Fahrenheit 451, upon basic research seems to have been challenged or banned for all of the wrong reasons, if there are, indeed, any right ones. It has never been officially banned at a state or federal level. However, upon the superintendent’s instruction, it was removed from the required reading list of West Marion High School of Foxworth, Mississippi in 1998, because a parent of one of the students complained of foul language in the book, citing, in particular, the use of the phrase “Goddamn”. Several other objecting high schools, however, did so on the basis of dangerous and “questionable themes”. Oddly, any specific thematic complaints that I uncovered usually had to do with thinking it was wrong that the book encouraged the burning of books, particularly The Holy Bible. These complaints were mostly made out of ignorance, since the complainers had not read the book and were unaware of the context of the material or the overall message. Had they actually read the book, the complaints would have never been made.I will just flat out say it: I loved this book. I was pleasantly surprised to zip through it and come out on the other side entertained, yes, but also enriched. It isn’t a flawless book. Not by any stretch of the word, but it is a satisfying one. The characters were a bit flat, or at least they weren’t obviously rich, since they were mostly defined by their exterior actions or utterances. We only really got the opportunity to go inside the head of Montag, the main character. And what a troubled head it was. That being said, what the book lacked in character it more than made up in theme, an ever present sense of immediacy, and of sheer, unrelenting momentum. Bradbury never stopped hurtling Montag towards his ultimate destiny. I am glad of this fact.The idea of their being a society that would burn books as a way of controlling, and in many ways, removing culture is a terrifying one. And it is also an idea that isn’t entirely implausible, given the current bankruptcy of popular culture in western society. I might even posit the even more frightening idea that book burning might well become completely unnecessary in the future, as the desire to read a book may have vanished entirely. I would, in the most definite fashion, recommend this book to anyone possessed of the mental faculties to comprehend it. It is a book that should be read in high schools, certainly, because of the penchant of the teenaged human to never appreciate what one has until it is gone, but also because it brings up lofty themes in a palatable and easily digested way. So, I suppose it goes without saying that I entirely disagree with the banning or challenging of this book. Its ideas could not possibly incite a rebellion that did not need to happen, nor quell one that is desperately required.
We as a class have just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. The novel is set in a dystopian world where books are illegal and staring at TV screens and talking to your fictional relatives is normal. After reading this book for the first time in almost 7 years, I have to say that it has earned a spot as one of my favorite books. Firemen are not heroes in this world, and instead make their living destroying the families and homes of people who possess books. Main character Guy Montag is a fireman, and seems bored with his career and is struggling with his failing marriage. One day, Guy met a young girl named Clarisse, and Clarisse ignited a sense of wonderment in Guy’s life. Guy becomes sickened by the lifeless, technology-obsessed world he is surrounded by, and begins to question his profession as well as the practice of burning books. Fahrenheit 451 affirms how important it is to ask questions and think independently. I would argue that our society could very easily slip into a world with heavy censorship and government control if we don’t continue to fight for things that are important to us. Literature is an art form, and has the power to inspire people. It is shocking to me that Bradbury’s predictions about the future could be so similar to what our lives are like today. Not only did he predict that we would be using seashells (ear buds) but he also predicted that we would become so consumed by the screen. So much of our time is spent staring at the television, a computer screen, or a cell phone screen. This book has reminded me of just how important it is to disconnect from my electronics sometimes, and simply enjoy the world around me.
My name is Matthew Levandoski. This is in response to the post made by Samantha Barger. I am replying to, in particular, this sentence in the final paragraph of your post:"Literature is an art form, and has the power to inspire people."I agree with you, but I would like to take that statement further by expanding upon it. Literature is an art form, and it has the power to inspire in human beings the ideas that could very well change the world. For bad, or for good. Literature was the single most powerful and influential reason for me writing this blog post within the borders of a country named The United States of America. Without literature, the American Revolution would not have happened. Without literature, I would be posting on the blog of an English college. This is but one example. So yes, it has the power to inspire, but it also has the power to change. It has the power to destroy, debilitate, discredit, disprove, deify, and be drastically draconian. And believe me, those are not the only "D" words I could use. Not to mention the other letters of the alphabet. Literature can literally do almost anything. And this is why the books in Fahrenheit 451 were so feared. They represent a chance for individual growth, that could come from many different and more modern places (films, music), but doesn't because film and music are more easily controlled and focused to a specific rhetorical use, while books never change. There are no commercial breaks in literature. They are not used as a delivery device of anything other than their proposed content, however subliminal it might be. Books make us think, both in the writing and the reading of them, and that, in my not so humble opinion, is the whole point. Books have the power to make us truly think. I know Fahrenheit 451 does.
Hi Matthew, I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on Fahrenheit 451 , and found your opinions very insightful. I also enjoyed the novel, and would go as far as saying that it has become one of my favorite books as well. While I would agree that the characters were a bit flat, I rather enjoyed reading from Montag’s perspective. Sometimes reading things from a single perspective helps me to keep track of the details in a story. I would bet that Bradbury’s hope of getting his message out to the public was more important than deep character development. I found myself getting very attached to Montag, and I wish that Bradbury had provided more information about what had happened to all of the “living novels” after the war had come to an end. I took the world that Bradbury created to be a warning to readers. I was reminded of how important it is to enjoy the beauty of the world around us, and take time to notice the things that we often take for granted like books and simple conversations with the people we come in contact with every day. Literature can be a very powerful art form, and I think that it is so important to protect it in order to preserve the lessons that books provide for future generations.
The first time I saw the movie Fahrenheit 451, on late night television back around 1979, I had never read or even heard of the book. I still remember the feeling I had when I saw the book people at the end of the movie. I had always liked to read, but I had always taken it for granted that books would be available. And, wow, here were these people who had to try really hard to protect something incredibly special. In looking back, I think that was probably the beginning of my path toward becoming a librarian! It was not an “ah-ha” moment where I decided then and there to pursue that career – but it definitely had an impact.
Post a Comment