Date of Award

2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Department

English

First Advisor

Jeffers, Jennifer

Subject Headings

Bradbury, Ray, 1920- Baudrillard, Jean, 1929-2007, Fahrenheit 451, Simulation, Reality television programs, Broadcast journalism, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, Jean Baudrillard, Reality TV, News, Hyperreality, Simulacra, Simulation, America, Television

Abstract

Fahrenheit 451 is acknowledged by many theorists as one of the most symbolic dystopias of the twentieth century, and although the novel has been analyzed extensively with a focus on the influence of mass communication, no study has addressed the hyperreal factors of television in Bradbury's world. Bradbury has expressed his concern about the influence television has on the masses, not only in his fictional dystopia, but in American society today. Television's capability of mass-producing simulacra promotes hyperreality, which results in a distortion of meaning and implosion of reality. This study will use Jean Baudrillard's theory of hyperreality as a frame to examine the influence television has on the world of Fahrenheit 451 and compare it to television's influence in post-modern America, specifically the post-9/11 era. It will address the medium of entertainment, primarily reality TV, to examine how television is used to distort meaning in human relationships, spirituality, and history in both societies. It will also examine how media corporations have taken on many qualities of entertainment programs. The study will also include an analysis of how television has influenced the social and political factors in both societies, and entertain Baudrillard's claim that America can go beyond the imaginary of science fictions novels like Fahrenheit 451

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