Fahrenheit 451 Summary, Analysis, and Essay Example
Ray Bradbury’s classic 1953 book Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most renowned novels of the 20th century. It stands alongside such classics as Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984. This Fahrenheit 451 analysis takes a look at its author, characters, themes, quotes, and movie adaptation.
Ray Bradbury Bio
Ray Douglas Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois, on August 22, 1920. His parents, Esther Bradbury and Leonard Spaulding Bradbury gave Ray his middle name in honor of the actor Douglas Fairbanks. Ray’s aunt would often read to him during his childhood. This influence can be seen in his works, where he highlights major themes of censorship, the importance of books, and accepting the history that can no longer be changed.
Ray Bradbury has loved reading since he was a young man. He often visited the library and read the works of Jules Verne, Edgar Alan Poe, and H. G. Wells. Ray published his first story titled Hollerbochen’s Dilemma when he was only 18 years old. While not popular with readers, it showcased the young writer’s potential.
Bradbury continued to hone his skills, and they paid off nearly two decades later. Some of the greatest Ray Bradbury books include Fahrenheit 451, Dandelion Wine, and The Illustrated Man. His first collection of short sci-fi stories dubbed The Martian Chronicles was released in 1950. To this day, Fahrenheit 451 remains one of his most well-known works.
In the mid-1980s, he was a host and writer for The Ray Bradbury Theater. This was an anthology series that ran on HBO and the First Choice Superchannel in Canada. Bradbury personally wrote for all 65 episodes. They were based on his own short stories and novels.
Fahrenheit 451: Analysis
Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 continues to fascinate readers with its timeless themes of freedom, censorship, dystopian society, and wilful ignorance years after its release. Bradbury paints a portrait of a hedonistic society that doesn’t care about its lifestyle and doesn’t want change.
Fahrenheit 451 analysis closely centers around the main character torn between his professional loyalties and growing discontent with the status quo. It’s a timeless classic that shows how arrogance always leads to downfall.
What Is the Main Idea of Fahrenheit 451?
Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was strongly influenced by the McCarthy trials. The book is a condemnation of censorship and the persecution of people. It’s a tale of a man’s desire for individuality in a strongly conformist and ignorant society. The story sets in the future, where the American public has become an empty shell.
In this timeline, firemen start fires instead of putting them out. Fahrenheit 451 follows one of the operatives named Guy Montag. He goes on a personal journey from enjoying the book burnings to doubting his actions and wanting nothing to do with them. The majority of his peers have become disconnected from reality.
They are constantly bombarded by sounds and sights produced by the media. This is so persistent that people have no time to think and process what is being transmitted. Montag realizes that he has to desperately try to save what knowledge remains in unburned books. The story is a chilling tale with a dash of hope for the future.
Themes in Fahrenheit 451
Let’s begin our Fahrenheit 451 analysis with the themes.
- As with all great dystopian novels, Ray Bradbury’s book shows one of the worst outcomes for humanity. Like his previous works, Fahrenheit 451 themes concern the dangers of technological progress. The societal problems faced by the books’ characters stem from the oversaturation of media.
- The media of Fahrenheit 451 put an emphasis on stimulating the senses with programs that lack real depth. Oppressive society has become totally enthralled by immediate gratification. They lost any interest in books and critical thinking. In a way, technology destroyed the humanity of humans. Yet, it’s not the only dangerous technology.
- One of Fahrenheit 451 themes is the use of censorship to control the masses. Without any books around, governments and media companies found a way to control all information. This causes people to be constantly hooked on the barrage of media. Such things are still done by dictatorships that censor or outlaw books.
This all comes crashing down in the book’s climax. The only reason for the main character’s survival is his voluntary self-exile. Even without the happy ending, Bradbury gives hope that society may still be rebuilt.
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What Are 3 Conflicts in Fahrenheit 451?
There are several major conflicts In the Fahrenheit 451 book.
- A man versus self - the dilemma Guy Montag faces. He is torn between his past identity and the need to obtain knowledge.
- Conflicts with others: captain Beatty and his wife, Mildred.
- Coming to clash with modern society and government. The protagonist doesn’t feel comfortable with any of these factions by the end.
What Is the Main Problem in Fahrenheit 451?
The main conflict of Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 stems from the fact that society has become completely dependent on mass media. As a result, it’s no longer interested in the world’s problems. Free thought is forbidden, and literature is destroyed on-site. The overindulgence in technology distracts the population from an impending threat. Guy Montag finds himself to be one of the few people to escape its destructive nature.
There are several Fahrenheit 451 characters essential to the story.
