Posts Tagged ‘censorship’

Fahrenheit 451

February 25, 2009

Author: Bradbury, Ray

Title: Fahrenheit 451

Genre: Science Fiction

Publication Date: original publication date 1953

Number of Pages: 179 pp. (1996 Del Ray edition)

Geographical Setting: United States

Time Period: the future (post 1990)

Plot Summary: Guy Montag enjoys his job as a fireman. He has a lovely wife and a modest home. He thinks of himself as a happy person. Until Clarisse, a teenage girl from the neighborhood, asks him that much. Through their newfound friendship, Montag realizes that she and her family are more interested in what happens around them rather than what happens on television. They appreciate depth and content; books and nature. And as he begins to question this, a series of events begin to unravel Montag’s life. His lovely wife attempts suicide to end a life of artificiality and sentimental distance. His station chief, Captain Beatty, questions Guy’s national commitment to burning books and homes. Clarisse and her family vanish. These episodes spark Guy’s temptation to read a cache of books he had stolen. He seeks out Faber, a retired English professor, whom he once met some time ago, to help sort out his thoughts. Beatty’s questioning becomes suspicion. Even the mechanical hound at the station dislikes him. Montag finds himself a fugitive after his wife turns him in and Beatty burns his home down. He struggles to flee civilization and find safety with a group of outsiders that have voluntarily fallen off the grid and have happily rediscovered books and literature. Fahrenheit 451 is Bradbury’s tale of anti-censorship and the ominous result if technology is misused. It is a tale of beware and forewarning with a pace that is swift and storyline that is detailed but not overwhelming.

Subject Headings: fire, burning, kerosene, fireman, banned books, censorship, government oppression, conformity, non-conformity, technology, digital media, robot, dystopia, future, science fiction, totalitarianism, fascism, tyranny, outcasts, and alternate realities

Appeal: Orwellian, stark, dark, dim, moody, plot-centered, individual point-of-view, murder, evenly-paced, political, dramatic, thought provoking, violent, vivid, paranoia, comparative, symbolic, persistent, foreboding, and contemporary lessons

Similar Authors & Works: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is the author’s portrait of a possible future world that is sterile and conformed, without individuality and thoughtfulness. 1984 by George Orwell is another take on a dystopian world where freedom has died and Big Brother controls the population through constant surveillance and Thought Police. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore is a graphic novel that depicts a world where Germany has won the Second World War and a totalitarian existence has bloomed and fascism has run amok throughout.

Relevant Non-Fiction Authors & Works: 100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature by Nicholas J. Karolides is a frank portrait of 25 different titles that have been banned at one time or another by several countries, especially the United States. Not in Front of the Children: Indecency, Censorship, and the Innocence of Youth by Marjorie Heins is a detailed retelling of historical movements, laws, and efforts to shield the youth from corrupting influences and how that movement has become more perverse and pervasive. It’s Not the Media: the Truth about Pop Culture’s Influence on Children by Karen Sternheimer is a case study into why the media and pop culture always tend to be the main reasons why there is a dissent of values and ethics in children.

Andy