GINS & The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Is there a similar document for the nation in which your issue occurs?
- If so, what rights and freedoms are guaranteed in the document?
- If not, why do you think this is the case? Have there been any attempts to remedy this?
- How might the issue be different if the Canadian Charter were applied?
- Be specific! Which sections would be relevant?
My take on the possible document similar to the Charter in Fahrenheit 451
(I will only thoroughly discuss the most relevant which is mostly fundamental freedoms and partially equality rights and democratic rights.)
Because my book is fictional and is not set in a specified country or time, I decided to take a spin on this assignment and instead of discussing a specified document that contains the rights and freedoms guaranteed, I will be comparing the society to the Canadian charter to try and discover what their founding document could possibly look like.
Throughout the book we hear of this mysterious Constitution, nothing is really said about its specifics but this quote from the book provides insight to its core values:
“No one is born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against!” (Beatty, page 55-56. Bradbury, Ray)
In Canada, we have fundamental freedoms, all of which are not evident throughout the novel. Some of the fundamental freedoms in the charter that are most contradictory with the society in the novel include:
· - Freedom of thought/expression.
Sure the shallow and facile gossip droned by the citizens is expressing their opinion, but is that really freedom? Since you are born, you are raised not by your parents, but by your school. The government raises you to be two-dimensional, without depth or understanding of the world around you, and sucks out your inherent human trait of curiosity. Their thoughts are not their own, but fabricated for them to be “happy” and muted citizens.
- Freedom of the press as well as other media communication.
Of course, as evident by book burning, this is lost in the governments need of control. This quote from the novel explains why they use this form of oppression:
“Coloured people don’t like Little Black Sambo? Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin? Burn it. Someone’s written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book. …. Burn all burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.” (page 57. Bradbury, Ray)
The government equates knowledge with unrest and ignorance with bliss- literally. When Mildred is in the hospital recovering from her attempted suicide, they give her drugs to forget she was unhappy, and she ends up not remembering she ever tried to kill herself. Using methods like this to manipulate people, I’m sure their Constitution says the polar opposite of this fundamental freedom.
The absence of these freedoms makes for a very constricting and dictatorship-like society. Conventions such as books being an illegal commodity or eliminating expressive/open-minded members of society such as Clarisse are evidence that this is by far a government oriented (or planned) society.
“She [Clarisse] didn’t want to know how things were done, but why.” (page 57. Bradbury, Ray)
This demonization and eradication of inquiring and curious people led to the death of creativity and individuality.
Throughout the book, it is obvious that the government prioritizes this over any other rights or even freedoms. The main points from the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is applicable to the society Bradbury brought to life:
- · Everyone has the right to be free of discrimination because of race, national or ethnic origin, religion, gender, age, or mental/physical disability.
- · Every individual is equal under state of law regardless of factors such as ethnicity, language, gender, or religion.
Guy Montag consistently muses about the similarities between everyone. No evidence is shown to suggest that financial inequity or discrimination based on gender, race, or age, ext.
Little about this is discussed in the book, but there is discussion on politics, which gave insight to the societies/government’s stance on the extent of democratic rights. The online charter mainly prescribes democratic rights as having a right to vote as well as being able to appoint a new government every 5 years by election. By using evidence from the novel, it think it’s fair to insinuate that they have a similar system in place (see following quote):
“I voted last election, same as everyone, and I laid it on the line for President Noble. I think he’s one of the nicest looking men who ever became president.” (page 93. Bradbury, Ray).
Would my novel’s issue be different if the Canadian Charter was used in this society?
Yes. Concerning areas of the document such as equality and democratic rights, it would probably be quite similar but the big difference would come from introducing the fundamental freedoms. Because the people had little to none of the fundamental freedoms included in the Canadian charter, this would produce drastic changes. Without the limitations on what you could and could not express, people would have the freedom to think and do as they want (as long as it did not breach the charter). The freedom of the press and other media communications would introduce the spreading of knowledge and ideas, creating a more inquisitive people. To need think for yourself or to share inquiring ideas is a trait human’s carry with them, and the issue sprouted from denying that trait from being free.