- Its protagonist Guy Montag is a professional in burning books. Instead of putting out fires, he sets them. All of this is to destroy the unwanted knowledge contained in books. His point of view takes readers into the book’s world.
- Guy Montag is married to Mildred . The protagonist still loves her but finds himself repulsed by her lack of personality. Mildred spends most of the novel glued to a TV screen or listening to the radio. She also enjoys other things that don’t require mental effort or thought.
- Captain Beatty is Guy Montag’s chief and one of the book’s antagonists. Ironically, he’s one of the most educated and well-read Fahrenheit 451 characters. But he uses this knowledge to keep people ignorant and burn books.
- Clarise McCellan is a teenage girl that lives near Guy and Mildred. Unlike her peers, she’s not yet destroyed by society. In Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451, she still has her honesty, curiosity, and courage. Interestingly enough, the character analysis of Jem Finch can be used to understand Clarise’s character better. Hire your personal essay writer at our write my dissertation service .
- Professor Faber is a former English professor who witnessed the decline. Unlike Beatty, he despises society and believes in independent thought. But, unlike the chief, he doesn’t use his knowledge. Instead, he wants to hide away from society.
What Are the Symbols in Fahrenheit 451?
There are several symbols that appear heavily throughout the story. The first is fire . It’s the most evident symbol in the Fahrenheit 451 book. The book’s title refers to the temperature at which the book paper catches fire. Fire is heavily used to describe knowledge, rebirth, and destruction. The element is mostly used as a force of devastation throughout the novel.
Another prominent symbol is that of the salamander . This animal is used as a symbol for firemen in Fahrenheit 451. It’s displayed on their patches and on the fire hoses used to spew fire. Firetrucks are called the Salamander in the novel. The phoenix is displayed on the firemen’s uniforms and symbolizes the cycle of death and rebirth.
Ray Bradbury also uses seashell radio prominently in the story. This is a small radio device that symbolizes the control the media and government have over society. Almost everybody wears them to get a constant flow of information into their mind. Guy’s wife Mildred seems to be listening to seashell radio all the time.
Mirrors are another important part of the novel. They are used to represent seeing your true self and self-awareness. Montag describes Clarisse’s face as being like a mirror. This indicates that Montag notices a part of himself in her.
Motifs in Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 analysis reveals several motifs in the novel. Religion appears a lot in Fahrenheit 451. The first book Montag saves from burning ends up being a copy of the Bible. He later discusses the lack of religion and its significance with professor Faber. Guy desperately seeks someone who can explain the content of the book as he feels unable to understand it.
Paradoxes are another important part of Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury has several paradoxical statements in the novel. Primarily they consider the Mechanical Hound and Mildred. For example, Guy believes the room with his wife to be empty at the beginning of the story. This emptiness stems from her being mentally lost in the sea of information.
Ray Bradbury uses nature as a counterpart to technology . It’s used to represent the change in norms the protagonist became used to. Nature also highlights the destructive tendencies of society. For example, modern society made animals symbols of death and darkness. During his conversations with Clarisse, they often referred to nature. Montag even thinks of her to be a part of nature when he first meets her.
Fahrenheit 451 Essay Example
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Why Was Fahrenheit 451 Banned?
So, why was Fahrenheit 451 banned several times? It is the only one of Ray Bradbury's books that suffered that much. This was motivated by a desire to censor its graphic content. Ironically, a story about censorship and government overreach has itself been a subject of these things.
Fahrenheit 451 Summary
Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 book is set in a dystopian future that weaponizes book burning to keep people barred from any knowledge. The novel follows one of the professional book incinerators named Guy Montag. In the beginning, he seems content with his work. But his attitude toward happiness and work soon starts to change.
First, he starts to have daily conversations with his neighbor Clarisse McClellan. She asks him many serious questions instead of spewing pleasantries. The second is when Montag steals his first book from an old woman's house during one of the raids. His firemen force was ordered to destroy the house of an old book hoarder. Instead of leaving the building, the old woman refuses to live in this society, and she sets herself on fire.
Ather these events, Montag questions his beliefs and himself more and more. Montag decides to steal and save more books from incineration. Montag makes an effort and tries to introduce his wife to reading, but she sees no point in it. Montag later contacts a retired literature professor Faber to learn more about books.
He’s first terrified of Montag but agrees to help after Guy starts ripping a book apart. Montag is given a phone device to offer him guidance. Montag’s attempt at reading a book during one of his wife’s TV-watching parties proves disastrous. He’s soon reported to the firemen by Mildred and is ordered to burn his own house down.
