Wednesday, 8 January 2014

GINS vs. The Canadian Charter


GINS & The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Guiding Questions: 
  • 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)

Fundamental Freedoms

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.

Equality Rights

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.

Democratic Rights

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.

4 comments:

  1. Meagan, this post is so deep! You did an excellent job with the information that you had and made some very insightful connections. In Fahrenheit 451, why do you think the government became as controlling as it did? What might've spurred this change?? Also, can you make any connections from the fictional government in this novel to any places around the world? Great job with this post!

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  2. Meagan, I really think you considered everything throughout this post and even posted the guiding questions at the top to help out the reader! I thought you really tried to connect what you found to the book and I think you did a very good job of it. I also had the same question as Danika, could you relate the government in the book to any places or governments around the world? The last thing I wanted to say is I really liked how you made the whole post flow well while still answering all the questions, great job!

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  3. Meagan, I really enjoyed reading over your posts, and its really good! It makes me wish that I had picked you book since you make it sound so interesting. I thought you did awesome making all these posts and doing all the assignments, considering that the setting was made up. One thing I thought that was really creative was how you tried to create your own charter for this place in the book, since there wasn't actually a real charter for it, and you did a great job. I really don't have any questions about this, but great job!

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  4. Hey Meagan.
    I quite enjoyed how you explained how each of the individual rights and how they connect to your novel and created your own spin on it. Adding the guiding questions was a good idea, which made it easier ti understand what the post was about. My only piece of advice for you would be to maybe talk about the government a bit more, but it was really good, along with the rest of your posts.

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