Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451

Essay by Historian7High School, 11th gradeA, October 2009

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Ray Bradbury's masterpiece, Fahrenheit 451, shows the effects that censorship can cause in a current or futuristic society. It also illustrates the catastrophic future of books and everything that makes a person "think" by himself. A society where everything that contains literature and art work is banned by leaders whose intentions are just to maintain an equal status quo, with the excuse that such method would help civilization to have a better life.

Bradbury introduces us the main character of Fahrenheit 451 as example of how censorship has all ready affected humanity. Montag, a fireman who instead of extinguishes fires burns books, is the main character and he takes part of a important role forming the plot, perhaps, in changing the status quo of this novel. Here we can observe how Montag's ignorance makes him burn books without him knowing what book contains. But his way of thinking changes when he meets a interesting individual such as Clarisse, a person who loves to observe and explore what is around her.

Her personality triggers curiosity in Montag's mind, and is her who makes Montag notice the reality that everybody is going through.

The author then introduces Mildred, Montag's wife, as a person who doesn't do anything than watch TV and take drugs to keep her young. We can associate Mildred with the entire civilization because it shows the impact of censorship, by showing how she acts we can assume that every single person acts just like her.

Not only humanity, but government plays an important role in this novel, in the way that it's because leaders decided to banned books and other things. Because of this the entire population, with the exception of some ex professors and scholars, are not aware of the war that is going on and because of propaganda avoiding news to communicate and tell civilians what is going on they all die by their ignorance because they don't know that the enemy deployed a bomb, their destruction was imminent.

The censorship in Fahrenheit 451 seemed to have started among the people of their society. The citizens were tired of being depressed and unhappy, so they started to take the things that were making them feel this way. They started with books; censoring and banning which ones couldn't be read and which ones made people think and contemplate things. The censoring of bad things eventually turned into not having books at all. The government took all sources of unhappiness and replaced them with things that prevented them from thinking. All of this put limits on their creativity and made everyone lose their individuality. The humanity in this spectacular novel had a mass amount of censorship, unlike the world we live in.

Technology is another thing that goes hand to hand with censorship. They drive fast cars and watch television all day instead of reading, creating, progressing, and stopping to think about things, they just sit down in front of the TV watching shows, but at the same time using some kind of electronic device like an iPod that allows them to listen to music.

These material things gave people happiness. A good example of someone who was brain-washed by the material possessions was Guy Montag's wife Mildred. She was so convinced by the people on the television that she was unable to think for herself. When Montag eventually questioned the mindless pleasure seeking, his wife was too wrapped up in her life to think twice.

Another thing that comes as a result of censorship is conformity among us. The fact that they are not allowed to read and the people all act the same, relates to the topic of conformity. If everyone conforms and become the same, nothing will be interesting anymore. Our society would have no depth. John F. Kennedy once said "Conformity is a jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth," and this almost relates directly to this book.

The quote states that if our society is all the same, then that is what will soon be expected and it will eventually take our freedom from us.

It also means that civilization will never grow because if we all conform, there will be no thinking therefore no progress; we will all be satisfied with ourselves and our lives, leaving no room for new ideas. Being happy with where we are now and just staying at this point would make our society freeze; no progress, no change, and no thinking. When a person is told how to live their own lives they forget to make their own decisions and they just become another face in the crowd.

Works CitedAngelotti, Michael. "Afraid of the Dark: Censorship, Ray Bradbury, and The Martian Chronicles." Gale Literary Database. 18 Mar. 2009 .

Hoskinson, Kevin. "'The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury's Cold War Novels.'" Gale Databases . 16 Oct. 2008 .

Jepsen, Chris, and Richard Johnston. "A Brief Biography." Ray Bradbury Online. 20 July 2009 .