Manipulation Through Power and Control And Reality Television: Fahrenheit 451 And The Truman Show

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How high authorities used power and control to manipulate Montag and Truman to believe in a false since of reality, and how it relates to modern audiences?

Throughout both, Ray Bradbury’s 1953 novel, ‘Fahrenheit 451’, and the 1998 film ‘The Truman Show’, directed by Peter Weir, there is seen to be strong representations of manipulation through power and control as a main theme. In both stimulus the protagonists are blind to the manipulation placed upon them by high authorities. Truman is manipulated by the media whereas Montag, from ‘Fahrenheit 451’, is manipulated through fear and intimidation. Corresponding to the relevance of these two stimuli to modern audiences, it is evident that television programs like the new and reality tv shows manipulate viewers into believing a false sense of reality. Because of this: the protagonists and modern audiences are ignorant as they’re both manipulated into believing a false concept of reality.

Manipulation is The Truman Show

Truman’s life is a mere lie. His existence is manipulated through the media; the audience contributing to the running of the reality tv show, which is Truman’s life, overall effecting the outcome of his life. From friends, family and strangers, to the sun in the sky, everything in Truman’s life is simulated, except for Truman himself, his genuineness captivating audiences world-wide. Cristof, the director, addresses to the audience that “He (Truman) believed it was true… it was true”. Cristof is referring to the illusionary world he created, with hired actors and massive sets. This “world” created exploits Truman and manipulates him into believing in a false sense of reality. Towards the end of the film, Cristof tells Truman “We accept the reality of the world in which we are set with”. The world when presented with a situation accept the reality of it and continues with life. Truman for the 30-year run of his television show, never questioned his surroundings until ignorance became difficult. The audience and Truman’s ignorance resulted in the manipulation into a false sense of reality form by Cristof.

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Manipulation in Fahrenheit 451

The government uses a lot of tactics to control its citizens in the book Fahrenheit 451. By fear and intimidation, they control them. Through terror and intimidation, the government will get rid of anybody who opposes, or speaks out, the government. The mechanical hound is one mechanism that they use throughout the novel to intimidate society. An ability this hound has is sensing differences throughout the city. Nevertheless, burning every source of information is the primary way the government controls the people; it includes books and magazines. They are burning the books so that people don’t see what life might be like. They also burn books in order to keep people ignorant, so they can’t debate those subjects that can be brought up by reading this knowledge. This government regulation is successful. The protagonist’s wife explains “Books aren’t people. You read and I look around, but there isn’t anybody!” (Bradbury, 1953, p.95). This expresses that she has forgotten the relevance and meaning of books. The Government has successfully manipulated its citizens into believe a false sense of reality, where individuality and the ability of self-opinion is irrelevant in society.

Relevance to Modern Audiences

The theme of manipulation in both the novel ‘Fahrenheit 451’, and film ‘The Truman Show’ is quite relevant for modern audiences. High demand and popularity of reality television shows have captivated more and more viewers over recent years. Shows like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and ‘The Real Housewives of New Jersey’ are drama ridden and elaborate. Often scripted and over the top, these reality television show manipulate the way in which the viewer views reality, creating a portal to escape the reality of their lives. Like ‘The Truman Show’, audiences are contributor to the running of reality television shows. Over 1.3 million people watch weekly episodes of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’. The Kardashians are evidently popular because “The family provides the ultimate rags-to-riches fantasy.” (Shelton, 2019) The fantasy of being wealthy appeals to a majority people. By watch reality tv like ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’, it allows views to altimetry escape into a reality were this could be possible. Reality tv show manipulates their viewer into believing their needs and want are of those in these altered realities. ‘Fahrenheit 451’ and ‘The Truman Show’ possess the same themes of which reality television does, making them relevant to modern audiences


‘The Truman Show’ and “Fahrenheit 451’ display the theme of manipulation through power and control. A false sense of reality in the two stimuli is evident. Truman is manipulated by Cristof as his life is an illusionary world, crafted for the entertainment of other, whereas the Government in “Fahrenheit 451’ use fear and intimidation to manipulate their citizens. Both the film and book are relevant to modern day audiences. Reality tv manipulates viewers into believing a false, extravagant reality.


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