Fahrenheit 451


Ignorance. Censorship. In every time such things have been taken in some , but in Ray Bradbury\'s Fahrenheit 451, the levels are taken to extreme amounts. Occuring in the future, ignorance and laziness have taken hold of humanity and turned it into a bitter shell of what it once was. The main reasons for the circumstances of the future are the lack of books, as in this future society books are not only illegal but burned. Further adding irony is that these books, as well as the houses which contain them, are burned by firemen. But why exactly would books be made illegal? There were several reasons given, but the most profound and simply believeable idea was told by Fire Chief Beatty. Beatty\'s explanation was that people were simple uncomforatble with feeling that others may be smarter by reading more books. As a result of such misfortune, society turned onto those who read, the ones who thought, and attacked them. Books were made illegal because people did not want to think. Through the creation of this future reality, Bradbury warns of the extremes of censorship, the media, and ignorance.


A prominent reoccurence in the novel is the wall screens and the "family," as Montag calls the actors on those screens. However, thie family which stands onscreen, as well as the families in this future, are very much different from those we are familier with. The familes are almost mindless, talking about nothing in the truest sense of the word. In a small preview of what the families are like, the reader finds that everyone in the family is so mad that they could spit out of anger. However, the family does not discuss what they are angry at, or why the are angry, only that they can spit out of anger. Yet, the people of this time are entertained by the random sayings and actions, as they do not have to think at all. In fact, the only time any thinking is required is when the viewer is asked to agree with the family, and the simple joy of joining the conversation is more than enough compensation for the absurb action of thinking.


Of course, a true education would prevent anyone from being entertained by such nothingness. Nevertheless, a true education is not given. School is sarted almost immediately for children, and there they work at sports and learn meaningless trivia, but never are challenged to really think. With such censorship, no one realizes that there is anything more to life. They are entertained, and because of the they do not have to worry about anything else. Why bother really, in this utopian society where man can ignore the pain in life and simply feel happy? Does it really matter that in this future the president is decided on looks? In this future almost everyone is content, but as Bradbury points out through Montag, they are not happy. There is more to life than watching a television and playing sports, but the public does not realize this because of a lack of means. Not only books, but almost everything is censored. The radio is simply reduced to repedative phrases for porducts and even the television programs contain only minor fragments assuring no idea of what life is can be understood.


Yet like everything in life there are exceptions, and in this an extremely important one is Clarisse McCellan. Clarisse is raised by a family that does not watch television, but a family which does absurd things like talk and think.