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The concept of bravery can mean many things, to many people. To some, being brave means standing up to injustice and fighting for change, while others being brave means aiding those who are fighting for change for everyone’s well-being. But what most people do not know about bravery is that, they must be brave enough to be the change they want to see in their society and government. If individuals are not changing themselves for the better and are criticizing others for doing the same, they have no right to preach about the need for change. In order to better the future of the greater good, individuals must seek change within themselves before they demand change from their society and government, because everyone needs to be okay with doing what needs to be done for the greater good, fighting temptation, and relying on strangers, to instill these changes.
Nothing comes easy to a leader because they must carry the weight/burden of the hard decisions that have to be made, so the people they are fighting for do not have too. And leaders must be brave enough to stand up and fight for the change they want to see, to ensure the safety of the greater good. The fictional character Clarke Griffin from the book and television series, The 100 by Jason Rothenberg, she too has to continually make difficult decisions that revolve around her people’s safety and she swears she will never let them carry the weight of things that have been done in order to ensure their safety, “I bear it so they don’t have too” (Rothenberg). Although the pressure of having to make the hard decisions is weighing down on Clarke heavily, she would not dare to ask anyone to help her solver her problem because she cares too much for her people. She cares so much about their well-being and mental/emotional state of mind she is willing to completely willing to disregard her own, and that is why Clarke Griffin is a great leader; she is brave enough to tarnish her soul so her people’s will stay pure. When enticing a revolution that will ultimately better the future of everyone (no matter race, sexual orientation, or class), tough calls and hard decisions have to be made (such as deciding who is worth saving, who is dispensable, who’s a liability, etc.). Without someone to take lead and deal with the hardships that come with life, there will be no order and all of humanity will be lost.
Breaking the law and doing things that may seem wrong, but will ultimately make society a better place, should not be seen as crimes. If it ensures the safety and well-being of society and future generations then so be it. Guy Montag (who is also hero that stands up and fights for change) from the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury too has had to do unspeakable things so the people of the future are never harmed by the people he has terminated. Guy killed another character (along with multiple others) named Beatty who tried to stop Guy’s plan to restore books into people’s lives again. Guy killing Beatty can be seen as multiple things: a mercy killing, a vengeful killing, etc., but at the end of the day Montag killed Beatty so he could not hurt anyone else. Beatty, the Hound, and the rest of Guy’s fire-squad (along with his house) all had to go because they signified the old ways of life and Montag could not let them continue to be a reminder of what is keeping them from prospering as a people again, “Beatty, he thought, you’re not a problem now. You always said, don’t face a problem, burn it. Well now I’ve done both” (Bradbury 115). Guy will forever feel guilty about killing everyone and for the “mess” he had made, but he knew what he had done was for the greater good, and needed to be done.
Being true to oneself and morals that have been set is crucial to anyone who is trying to change themselves for the greater good and fight for change. Values keep people grounded and sane, without them there would be no order within society. Individuals may be surrounded by people who are too scared or do not care enough to stand up for what they know is right, but that should not deter the individuals from doing the right thing. When individuals feel something that is going on around them is not right, it is their duty to bring it to other’s attention and try to change things for the better. In the article “Like No One Is Watching” by Beverly Flaxington, she explains what being a good person means and what they do when faced with injustice, even if others are not supportive, “Sometimes doing the right thing may bring about criticism from other people, including those whose perspective matters to you. However, you need to remember that no one else lives your life… At the end of the day, the only person who must deal with your conscience is you alone” (psychologytoday.com). The only person that has to deal with decisions they have made is that said person, so if others do not approve of things that person does should not worry them at all. They have to live their lives for themselves.
Guy also struggles with being true to who he really is and figuring out what he values in life. When he is considering whether or not he should pursue his knowledge and understandings of books it is a key example of values, and what they mean to people. Guy started valuing books [long before the reader was aware of it] even though it was against the law. He knew one day it would be up to him to gather the books he collected over time and find out the meaning of each so he could one day share the knowledge to those who are ignorant as well, “Nobody listens any more. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me. I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read” (Bradbury 78). Guy is pleading with Faber to teach the meaning of books because he knows (deep inside) that there’s something to books that changes them in a way that makes themselves and everyone around them more pleasant. And those are the types changes needed for a prosperous society and government filled with honest people who value integrity.
