In the novel Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, the psychological manipulation of the resentment of time-consuming things that people living in the society is held to believe creates a moral conflict between Guy Montag and the people around him. In the society Guy lives in, the fire department does not put out fires; they start them. They are all believers of the idea that reading is a waste of time and all books should be burned to save everyone time. In the society everyone speeds when driving because going the speed limit takes too long.
They also endlessly watch television and most of the time have a little radio in their ear. After Guy meets a 17-year-old girl, Clarisse, he realizes that society’s morals are wrong. She teaches him that there is a lot you can take from meaningful conversations and also books. Guy is a fireman, so his new morals lead him to steal books he is supposed to burn and read them, going against the morals of everyone else.
He also begins to mentally challenge the idea of things like speeding rather than driving at the speed limit because Clarisse was killed by a speeding car. The psychological manipulation that goes on in the novel impacts the meaning of the whole storyline by bringing the flaw of manipulation in the real world into a new light. It shows how people’s minds are easily influenced by what the bigger majority of the people are told to believe. The storyline of the novel is in a parallel universe where social norms are backwards.
The mind manipulation is essentially the same, just with different norms.
In A Separate Peace, by John Knowles, the main character, Gene Forrester, makes a major realization that changes the way he looks at things throughout the story. In the beginning of the novel, he and his friend, Finny, are written to have a competitive relationship. They compete in swimming games, and then in a tree-jumping game. Gene has built up so much rivalry between himself and Finny that it begins to cloud his vision, that is, until he sees through it and realizes that Finny wants Gene to succeed. It impacts how Gene sees his and Finny’s relationship throughout the rest of the story. When they compete in jumping off the tree into the river, Gene makes this realization and is stunned by how inconsiderate he has been. They are on the tree branch, and Finny is about to jump off, but Gene, overtaken by this new light, begins to shake the branch, and Finny falls and breaks his leg. Everyone thinks it is an accident and no one is to blame, but Gene knows it was his own ignorant ways that caused this trauma that ends Finny’s ability to do athletic activity any longer. He tries to make it up to Finny by trying to be a better friend who only wants the best for Finny, not for his own triumph. Later in the story, Finny falls and breaks his leg once again, but this time the surgery killed him. Gene then remembers how Finny only had his best interest at heart, and that was the immunity to the “plague” Gene once had in his heart.
In the novel Night, by Elie Wiesel, the author tells the story of how he survived Auschwitz. Throughout his memoir, he sinks his purpose into the text. His purpose is how important family is and how important family should be, because you never know what can happen. He tells about how his father’s dying words were pleading Eliezer (the author and narrator) for water. “An officer passed between the bunks. My father was pleading: ‘My son, w a t e r … I ‘ m burning up … M y insides …’ ‘Silence over there!’ barked the officer. ‘Eliezer,’ continued my father, ‘w a t e r …’ The officer came closer and shouted to him to be silent. But my father did not hear. He continued to call me. The officer wielded his club and dealt him a violent blow to the head. I didn’t move. I was afraid, my body was afraid of another blow, this time to my head. My father groaned once more, I heard: ‘Eliezer… I could see that he was still breathing—in gasps. I didn’t move.
I REMAINED IN BUCHENWALD until April 11. I shall not describe my life during that period. It no longer mattered. Since my father’s death, nothing mattered to me anymore. I was transferred to the children’s block, where there were six hundred of us. The Front was coming closer. I spent my days in total idleness. With only one desire: to eat. I no longer thought of my father, or my mother. From time to time, I would dream. But only about soup, an extra ration of soup. ON APRIL 5, the wheel of history turned. It was late afternoon. We were standing inside the block, waiting for an SS to come and count us. He was late. Such lateness was unprecedented in the history of Buchenwald. Something must have happened. Two hours later, the loudspeakers transmitted an order from the camp Kommandant: all Jews were to gather in the Appelplatz. When I came down from my bunk after roll call, I could see his lips trembling; he was murmuring something. I remained more than an hour leaning over him, looking at him, etching his bloody, broken face into my mind” (Wiesel page 111).
His father was brutally beat to death by Nazi soldiers because he was so sick, he became delusional and kept asking his son for water when he was told not to. This is the underlying purpose of the novel, for he lost his family when they were taken from his house, and then brutally lost his last family member right before his eyes. Wiesel underlyingly stresses the importance of family and the fear of not knowing what the future may hold. Regarding the real world, this purpose shows how family and close people to one are taken for granted but should not be. He lost his father in an instant, which is engraved in his mind now for the rest of his life. People get too used to things being one way, that they never anticipate what could happen, as did Eliezer up until his family was split up. As long as someone is loved, he should be loved like it’s the last chance to love him, for no one knows what the future holds.