Science and Technology in Novels
Attitudes on Science and Technology in Novels Three novels that were written in three completely different times all were able to contribute to different views and attitudes towards science and technology. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr.
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Hyde, The Time Machine, and Fahrenheit 451 are all accurate portrayals of the effect that science and technology have had on this world even as far back as 1886 when The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde was first published.
Although each book was written for different purposes and in different times, they all had mainly positive attitudes that were able to portray what the author thought science and technology would be like as the future progressed. In The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, it seemed that Robert Louis Stevenson had a positive attitude with a negative twist towards science and technological advances throughout the book. This book is ultimately about a scientific potion that affects a man, Dr. Jekyll.
By having a positive attitude with a negative twist, it is meant that it showing advances in science, but it has negative consequences. Although this book was written so long before our time, the emotions towards scientific advances were there. On page 62 of this book in Dr. Jekyll’s statement of the case, he states that “From an early date, even before the course of my scientific discoveries had begun to suggest the most naked possibility of such a miracle, I had learned to dwell with pleasure, as a beloved daydream, on the thought of the separation of these elements.
If each, I told myself, could be house in separate identities, life would be relieved of all that was unbearable. ” Dr. Jekyll shows that he “dwelled” with pleasure, which signifies a neutral type of attitude that the author portrays. The positivity of the science of his potion was that he was able to do something that no one else had. The negativity was the consequences of the evil in Mr. Hyde and the suicide that ended it all. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells had both the aspect of science and technology. H.
G. Wells had a very positive attitude, seeing as this book was solely about time traveling and being able to find the scientific needs to build a time machine. A quote on page 43 of this book stated” To sit among all those unknown things before a puzzle like that is hopeless. That way lies monomania. Face this world. Learn its ways, watch it, be careful of too hasty guesses at its meaning. In the end you will find clues to it all. ” This quote clearly shows a positive attitude towards science and technology.
The time traveler is in an unknown place and therefore, feels hopeless, but he knows that there will be identifiers on how to proceed. The time traveler uses his needs of technology and science, but knows that there is more to the future world of Eloi than just those aspects because they get along very well without everything being scientific and technological. Fahrenheit 451 is set in the twenty-fourth century, which would be in the year 2300. Throughout Fahrenheit 451 there are references to technology and science that seem rather odd to us living in the twenty-first century.
If this twenty-fourth century world was compared to the twenty-first century of today, they would be considered antonymous to each other. Firefighters in our time do just as their name says, they fight fires. Watching television does not replace our families and learning about history is crucial to our lives. In Guy Montag’s world, this is all considered defiant. The one similarity between our two worlds is that of technology. The technology is very different than that of ours, but there is technology, and that is one thing that cannot be compared to the past.
Ray Bradbury seems to use technology as a scape goat for his characters so that they are not drawn to books and to create an image of what life would be like without books or history. This gears his attitude in a more positive perspective towards technology. His use of “parlor walls” was a way for his characters to disengage from reality and to do and be whoever they wanted to be. Parlor walls were used as a whole room and basically an interactive television set where you could put yourself in the scene.
While reading this book, one might say that Bradbury was trying to show the role that books play in reality thus far and that without them, our lives would only involve technology and less knowledge and social instances. In Fahrenheit 451 on page 63, there is a conversation about the statement that books aren’t real and the role of the parlor walls. This conversation occurs between the main character, Guy Montag, and Professor Faber, who believes in the necessities that books give. “It becomes and is the truth. Books can be beaten down with reason.
But with all my knowledge and skepticism, I have never been able to argue with a one-hundred-piece symphony orchestra, full color, three dimensions, and being in and part of those incredible parlors. As you can see, my parlor is nothing but four plaster walls. ” Professor Faber is one of the few that does not engage in using the parlor walls. With most people gaining their knowledge from these parlor wall interactive shows, there is no room to see real truth in what a book is. Faber is also one of the few that has knowledge and admits to this knowledge, noting that he is skeptic of this technological universe that he is living in.
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Time Machine, and Fahrenheit 451 all were positive portrayals of author attitudes on science and technology. Although there were some neutral or negative aspects in each novel, the main attitude was positive. The future always seems to have a higher capacity for science and technology and seems to have been viewed as a positive attribute to all three authors. Science and technology continue to have positive impacts on the attitudes of authors when it comes to novels in this time.