Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451– A Book Analysis
In his book, Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury highlights the power and significance of acquiring knowledge through books but decries the effect that technological developments, particularly the television, present in stifling intellectual and innovative development.
As a sci-fi book that was first printed in 1953, many readers particularly literary critics and students associate the book to state censorship and subsequent cultural decay presaging the periods following the book’s publication.
Indeed, it can be quickly obtained from the primary character’s profession as a book-burning fireman that the book burning per se may be emblematic of a common circumstance that a lot of societies have discovered themselves coming to grips with– particular stages in nations’ histories where fundamental inalienable rights and liberties were suppressed.
Literary censorship, in specific, has actually been a recurring theme in numerous great works of literature. In real life, censorship is something that the majority of federal governments have actually turned to for varied factors aside from as a means of quelling what they classify as rebellion or insurrection, and in nearly every instance, books that echo the beliefs of numerous great nationalists or radical-thinking individuals have actually borne the brunt of censorship laws.
Some analysts point out that in Ray Bradbury’s book, Fahrenheit 451, “The book burning is not a federal government mandated censorship … Instead, it is a society-built degradation of the composed word. Society has rejected the black and white messages bound in leather and paper” (Przybyszewski). The author himself does not contest this observation.
Whether it is art imitating truth or the other method around, Fahrenheit 451 is a successful attempt in making readers– consisting of those who got to check out the book generations after its initial publication– contemplate on key social and political issues like censorship, even if the author himself had actually clarified that his novel “is in fact about how television damages interest in checking out literature” (Oleck, par. 1).
An enthusiast of the composed word, Ray Bradbury comes from modest starts in Illinois, which set the stage for his profound yet realistic insights, searing views and cunning total technique to his subject matter. He was born upon August 22, 1920 in Waukegan, Illinois; studied in a Los Angeles High School in 1938, and furthered his education by working nights in the library and pounding away at typewriter keys and selling newspapers in Los Angeles by day (“Ray Bradbury Bio”).
It can be noted that Fahrenheit 451, in lots of methods, admires Bradbury’s Waukegan home town. It remains in this area that he established an enormous and enduring cravings for books and a love for libraries, something which is constantly explained in his book. As Bradbury himself narrates:
From the time I was 9 up through my teens I spent at least 2 nights a week in the town library in Waukegan, Ill. In the summertime, there was hardly a day I could not be found hiding about the stacks, smelling the books like imported spices, drunk on them even prior to I read them (Moran).
Based on the author’s individual narrative, one plainly sees how he acquired the particular ease in explaining to readers a well-stacked library, and how he masterfully let a few of his characters reveal strong sentiments about books not just as a storehouse of knowledge and cultural heritage of countries, however as instruments to assist man in living and making decisions about the future.
Ray Bradbury’s Waukegan roots likewise equipped him with first-hand knowledge and distinct design of blogging about a particular subject as firefighters. As another writer gathering from Ray Bradbury’s musings in composing Fahrenheit 451:
Bradbury’s wary regard for fire can be traced back to his Waukegan youth, where he would pass the firehouse on his way to and from the Carnegie Library and wind up documenting his descriptions (Moran).
Ray Bradbury’s exceptional style is certainly something which has actually not escaped discerning book readers and analysts. “While a lower author would have to content himself with beating the reader over the head with description and exposition, Bradbury has the ability to make his nightmare world real with economy and subtlety. The scary never grabs you by the throat as in a Stephen King novel; instead it creeps into your soul practically undetected” (Wright).
Content-wise, what American writer Ray Bradbury sought to impress on his readers is the fact that mankind stands to be strangled by the very forces– or features of contemporary living– that had originally been developed to make life much better. Bradbury makes an excellent point in singling out television as the tool that most people have actually been excessively depending on, and it comes at an extremely substantial price: a stifled intellectual advancement.
Indeed, of all the brand-new contemporary benefits or gadgetry the world has ever seen, one medium of interactions which stays all-powerful or prominent to minds and mindsets of people of all ages is the television. It appears that Bradbury possessed amazing insight in determining early on that people are bound to be enslaved. Among numerous informative evaluations about Ray Bradbury and his book states:
Bradbury’s unique– or novella, actually– is an inspired criticism of what we now call the “details society,” and the yawning chasm it is developing in our cumulative soul. In it he handled to anticipate with frightening precision such present social pathologies as the dumbing down of popular home entertainment and education, our growing addiction to empty sensory stimulation, the increase of random violence among youth, the increasing anomie and alienation amongst everyone (Wright).