When people are just driven by temptation and idiotic fixes that ultimately end up harming the individual and everyone around them, there is no structure and people start living dangerous selfish lives. Having integrity is crucial when wanting to demand change to help better society’s lives, because it shows you are in the right state of mind and are in no need of development to help you prepare for the change that is sure to come. If a person does not have integrity, and is shouting for change within their society and government, nothing will ever improve. Improvement will never happen because that person has to be willing to see that change needs to happen within themselves before they can change anything else. Not having values that are important and meaningful sets everyone up for failure, because they have nothing to live for. In the article “What Matters Most In Life?” by Dennis Prager, he explains how people can never change and improve if they do not have anything meaningful to live for, “Almost everything that is wrong with the world comes from people either not having higher moral values, or not living by them, because they feel they want to something else” (prageru.com). When individuals start to realize that what is wrong with the world may (and most likely) stem from them, the world will ultimately be a better place because everyone will be more aware of their actions.
Acts of rage further proves the point that Guy is the perfect person to lead the “rebellion” and demand change for those around him (and himself) because he is not afraid to speak his mind to people he does know. Hereby meaning he deeply cares about setting things straight once and for all, and saving the people of the city from themselves. As Mildred (Montag’s wife) and her friends are watching television and conversing amongst themselves, Guy becomes really aggravated at what he hears. After hearing enough of their ridiculously selfish conversations he decides to speak up and confront the women on how their absurd behavior. Montag calling the women out on their selfish, frivolous actions really connects to the ideas of having morals that people live by every day in order to change the systems of society and the government perfectly. If everyone lived the way they wanted with no morals and no remorse, society and the government would deteriorate immediately. People need structure and rules to live by, to ensure everyone’s morality, safety, and mental assurance,
Go home, Montag fixed his eyes upon her quietly. Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you’ve had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarean sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it? (98).
Guy could no longer hide his distaste of the unconcerned women and really opened their eyes to the reality Guy has been recently introduced to. Every now and then, people need to be reminded of morality and values in order to change both their lives and themselves for the better. Montag needed to hear those women speak and chastise them for their horrible actions, to show him the brutal truth of how life really is for them and to further motivate him to do what needs to be done. He just needs the help of an old, wise, retired English teacher to point him in the right direction (figuratively and literally).
Anonymity is one of the main reasons people talk to strangers. There is a sense of safety that comes with telling secrets to strangers, because in the end the stranger cannot use your secret against you because they do not know you. When individuals turn to strangers to talk about important things that have happened to them or in their lives, it normally means those individuals are too afraid or are unwilling to share what has happened to them to close friends or family members. The individuals may not be able to trust or feel comfortable with those who which they share “intimacy”, so they confide in strangers who are not able to judge them because the stranger does not know the individual personally. Individuals may also need to speak to someone they know will give them good advice. In the article “Why Don’t We Confide in the People Closest to Us? by Bella DePaulo Ph.D, she provides statistics as to why people confide in strangers rather than individuals they are familiar with, “20% of the time, participants said they looked for someone with particular expertise or insight. Those included doctors, therapists, spiritual guides, and personal advisors, including financial advisors” (psychology.com). When speaking freely to someone trustworthy (who is also not going to judge you) can be very liberating. It could be the right amount of motivation and/or inspiration an individual needs to go out and change the world for the better. But no one can change the world on their own; others must be willing to change within themselves as well.
If everyone talked to one another about their issues and had a little faith, they would be able to save themselves from the injustice they are enduring every day. Guy expressing his (and everyone else’s) discontent with life to Faber portrayed a sense of self-discovery that he has never experienced before. He needed someone to sit and listen to all of the despair that has plagued their world, so they can come to some sort of resolution, “We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help” (Bradbury 78). Confessing that the lives they live are not as pleasing as everyone makes them seem is very important to Guy’s development because it shows that he is changing to be the person he needs to be, in order to change everyone else so they can finally start living their lives as well. Seeing the misery that surrounds him is what pushes him to go out and try to change things before it is too late.
