In dystopian books citizens are usually expected to do whatever society tells them to do. Montag has always been taught that burning books is the right thing to do. Most other citizens agree with Montag on this concept. Everyone has been taught the same way and everyone follows.
Citizens are expected to strictly conform to society.
"It [is] a pleasure to burn." (Pg 3)
In a dystopian book the story usually takes place after an apocalyptic event. A war causes much destruction in Fahrenheit 451. Families and governments are ripped apart and citizens have to start over. This is a post apocalyptic event in the society.
The bombardment was to all intents and purposes finished, once the jets had sighted their target, alerted their bombardiers at five thousand miles an hour. (pg 74)
The story takes place after an apocolyptic event.
Montag and his fellow firemen travel to an old lady's house because she is in possession of books. She burns herself and the books and decides that she will sacrifice her life for the books. She is shamed and criticized for her individual opinion in the society.
Individuality is seen as a bad thing.
The woman on the porch reached out with contempt for them all, and struck the kitchen match against the railing. People ran out of houses all down the street. (pg 19)
The main character often is one of the few (or one of the first) to question the goodness of his or her society.
In Fahrenheit 451 Clarisse is not necessarily the main character however she is one of the few to question the goodness of her society. She recognizes how wrong the society is and her perspective helps the reader realize the negative aspect of the dystopian world. When she asks Montag if he reads any of the books he burns, Montag is suprised that this is even a question. However he starts to think and his perspective becomes a little shaken because Clarisse questioned something that he thought was already set in stone. These thoughts eventually change the way Montag looks at things, and leads to his big change in the end.
"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" (pg 3)
The truth is often kept secret from most of the public.
In dystopias the truth is often kept secret from society. "Knowledge is Power" Sir Francis Bacon (1597) In this society books are seen as useless by the public. We learn in this story that the every day citizens have just stopped reading. However on the other hand books are seen as power by the government. We see this in real life, when people read books they gain the advantage of a brilliant mind. A brilliant mind can do amazing things like creating the atomic bomb. If a strict government wants to keep control, the most common solution for them is to reduce the people's knowledge of the outside world, hence burning the books which contain knowledge.
"...most dangerous enemy of truth and freedom." (pg 51)
Citizens usually live under strict control.
As mentioned earlier the society in the story takes control to a whole new level. In dystopias there is often an illusion of a perfect society covering up how horrible things really are. Sometimes the story's true oppressors truly believe that they are doing what's right; but often the illusion of a utopia is merley propaganda meant to keep the citizens under control. In the chase at the end of the story Montag is never really caught but the government needs to keep an audience. Helicopters are said to scour the skies in search of Montag.
"The chase continues north in the city! Police helicopters are converging on Avenue 87 and Elm Grove Park!" (pg 57)