The following is my hastily written English II Honors essay comparing The Matrix and Fahrenheit 451.
I'm a Sophomore, spare my brittle soul.
If I use Everything as an academic instituion, do I pay tuition?


In the book and movie, the ruling bodies as they are control human society to different ends but with similar means.

In The Matrix, the computers control the human populace by controlling the world in which they live. They do not appear to care for the happiness of human kind, only that our bodies function as sources of power. They claim to have tried to make all humans happy in the first version of The Matrix, but the human mind would not accept a perfect world and cease to function, therefore killing the body. They have therefore made human happiness a non-issue. In Fahrenheit 451, the sole purpose of the governments many injustices are to increase human happiness. They do this not through physical control of the world in which people live, but through control of all information that people receive. The government provides or filters all information that the populace receives, and books are outright banned as a medium. This is logically because transmitted information such as video transmissions are much easier to scrutinize and control then stored information such as books or magazines.

In The Matrix, humans are an easy commodity as they are grown en masse, and are therefore easily expendable. Agents kill or take over the minds of Matrix inhabitants in order to perform tasks such as tracking down dissenting factions who wish to destroy The Matrix. In Fahrenheit, firefighters and police may kill a single or small group of persons in order to preserve their concept of happiness in the populace as a whole. This may be because the victim is a rebel, or simply because a scapegoat was needed. In The Matrix the computers do it for their own good, they simply want the electrical power and physical heat. In Fahrenheit it is being done for the people, successfully or not.

In both systems, there is the Overseeing body, which knows the full truth. In The Matrix this is not an issue. But in Fahrenheit, it is a fatal flaw in the ideology, as the concept is only to let people have “happy” information. But the Overseers have all the information, so are therefore unhappy, which means the system has failed its purpose of making everybody happy. But maybe the Overseers have decided to make that sacrifice, if it is a sacrifice, and lose their ignorance. If the Overseers are human, which they most probably are, then they must be recruited at some point when an old one dies. To be recruited, won’t they have to be told what their job will be? And to tell them what their job will be, wont they have to be exposed to “bad” information? And if they decide they don’t want to be Overseers, then what? Let them go back to society unhappy?

In both systems, the people are unhappy. In The Matrix, the computers have introduced much suffering to the world, as they believe it is totally necessary to a “healthy” human mind. In Fahrenheit, the people believe they are happy. All the news they get is good news; all the material things they worry about are when they can afford the next big entertainment item. But they are not really happy. Suffering is hopefully not a requisite to human existence, but maybe the people know they are not being told all. Maybe they know they are living a lie, and that they cannot escape alone, and that they have no leadership to organize them. Maybe they know that there is huge suffering in the world, and that they are part of it.

People are unhappy due to the system, yet they still defend it, as it is all they know and therefore deeply rooted in their sense of priority. The police in The Matrix may not be happy, but the computers have made the rebels who enter The Matrix fugitives, so the police attempt to capture them simply because it is their job. In Fahrenheit people are not happy, but they still call to Fire Department hotline to report people, or come out to watch books burned. But in both places, the people are not aware they are being controlled, so cannot be blamed for supporting the system. In both systems, the Overseers have scapegoats for unhappiness. In The Matrix it is the rebels, in Fahrenheit it is those who keep and publish books. Both are quite convenient and easy to implement for the Overseers, as those who oppose them have no means to spread their information widely.

The Matrix and Fahrenheit 451 both show very different totalitarian worlds that share common traits. I do not think a world as described in Fahrenheit would ever come to be, not even in an isolated place on a small scale. The populace would rebel or escape before it could be fully implemented. I also doubt that The Matrix could ever exist, as the robots couldn’t possibly capture all humans and put them in The Matrix at the same time. If they could have they would simply have killed all the humans before they scorched the atmosphere. And if they couldn’t and it was a gradual assimilation of all humans, I believe that humans would have seen it coming, and made a last stand rather than end up in The Matrix.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.