyissetupforpeopletohaveeverythingthattheyneedtoachievehappiness.The
charactersaretoocontentandunconsciousthattheydonotdefinetherules,ratherthenjustgo
beingcontent.Forexampleinthenovel,itwasstatedbyMontag:
Nobodylistensanymore.Ican'ttalktothewallsbecausethey'reyellingatme.Ican'ttalktomy
wife;shelistenstothewalls.IjustwantsomeonetohearwhatIhavetosay.Andmaybe
ifItalklongenough,it'llmakesense.AndIwantyoutoteachmetounderstandwhatI
read(Bradbury125).
Montagistryingtoconveyandillustratethateveryonethroughoutthesocietyhavebeenliving
lifewithablindfold.Allthecitizensseemtobeoblivioustoeverythingaroundthemand
vicariouslylivetheirlifethroughotherpeopleratherthantheirown.Itishardforthemto
questionandseetheworlddifferently,whenonehashavebeenlivingacertainwayforsolong.
ThistextbecomessignificantbecauseitleadsuptotheeventwherethechaseagainstMontag
soonbegins.Faber,whoisanEnglishprofessorinthenovel,givesMontag,imaginaryfeet
regardingknowledgethathewasalwayscrippledupon.Fabergiveshimsomethingthatnothing

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inthesocietycangethim,whichisthegiftofknowledgeandwisdom.Throughoutthestory,
FabertendstobeaguidinglightforMontaginnotonlygainingknowledge,butalsomore
importantlyfindinghimselfasaindividual.
InMargaretAtwoodsOryxandCraketheabsenceofhavingnoguidanceofunderstandingor
knowledge,hadleadtotheoutcomeofthelossofinnocence.Thelossofinnocencehadoccurred
whenthecharacterslifeexperiencesallowedchangetohappenwithintheenvironmentandthe
setting.SomeexamplesthatthelossofinnocenceoccursiswhenJimmydiscoversthedeathof
hismother,andeventhesexualmanipulationofOryx.Jimmysdiscoveringthathermotherhas
passed,tookasignificantimpactonhim.JimmysoonbeginstorealizetheCrakersintentionwith
theBLyssPlusspill,whenOryxsaid,Itwasinthepills.ItwasininthosepillsIwasgiving
away,theonesIwasselling.Itsallthesamecities,Iwentthere.Thosepillsweresupposedto
helppeople(Atwood325).Thisisaturningpointinpartofthestorybecauseitconveyshowhe
isabletoviewandlookathisfriendalotdifferently,becauseoflosinghisignorance,andmost
importantlyhislossofknowledgeandwisdomiswhatdrewintohisfriendsbehavior.
InBradburysnovel,bothknowledgeandignoranceispresentedthroughoutthestoryasa
majorturningpointandhowthateventuallyaffectsthedystopiansocietynegatively.Withina
societythatonlycontributesthefactorofignorance,notonlytheprogressionoftheindividual
butmostimportantlytheadvancementofthecommunitytakesasetbackaswell.Inonepartof
thenovel,itexplainsthesignificanceofknowledgewhichitstates:Mankindbuildsupabody
ofknowledge,explainsGranger,andthenhedestroysitandfallsintoadarkage(Bradbury
159)explaininghowignoranceandalossofknowledgecoulddestroyasociety.Thistext
explainshowpeoplewouldrepeatedlyandcollectivelybewillingtorevoltbecausetheywould

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lackacertainamountofknowledge.Historyinawaywouldrepeatitselfinwhichtheallusion
wouldoccur.Thecharactersthroughoutthestory,whenportrayingignorancecausesthemtofall
intoadarkage(Bradbury159)meaningthattheirlossofknowledgeandwisdomhasaffected
themonamuchmorenegativeconnotation.
InFahrenheit451,itmakesitwelldefinedthatasocietywithoutknowledgeandwisdomis
ignorantandlookedascivilianswithnosenseofdirectionandinitiative.Whenanindividualhas
livedtheirwholelife,acertainlifestyle,andevenwithcertainhabitsitisverydifficulttochange
theirbehaviororeventheirwayofthinkingbecauseofthecomfortonedevelopswhenthey
realizetheyhavebeenactingthesameforsomanyyears.ThisrelatesbacktoFahrenheit451,
becausethesocietywasnotevenawarethattheyhadbeenactingignorantlybecausenoonehad
protestedorcalledoutontheirbehavior,untilnow.Areyouhappy(Bradbury10)isdriving
thedirectionofthenovel.ForMontag,theprotagonistofthestoryhadfirstbeensoignorant
becausehehadnoideawhathewasmissinginhislife.Inawayhehasnoideaandhasno
reasontonotbehappybecausehehadnotknowntherehadbeenmoretolifethanwhathehad
thoughtwas.ThatswhenClarissequestioningMontag,iswhenhisthinkingandmindcapturns
on.Hehadrealizedthatdiscoveringthegiftofknowledgehadhelpedhimfigureoutthathe
wasnthappyatall,whichhadleadhimtomakechangesthroughouthislife.
OryxandCrakelossofinnocencetakesahugeweightonthecharacterslife,becausethatloss
affectstheirlackofunderstandingandwisdomcausedbymanipulationanddeceit.Jimmyhad
beenforcedtowatchavideoofthedeathofhismother.ThiseventaffectsJimmysignificantly
becausehewasnotabletodealwiththeissuesthathewantedtodealwithhismother,beforeshe

