In Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury, authority is viewed as ruthless and the individual is portrayed as innocent. This is also emphasised in two related texts, Whose Life Is It Anyway? By Brian Clark, and Shawshank Redemption, directed by Frank Darabont. The themes of ruthlessness and innocence are exemplified throughout all three texts, through the concept of the authority and the individual. In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, authority is depicted as ruthless. This is shown throughout the novel through the character of Montag and through the use of symbolism, oxymoron, repetition and imagery. It was a pleasure to burn” this quote is an oxymoron and it portrays Montag’s sadistic perspective as he enjoys something that is destructive. Bradbury uses symbolism to discuss the ruthlessness of authority, by using Montag as a symbol of authority. This is shown through the numbers 451 illustrated on Montag’s helmet. The number 451 symbolises the temperature at which paper catches fire and burns. Ruthlessness is also shown through repetition. “To see things blackened” and “turned dark with burning”. These sentences portray how the colour black is repeated throughout the text.
Imagery is also used in the text to highlight the ruthlessness of authority. Montag’s “fierce grin of all men signed and driven back by flame” signifies Montag as an authority figure. Therefore, authority is discussed as ruthless in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, using characterisation, themes and various language techniques. Brian Clark’s Whose Life Is It Anyway? Conveys authority figures are ruthless. This is portrayed through Dr. Emerson’s ruthless behaviour. The title Whose Life Is It Anyway? is a rhetorical question that directs the reader’s attention to the issue of ruthlessness.
It forces the reader to stop and question who is exercising the rights of power and authority, through being ruthless. A sense of ambivalence is created as the audience questions the connotations associated with mortality rights. “Dr, I didn’t give you permission to stick that needle in me, why did you do it? ” this shows how ruthless authority is by doing what they wish is right for themselves without listening or taking any patients opinions. Clark uses an allegory to discuss the ruthlessness of authority, by using Dr. Emerson as a symbol of authority. This is shown through the quote “gods are walking” and “how was it in Olympus? this shows how Ken portrays authority as god like figures. Clark also uses jargon. This is shown throughout the play. This shows and highlights their experience. Thus, authority is discussed as ruthless in Clark’s Whose Life Is It Anyway? Similarly, to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, using rhetorical questions, characterisation, themes, metaphors and the use of jargon. In Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption, authority figures are portrayed as ruthless. This is shown through the Warden and Hadley’s oppressive behaviour towards the prisoners. In the first scenes of Andy at Shawshank prison, Warden Norton informs the new prisoners of his rules.
The first rule that he states is “no blasphemy”. This proves to be ironic as Norton himself blasphemies against everything he comes into contact with. He uses his position of power to corrupt the prison system in order to benefit himself. Norton uses Andy to launder money that has been earned through shady deals. Norton is responsible for the deaths or the cover ups of several of his inmates, such as Tommy Williams. He believes in ruling with a hand. The guards are allowed to beat the prisoners if they feel it were necessary. Likewise in Whose Life Is It Anyway? The doctors are allowed to treat their patients however they like.
Norton also uses the use of solitary confinement to punish his prisoners. He places Andy in the “hole” for two months after Andy calls him “obtuse” for not helping Andy fight for a retrial, and then the mentioning of the laundering business. The symbolism of the bible is also used in Shawshank Redemption to symbolise Norton, yet he foes not believe in its ways. This can be compared to Fahrenheit 451, where the bible is known to be a symbol of knowledge. Hence it is evident, that authority figures are ruthless in Shawshank Redemption. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, conveys the individuals as innocent.
This is exemplified through symbolism. White is repeated to describe Faber, “he and the plaster walls… there was white in flesh… and his hair was white” this shows that Faber is pure and innocent. Bradbury also uses personification, “her dress was white and it whispered”. This shows the purity of Clarisse. Metaphor is used to describe the innocence of Clarisse, “her face was fragile milk crystals with a soft and contrast light into it”. This is in contrast to the destructive nature of authority. Therefore, symbolism, personification and metaphors, lead to the individuals innocence which eventually leads them as conformists. Sea shells” is an example of metaphor for propaganda. Bradbury also uses dialogue to convey this theme to the reader, when he shows Mildred he has no education and has a weak expression. This also conveys the effect that censorship can have on an individual. Bradbury also uses symbolism through the snake. It is symbolic of evil deeds spitting venomous. Therefore, through metaphors, dialogue, symbolism, personification and metaphors, it is evident that individuals are seen as innocent in the text. The issue of innocence of the individuals is also portrayed through Clark’s Whose Life Is It Anyway?
The innocence of the characters is shown through the characters of Ken and Nurse Kay Sadler. Their innocence is shown through their vulnerability. Institutionally, Ken is vulnerable on many levels. He is vulnerable because of his patient status as a quadriplegic. His views on euthanasia are politically redundant and his values and opinions are rejected by the status quo. This is also shown in Fahrenheit 451, as the opinions of the people in the community aren’t regarded and also in Shawshank Redemption, as the opinions of the prisoners are also rejected by the prison guards. … People can and want to understand what’s wrong with them and many of them can make decisions about their own lives…” this is quoted by Ken through emotional language by him expressing his point of view and explaining what is the purpose of the doctors as authority figures. Ken is a very big character that highlights this theme in a great way. “… If you were human, if you were treating me as a human, you’d tell me to bugger off…” this shows how innocent and weak Ken is as an individual. How the authorities treat him as such an inferior and different is shown through this quote.
Thus, the concept of innocent is shown through the text. In Frank Darabont’s Shawshank Redemption, the prisoners are thought to be innocent. Andy, Brooks, Red and all the other prisoners all symbolise innocence. Andy’s innocence is highlighted through natural light as it helps us look at him in a good manner. He is always seen in light to symbolise he is a good person. The bible is symbolic of Andy and he uses it as a cover up. The chess set that he carved symbolises Andy’s refined nature as he makes it himself out of rocks. It also symbolises his patience. The library shows his intelligence, the books represent him.
In Fahrenheit 451, the books also represent Clarisse. We never see Brooks outside with the rest of the prisoners during the day until he is actually set for parole. This shows how the immense institutionalism has got to his innocence. Although Red is the authority within the prisoners, he is also an individual with the prison guards. He plays the harmonica; this represents his soft hearted nature. Red doesn’t believe in hope “… Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane…” this shows how Red has come to depend on the walls of the prison to survive. Red has been in the prison long enough and has given up on hope.
Hence, the individuals are depicted as innocent in Shawshank Redemption. In conclusion, in all three texts, authority is viewed as ruthless, whereas, the individuals, on the other hand, are viewed as innocent. In Fahrenheit 451, Whose Life Is It Anyway? and Shawshank Redemption, characterisation and various language techniques have been used to emphasise the ruthlessness of authority, as well, as the innocence of individuality. Consequently, it is apparent that the concept of ruthlessness and innocence is depicted in all three texts through authority and the individual.