Leading individuals relying on those who they rarely know to help aid them in fighting for justice is crucial when trying to fight for change in a community, society and government. This act is crucial because it shows that strangers can come together and fight for the same cause even if they do not know each other, because they know they are fighting for the right thing. In the scholarly journal “Standing Up to Violence” by Craig Sautter, he told the story of young James Darby who asked President Clinton to stop the spread of violence that had plagued his city, a few days before he was killed. Even though James was only nine years old he knew someone had to speak out about the injustice that was going on in his town, which is why his story is so significant to those who also want to make a difference in the world, “I want you to stop the killing in the city… I think someone might kill me. I’m asking you nicely to stop it. I know you can do it” (Phi Delta Kappan). Even though James was unable to save himself from the injustice happening in his town, he was able to save millions that could have been killed later on. After his death, Clinton went on to invest five billion dollars into youth programs that would contribute to the dramatic decline of minor fatalities in his town. James will forever be remembered as a leader who made the ultimate sacrifice to save others in need and conclusively became the changed he wanted to see in the world, just like a character named Clarisse McClellan from Fahrenheit 451.
Small things such as asking questions and simply bringing other’s attention to things that need to be changed can be the right amount of “push” someone needs to start a rebellion or become the change they want to see in their society and government. Clarisse questioned Guy about his life and what it means to him. She interrogating Montag about his job and finally asking him if he was happy with his life is similar to small James’ plea to president Clinton. Clarisse asked about his happiness because she knew that he was not happy with what he was doing and that would open his eyes to seeing the true problem with his line of work and society. Both James and Clarisse pleaded with their “foreign confidants” in hope of change within their worlds, “Then she remembered something and came back to look at him with wonder and curiosity. “’Are you happy?’” she said… Of course I’m happy. What does she think? I’m not? he asked the quiets rooms” (Bradbury 7-8). Clarisse will always be remembered as the person who changed Guy’s heart forever.
Being the one who has to stand against all odds and fight for what is right may not be the easiest thing to do, but things will always get better after the war is won, even if a society has to wait seventy four years for their chance. In the book Mockingjay (third book of The Hunger Games series), Katniss Everdeen decides to become the Mockingjay after she realizes how evil her tyrant (President Snow) is and how much suffering he has caused. When he sent fighter jets to burn a hospital filled with injured war victims that was near Katniss to “send a message”, she knew she needed to officially stand up for her people and demand change, “President Snow says he’s sending a message? Well, I have one for him. You can torture us and bomb us and burn our districts to the ground, but do you see that? Fire is catching! And if we burn, you burn with us!” (Collins 99-100). After realizing President Snow will stop at nothing to prove that everyone within the districts are just little pieces of a game they call life and he is in control, she knows she must fight with all she has to eliminate him so people can live their lives the way they want to live them.
Guy witnessing the woman being treated so poorly and ultimately being left to burn by the firemen when they came to burn her books and house, was essential to him because that was when his hatred and distaste for how they lived life and treated one another developed, “You weren’t there, you didn’t see… There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing” (Bradbury 48). Montag seeing the woman’s devotion to her books really made him question what was so great about them. Never in his life has he seen someone willing to burn for their books and what they believe in, and this just made him all the more curious about the things that have been forbidden for so long. He knew there had to be a misconception about books because no one is willing to burn for something that is not crucially important.
Despite the fact that the entire society lost their freedom to take control of their lives, they seemed quite happy with their mundane lives. Before Guy met and Mildred overdosed, he never even questioned his line of work and way of life. That was because he (along with everyone else) was ignorant to the way things really were. This goes to show that ignorance truly is bliss. If everyone followed the rules and did not think about why things were the way they were, they would have continued being happy. They would have continued living their average American lives by constantly being entertained and occupied. Being oblivious to the bad things that happen in the world keeps individuals happy and focused on their own lives, and how great they are. After all, happiness is the key to living an admirable life.
Realizing that not everything is what it seems within their world (community, society or government) is the first step individuals need to take when trying to better the future of the greater good. When individuals seek change within their “worlds” they must first become the change they want to see in order to demand change from others. No one will support a hypocrite that does not even practice what they preach. Once that is done, it is up to them to then fight the systems to achieve the change that will help better everyone’s future. Anything can fall if there are enough people willing to fight and see it through. They just have to be brave enough to seize the opportunity once it is present.
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