Fahrenheit 451

9. Do you think Fahrenheit 451 is a novel about censorship? Why or why not?


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In Fahrenheit 451, owning and reading books is illegal. Members of society focus only on entertainment, immediate gratification and speeding through life. If books are found, they are burned and their owner is arrested. If the owner refuses to abandon the books, as is the case with the Old Woman, he or she often dies, burning along with them. People with interests outside of technology and entertainment are viewed as strange, and possible threats.

In the book, Bradbury doesn't give a clear explanation of why censorship has become so great in this futuristic society. Rather, the author alludes to a variety of causes. Fast cars, loud music, and massive advertisements create an over stimulated society without room for literature, self-reflection, or appreciation of nature. Bradbury gives the reader a brief description of how society slowly lost interest in books, first condensing them, then relying simply on titles, and finally forgetting about them all together.

Bradbury also alludes to the idea that different "minority" groups were offended by certain types of literature. In his discussion with Montag, Beatty mentions dog lovers offended by books about cats, and cat lovers offended by books about dogs. The reader can only assume which minority groups Bradbury was truly referring to. Finally, in the Afterword to Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury clearly expresses his own sensitivity to attempts to restrict his writing. For example, he feels censored by letters suggesting he should give stronger roles to women or black men. Bradbury sees such suggestions and interventions as the first step towards censorship and book burning.



No, I do not think that Fahrenheit 451 is about censorship. Rather, it is about the deliberate actions that the characters in the story took that led to the disappearance of books. People cared more about television than literature, and as Captain Beatty explains best, it was the people themselves that made books become irrelevant and unimportant. When television first came out, Bradbury feared that it would completely kill books. Fahrenheit 451 was meant to be a book about just that - television making reading become obsolete. The culprit is not the state or the government, it is the people. The citizens turned against books because they didn't think that they were needed, and they believed that without books and the knowledge they bring to people, the population would become more equal. Only after people stopped reading did the state employ firemen to burn books.


http://www.laweekly.com/news/ray-bradbury-fahrenheit-451-misinterpreted-2149125 http://www.shmoop.com/fahrenheit-451/