Guy does as told, but captain Beatty finds the earpiece and threatens to kill Fabian. This situation forces Montag to kill the chief. He then goes fleeing from the city while being chased by terrifying mechanical killer dogs. Montag escapes and joins a community of former intellectuals. They are aware of the coming war and plan to hide until it ends.
Fahrenheit 451 book ends with the total destruction of the city. But the community’s leader Granger believes it to be a good opportunity to rebuild society all over again. Much like the phoenix rising from its ashes after death, humanity can learn from its mistakes and rebuild anew.
Fahrenheit 451: Movie
In 2018, the novel got its second movie adaptation. It takes place after a second civil war. Much like in the original, in the 2018 Fahrenheit 451 movie, society is kept obedient by drugs and TV news. Everything is being controlled by the government. Television sets are placed in every home and street to keep the population under control. Montag and Captain Beatty are other firemen in Cleveland.
Their job is to hunt down book-collecting rebels. So, Montag burns any books he finds to erase the memory of such individuals. Captain Beatty seems to play both sides. Sometimes he’s helpful or harmful to Montag’s pursuit of knowledge. In the Fahrenheit 451 movie, the central government discovers that rebels want to record every book in existence into DNA.
This DNA will later spread around the world, thus ensuring that books never disappear. But, first, they have to get the DNA to Canada, where there’s no practice of book burning. In this adaptation, Montag’s neighbor Clarisse brings him to a revel hideout. He’s tasked with finding a suitable tracking device for a bird implanted with the DNA.
Montag’s plan is to use a tracking device utilized by the firemen. He succeeds but at the cost of his own life. This is a direct opposite of Montag’s and Beatty’s confrontation in the novel. In the Fahrenheit 451 movie, Guy sacrifices himself for the sake of knowledge.
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There are many Fahrenheit 451 quotes that are essential to the story. They help deliver Bradbury’s message about the dangers of passive entertainment. Yet, several Fahrenheit 451 quotes describe some of the novel’s most important arguments and ideas.
- “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.”
This opening sentence tells everything about Montag’s early disposition at the beginning of the story and how Montag feels. It also explains the main motive of the book. Humans prefer to cut corners and find an easy solution instead of investing in anything worth the effort.
- “Serenity, Montag. Peace, Montag. Take your fight outside. Better yet, into the incinerator.”
This line from firemen, that Beatty tells Montag perfectly summarizes his character. Why bother with anything complex if it can be destroyed and life kept simple? Bradbury uses this line to describe a slippery slope created by accepting an intolerance for ideas.
The novel has a lot of other quotes that you can use as an inspiration for your papers. For example, if you need to write a dissertation, you can view dissertation topics and use one of them. Also, in our blog you can see examples of coursework .
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102 Fahrenheit 451 Essay Topic Ideas & Examples
🏆 best fahrenheit 451 topic ideas & essay examples, 📌 interesting topics to write about fahrenheit 451, 👍 good essay topics on fahrenheit 451, ❓ fahrenheit 451 essay questions.
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- Narrative Structure in Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” The actions of Montag and the changes in his view of the world mark the transition between elements of the story narrative structure.
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- Censorship on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury The main protagonist of the novel is Guy Montag, a fireman whose job like others, is to burn books without questioning the impact of his decision.
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- Clarisse’s Influence on Montag in “Fahrenheit 451” Throughout the novel, Montag goes through the stages of conflict and denial and ultimately sets out to free himself and others from the oppression.
- ”Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury: Censorship and Independent Thinking By exploring the notion and censorship and how it affects people, the author draws parallels with the modern world of his time and the increasing impact of government-led propaganda. Censorship is a recurring theme that […]
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- Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 Novel Analysis Abootalebi, Hassan.”The Omnipresence of Television and the Ascendancy of Surveillance/Sousveillance in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451″. This chapter explores the role of books in two of Bradbury’s works: The Martian Chronicles and Fahrenheit 451.
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By ray bradbury, fahrenheit 451 essay questions.
Compare and contrast conformity and individuality as presented in Fahrenheit 451.
Discuss how Montag's changing perception of fire mirrors his personal development.
Name the three parts of Fahrenheit 451 and explain how they are relevant to their respective content.
Analyze Captain Beatty. Is he truly an idealogue in support of censorship or is he hiding an allegiance to freedom of expression? Use specific examples from the text in your argument.
Analyze Mildred Montag. Is she truly happy leading a life blind to reality? Use specific examples from the text in your argument.
Symbols are very important in Fahrenheit 451. Name three specific symbols and outline their references and meanings throughout the novel.
Discuss the complexities of Bradbury's message. Is he against all forms of censorship? Do you think a society such as this could ever truly exist? What aspects of this society does Bradbury appear to detest the most?