Certainly, it takes a meticulous eye attuned to his environments for a writer to reasonably portray existing real-life scenarios along with future scenarios.
One important point that Ray Bradbury worried in Fahrenheit 451 is that the majority of the time, individuals’s enslavement, whether by social forces or modern technological advances, do occur from their own volition or free will. “It’s regular individuals who turn away from reading and the habits of idea and reflection it encourages. When the federal government begins actively censoring info, the majority of people don’t even bat an eye” (Bradbury 183).
It is true, naturally, that in the present society, there are many cases of seasoned people– specifically ordinary residents who wield little or no power to go against the powers-that-be– who at first object however wind up permitting scenarios like federal government restraints on media/information to dominate or happen.
It is, however, an inescapable fact that many liberties, like totally free speech and expression of ideas through books, are not outright. This is something that advocates of censorship keep harping on. Self-questioning will reveal that in lots of methods, individuals, during these increasingly intricate times and informative bombardment, do give in or let government enforce controls as the latter may deem ethically and socially and politically fit.
In doing so, it ends up being a clear case of the antagonist developing into an ally. In societies which do an excellent job of stabilizing interests and rights, this may be permissible. There are, however, exceptions to the rule. There are people might tirade and do nothing, however there are some people who even band together to form a coalition or cause-oriented group/association to bat for what they perceive as simply.
To their minds, the words of 18th century political theorist and philosopher Edmund Burke, of letting wicked victory if great males do nothing, may be sounding loud and clear.
Going back to the other primary concern tackled by the book, which is the propensity of people to allow themselves to be enslaved by new innovation and turn away from the many virtues of reading books, this is a universal problem pervading modern societies today.
Ray Bradbury might have crafted decades ago a succinct book about a dystopian society, but its message reverberates approximately the present age, when gadget-toting new generations rely on books only when school requires them to, or when a bestselling book-turned-movie or escapist adult novels catch their fancy.
In result, the firefighters’s task of burning books in the novel is in fact a metaphor for the way a society’s citizens permit themselves, or their knowledge and future, to be stunted. “The firemen are seldom essential. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord” (Bradbury 87).
The stark reality is that in an age when modern-day electronic benefits like cable television service and the web have ensconced themselves in numerous houses, books have actually been relegated to a dirty corner rack of the house or nooks in the library. This is precisely what Fahrenheit 451 achieves in bringing across.
In modern-day society, censorship positions risks and benefits. With the development of electronic devices and tools like the internet, censorship can be a good idea specifically when utilized by well-meaning moms and dads to shield young, impressionable minds from themes and concepts that be adult, violent or offending to the senses. Censorship, even in this sense, is not a fail-safe system for preventing objectionable concepts from leaking into the awareness of youngsters.
In Fahrenheit 451, the different themes and insights stated highlight censorship both in the literal and figurative sense. By using some literary gadgets, Bradbury inadvertently opens various analyses for the very act of book burning. On one hand, it is viewed as the ceremonial act that it is– burning of really useful and helpful things as books– as an act of opposition against an existing or predicted thought or policy, like a federal government’s repressive structures.
Ray Bradbury’s usage of various literary gadgets like metaphors, similes, irony, personification, synecdoche, oxymoron, embellishment, allusion and anaphora adds depth and meaning to his book. In so doing, Fahrenheit 451 powerfully highlighted the overarching message that books are important not simply to individuals however to a whole civilization.
Reserve burning presumes symbolic significance as anything that can cause books to be ignored or damaged, not just in the physical sense. As one author, stating the May 10, 1933, burning of books by Europe’s finest minds by right-wing student companies in Berlin who thought the books tended to corrupt the German spirit (Stern) had once revealed, “You can burn my books and the books of the very best minds in Europe, but the concepts in them have actually leaked through a million channels and will continue to accelerate other minds” (Stern).
This is illustrated well in Fahrenheit 451, particularly towards the middle part when the main character, firefighter and designated book burner Man Montag, winds up trying to memorize lines and grasp meanings of the text in books he surreptitiously conceals and checks out.
Certainly, there are instances in the novel when Bradbury tended to use some literary gadgets that make his prose flow with staccato rhythm, particularly throughout dialogues of key characters, specifically when the act of burning books as a job handed over to firefighters is explained to Montag by his chief.
