I have just finished reading a book by Ray Bradbury called Fahrenheit 451. It really made me think about the true meaning of freedom and censorship. In the book, Montag says to his wife, Mildred, “We need not to be left alone. We need to be really bothered once in awhile.” I chose to write an essay on this quote because it really reflects what the whole book is about, being bothered. Ironically, I was bothered by this quote in a good way. I’m now going to share with you some of my thoughts on that quote and it’s significance to the novel.
When Montag tells Mildred that they need to be bothered once in awhile, I think he is trying to plead with her to really be bothered by something and convince her that being bothered can also be a good thing. In their society, being bothered and thinking is technically considered a crime because thinking allows diversity and can cause people to feel inferior to others. That is why books are illegal. They cause you to be bothered and have a diverse opinion about something.
In reality, deep down, Mildred is very bothered by the life she has come to live. All day, she sits in front of the television and talks to “the family” which isn’t even real. Her life offers no substance and it bothers her, but she can’t really put it into words. Mildred and Montag both realize that their society has no substance and it bothers them, but they have two different ways of showing it. Montag shows that he is bothered by reading books and trying to find substance in his life. Mildred shows that she is bothered by attempting to commit suicide and denying it the next day.
When Montag tells Mildred that they shouldn’t be left alone and not have to think, she believes him, but doesn’t know how to voice her opinion because she believes that she doesn’t have one or need one. That is really what Fahrenheit 451 is about, being bothered and really stopping to think about something. In a way, that quote summarizes the book in one sentence and shows that people need to be bothered by something once in awhile. What is life if you don’t live with substance?