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died.ThislossofinnocenceoccurswhenJimmyrealizeswhathappenstohismotherafterher
prolongedabsence.
Theideaofexploitationandmanipulationrelatesbacktothethemeofknowledgeandwisdom
regardingtoFahrenheit451.Inthearticle,WhatCarriedtheTrick?Massexploitationandthe
declineofthoughtinRayBradburybyRafeeqO.McGiveronwhoisalsoanEnglishauthor
states:
Massexploitationbythemediafinallyleadstothedeclineofindividualthought.
Technologyalsoplaysaminorroleindeclineofthought,butamajorinfluenceisfrom
intolerantminoritypressuregroupsthatwanttocensorideas.Themediashapeshuman
interestsbyprojectingpleasurepursuits,butthiscomesfromcateringtorealpublic
desires.Bradbury'snovelremindsoneofthewaningofmoralandintellectual
responsibilitiesinsocietyduetosuchinfluences(McGiveron245).
Thisquotedemonstratethatinthefuturisticsociety,technologybeingoneofthemainfactorsof
existing,hascrippledthesociety,inusingthoughtandknowledgebecauseofthelackofcritical
thinking.Itisanindividualsobligationtohaveknowledgewithinthemselves.Howoneusesthe
knowledgeorwisdom,isuptoonesownchoosing.But,tonotbeawareandobliviousthatwe
arecapableofhavingone,soonstartstoportrayignorantbehavior.
UnlikeinFahrenheit451,OryxandCrakecharactershadbeensomewhatknowledgeablebut
duetothelossofinnocencetheyhadusedmanipulationandpower.Whenanindividualhas
powerandknowledgeoversomeonewhodoesnotacquirethat,thenpowerandmanipulation
unfortunatelyplaysout.Inthearticle,Power,Pain,andManipulationinMargaretsAtwoods
OryxandtheCrakeandTheYearOftheFloodbyKatrinaLabudova,whoisalsoanEnglish

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professor,arguesthatwithknowledgeandinformationcomeswithgreatresponsibility.She
states:Ambiguously,itisnotonlycorporationswhichmanipulatetheknowledge/information
whichrepresentspower.Ashasbeensuggested,mostofAtwoodscharactersarethe
manipulatorsaswellasthemanipulated(Labudova142).Thispassagedemonstrateshoweven
thoughtheremightnothavebeenalackofknowledge,therehadbeenalossofinnocenceand
ignorance.
Toconclude,bothnovelsofFahrenheit451andOryxandCrakeshareandportrayjusthow
dysfunctionalanddisruptiveasocietywouldbecome,onceknowledgeandwisdomwasnot
present,orusedaccordingly.Whenonehasknowledgeandpower,oneisabletounderstandlife
inamuchmoremeaningfulwayratherthanfollowingsocietalinfluencesbyablindfold.Oneis
abletounderstandthat,throughknowledgeoneisabletofindoneselfonamorepersonallevel.
Sometimes,individualstaketheknowledgethatwelearnandacquireforgranted,becauseits
somethingthatwedontnormallyponderabout;itjusthappenstobethere.Justlikethesetwo
novelsbasedonadystopiansociety,onceknowledgeisnotacquired,orusedcorrectly,ittends
todisruptthecommunitynegatively.Intheend,wisdomislikeoxygenforhumanbeingsto
survive,withoutitweareinitiallybraindeadorevenyetdead.

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WorkCited
Atwood,Margaret.OryxandCrake:ANovel.NewYork:AnchorBooks,2004.Print.
Bradbury,Ray,andJosephA.Mugnaini.Fahrenheit451.NewYork:BallantineBooks,1953.
Print.
Labudova,Katarina.Power,Pain,andManipulationinMargaretsAtwoodsOryxand
TheCrakeandTheYearOftheFlood.BrnoStudiesinEnglish.November1:2010.
36.Print.
McGiveron,RafeeqO.WhatCarriedtheTrick?MassExploitationandtheDeclineof
ThoughtinRayBradburysFahrenheit451.Extrapolation,37.3(1996):245256.

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