Bradbury goes to the level of citing numerous fantastic literary works, like Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin to drive house his point, albeit in an exaggerated way through characters, discussion, and cautious “repeating of words and rhythms” (Schellenberg), that burning books, or revealing utter neglect for them, is an extreme and spontaneous act which might represent a preponderance of predispositions over sound reasoning.
Somewhere near the book’s ending when the climax is developing, when Fahrenheit 451 readers stumble upon the line that goes “For if we are ruined, the knowledge is dead, perhaps for good” (Bradbury 152), they can pick up the urgency evoked by the author in bringing into focus the many diverse forces that can possibly press books into oblivion.
Ray Bradbury definitely alludes, at that point, to the possibility that damaging books– which might be by neglect or indifference– might permanently contribute to curtailing transmission of understanding to the next generations. Bradbury even makes mention of legendary playwrights like Shakespeare and other writers whose works are “too familiar with the world” (Bradbury 87) to worry his point that it can be a pitiable and awful circumstance if future residents were deprived of books, especially well-written ones or literary work of arts that contribute considerably to intellectual and innovative learning.
Though the author also glosses over the fact that some books contribute little to intellectual stimulation or delve on inane subject matters, he acknowledges the fact that by and large, a library with great books is crucial specifically to a democratic nation. “Reading is the center of our lives. Without the library, you have no civilization” (Bradbury 184).
As a writer, Ray Bradbury can be very persuading with his arguments. There may be lapses in his use of literary devices, but overall, his writing design is both riveting, even as he tackles an extremely appropriate subject. While he freely confesses to an “overuse of metaphor and simile in the afterword … the composing design produces a pulpy, film-noir weirdness to the words … contrasts are often terrific, sometimes outrageous” (Przybyszewski).
“Bradbury is known to most as a science fiction/fantasy author, though the strength of his speculative prose lies not in technical understanding, but in human understanding” (O’Leary).
Whilst using creative literary develops to define a multi-pronged and sensitive concern like censorship and the risks of the information age crucial messages, Ray Bradbury captures readers’ attention with a book about the future by not being improbable with the concepts he states. Beyond that, he has the ability to touch the hearts of readers, regardless of whether they are opposed to, upset with, or reasonable with the ideas he sets forth.
Fahrenheit 451 gives my mind another excellent but much longer book, Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which is likewise a really gripping product about how society resorts to extreme procedures like tampering with human hereditary composition to make people adhere and add to an ideal state. In contrast, one discerning author separated Ray Bradbury’s unique as follows:
Bradbury’s book argues that such a repressive society, in assistance of which the firemen burn so many books, would self-implode, simply since it has no versatility and has no fertile ground of old concepts to create originalities. The victory of the individual at the end of Fahrenheit 451 is achieved at the cost of the self-destruction of the rest of society (Schellenberg).
I personally would suggest Fahrenheit 451 to devoted readers who can fathom, or are open-minded enough to try to digest essential issues and insights presented in the non-traditional way. It is an extremely worthwhile reading material that stresses how independent thinking and intellectual advancement may suffer or be threatened by the exigencies of modern living, like contemporary electronic gadgets and global patterns like the internet.
As for censorship per se, Ray Bradbury clearly opines in the epilogue to his book, that it may in fact be a distant memory, depending naturally on how you view it. “We have too many groups for censorship to be possible … We’re all watching each other, so there’s no chance for censorship. The primary problem is the idiot television” (Bradbury 184).
Bradbury’s thoughts here hold true for a democratic society, certainly not where anarchy reveals a probability of erupting and demanding government controls. However, throughout numerous instances in the past when censorship did rear its unsightly head, one will note that there were numerous rights, like liberty of speech and expression, through books media or through the spoken word or assembly, that were reduced.
Censorship can undoubtedly wreak havoc on the health of a nation and undermine individuals’s faith their government, as tested time and once again in many countries’ histories. Ray Bradbury delivers a strong point about television as that a person effective medium that can desensitize minds or even foster indifference to great values and routines, like reading books. In the electronic age, the new difficulty is the internet.
Functions Pointed out
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Random House, Inc., 1982.
Moran, Dan. “Fahrenheit 451 makes censorship a burning issue.” News Sun, The (Waukegan, IL). 2003. HighBeam Research study. 1 Jan. 2009; http://www.highbeam.com;.
O’Leary, Devin. “Grandfather Time.” 29 September 1997. 2 January 2008. weeklywire.com. <