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Loneliness and solitude. Two words that appear to be similar but are very much different. Solitude is when someone is comfortable with being alone, while loneliness is wanting to have company but is somehow unable to. When looking at Guy Montag’s and Leonard Mead’s case, both are seen as abnormal since they have a different opinion on the value of life compared to the majority of their society. They believe that there was more to life than televisions and radios 24/7 as entertainment. This type of mindset not only isolated them from their people but also put their lives in jeopardy. In Fahrenheit 451 and The Pedestrian, both main characters, although amicable, experience a sense of feeling where they are being excluded because their society is too invested in all the new and glorious technology while they are curious for what the world has to offer them; therefore, Montag and the Mead shares the mutual feeling of loneliness.
Foremost, Montag starts off in the story feeling fulfill; extolling his job and loving his daily routine. He has no issue with how his life was going—he has no problems whatsoever. It is not until he encounters Clarisse that he finds himself questioning all sorts of things. From the “love” between him and his wife to the books burning, Montag has a need to find out why are things the way they are. During this journey, there are multiple times when Montag finds himself lost with no answers. Such a moment can be distinguish when he asks Mildred, his wife if she can recall how they had originally stumble upon each other. With bland answers of “I don’t know” and “It doesn’t matter” (P40), Montag comes to the scary thought that their love may have never been real. Soon enough, his downfall begins. Due to his sudden passion for books, he loses his wife as she betrays him, his captain as Beatty becomes his adversary and his status as he turns into a criminal by law. All in all, Montag finds himself transitioning to the point where books mesmerize him so much that he loses sight of who he is, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
Secondly, for Mr. Leonard Mead, he was also different, per say. He occasionally goes on night walks with no soul that can be seen on the streets. This is quite maddening since the city he lives in has a population of about three million citizens. Not catching a glimpse of even one single soul really shows the readers just how attached the people in his society are to their newly, developed technology. This observation is proven to be true when according to Mead, every house but his has their lights turn off. The only lights that are present through the dimly lit houses are the ones radiating off from their televisions’ screen. As he continues his nightly walk, an officer stops him to ask him a couple of questions regarding his personal life. One particular question stands out from the rest, and that is “Are you married, Mr. Mead?” (Para 17). At first glance, it may come across as a simple question, however, if the world he lives in is taken into consideration, it makes sense to interpret marriage as a way to continue the human race rather than a relationship filled with affection and communication. In brief, Leonard is seemingly the only one in his society to acknowledge the lack of human interactions; something that sets him apart from the rest.
One similar aspect from both stories is how they are both set in the far future with the main character having a set of perspectives that contrasts with the rest of their society. In Fahrenheit 451, apart from Clarisse and Fabien, there is no one else who supports or encourages Montag’s need to find the importance within books. That results in Montag being unhappy with his job and his lifestyle. The society did not help much either as there is a need to be “perfect”. If one were to defy the laws then they shall be outcasted, with no questions asked. As for The Pedestrian, Leonard feels a sense of discomfort as nothing interesting ever happens considering everyone chooses to lock themselves in their house to have a screen dictate their life. That pressure him to hide in the “dark”, so to relieve himself from that tragedy, he decides to frequently take strolls outside to make his life somewhat worthwhile. Both stories connect through the fact that the people who are in power clearly does not want the public to question things or do anything outside of the box that can eventually lead them to use critical thinking.
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