As materialism, political correctness, and the pursuit of equality grows in contemporary America, authors satirize this trend through tales of a grim future of an American society. In these societies the government forces strip all individuality, intelligence, and competition in life. Two works of literature that support this idea are Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, and "Harrison Bergeron," by Kurt Vonnegut. These authors make use of literary elements, such as characterization, theme, and plot, and techniques, such as symbolism, paradox, irony, simile, and allusion to convey their ideas.
The plot of Fahrenheit 451 deals with a dystopia in which censorship is a prominent theme. In this futuristic society Bradbury portrays, our protagonist, Guy Montag, is a fireman who now burns books for the government in order to end the accumulation of any knowledge in the society. Montag's boss, Captain Beatty, attempts to convince Montag he is doing the right thing in burning books and stripping society from this knowledge: .
"Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally "bright," did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn't it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike." (58).
Bradbury uses this imagery to prove his idea of forced equality in American society. Furthermore, through Captain Beatty, Bradbury uses a simile to enforce the idea of the danger of knowledge: ""A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon"" (58). Mildred and her friends become obsessed with their only link to news and entertainment. This is a large television screen on the wall where broadcasts are continually transmitted to the "family". All of the people are members of the "family". Despite the fact they are not forced to watch the family, they all do.