Compare and contrast Mildred and Clarisse. How did each woman come to exist? What roles do they play in society? Can either truly survive?
Discuss the role of nature in Fahrenheit 451, with specific references to animals and water.
Follow Montag's ideological progression. Where does it truly begin and what are the most important instances that spur its growth?
Discuss the blurred distinction between life and death in Fahrenheit 451, referring to Mildred, Clarisse, and the life-like machines that dominate society.
Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Fahrenheit 451 is a great resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.
Compare and contrast Clarisse and Mildred with respect to how they chose to spend their time and how they relate to Montag in the book Fahrenheit 451?
Millie forgoes real happiness to immerse herself in the technological gadgets of the age, such as her television walls and seashell radios, which allow her a constant escape from reality. Millie's need for escape also leads her to a suicide...
Reread the dialogue between Montag and Clarisse in paragraphs 21-31. How does this exchange between the two characters connect with Bradbury’s description of Montag in paragraph 7?
What chapter are you referring to?
why was an MD not sent?
From the text:
"Neither of you is an M.D. Why didn't they send an M.D. from Emergency?"
"Hell! " the operator's cigarette moved on his lips. "We get these cases nine or ten a night. Got so many, starting a few years...
Study Guide for Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is based on a short story called "The Fireman" written by Bradbury in 1951 and later expanded into a full novel in 1953. The Fahrenheit 451 study guide contains a biography of Ray Bradbury, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
- About Fahrenheit 451
- Fahrenheit 451 Summary
- Fahrenheit 451 Video
- Character List
Essays for Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.
- Influences Behind Brave New World and Fahrenheit 451
- Character Analysis: Fahrenheit 451
- The Theme of Self-Destruction in Ray Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'
- American Paradigms in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451
- Fahrenheit 451 Through the Lens of "We Wear the Mask" and "Barn Burning"
Lesson Plan for Fahrenheit 451
- About the Author
- Study Objectives
- Common Core Standards
- Introduction to Fahrenheit 451
- Relationship to Other Books
- Bringing in Technology
- Notes to the Teacher
- Related Links
- Fahrenheit 451 Bibliography
Wikipedia Entries for Fahrenheit 451
- Historical and biographical context
- Plot summary
Home — Essay Samples — Literature — Books — Fahrenheit 451
Essays on Fahrenheit 451
Hook examples for "fahrenheit 451" essays, anecdotal hook.
Picture a world where books are banned and burned. In Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451," this dystopian nightmare comes to life. Join us on a journey through the pages of this thought-provoking novel.
What happens to a society when it outlaws literature and intellectual freedom? Delve into the consequences and symbolism behind the burning of books in "Fahrenheit 451."
"There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house." — Ray Bradbury. Explore the power of literature and its role in challenging oppressive regimes.
Statistical or Factual Hook
Did you know that "Fahrenheit 451" is not just a novel, but also the temperature at which paper ignites? Uncover the symbolism and themes in this classic work of dystopian fiction.
What does it mean to live in a "Fahrenheit 451" society? Examine the characteristics of this fictional dystopia and its parallels in the real world.
Rhetorical Question Hook
Is "Fahrenheit 451" a warning about the dangers of censorship, or does it offer a broader critique of a shallow and apathetic society? Analyze the layers of meaning in Bradbury's work.
Step back into the 1950s and explore the historical context in which Ray Bradbury wrote "Fahrenheit 451." How did the Cold War and McCarthyism influence this dystopian vision?
Contrast the firemen in "Fahrenheit 451," who burn books, with traditional firefighters who save lives. Explore the irony and symbolism in the novel's portrayal of fire.
Follow the transformation of Guy Montag, a fireman turned book lover, as he navigates a world where knowledge is forbidden. Join him on his quest for truth and intellectual freedom.
Controversial Statement Hook
Prepare to dive into the controversy surrounding censorship and the suppression of dissenting voices, as depicted in "Fahrenheit 451," and its relevance in today's world.
Fahrenheit 451: Analyzing a Dystopian Society
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How People Destroy Themselves and Each Other in Fahrenheit 451
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Understanding The Role of Guy Montag as Portrayed by Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451
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The Use of Technology in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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October 19, 1953
Noel, Science Fiction, Political Fiction, Dystopian Fiction
Guy Montag, Clarisse McClellan, Beatty, Mildred Montag, Faber, Mrs. Ann Bowles, Mrs. Clara Phelps, Stoneman, Black, Granger
It has been adapted from Ray Bradbury's short story called "The Fireman".
Future, dystopian future, fire as the salvation and fire as the destroying power, the Phoenix as the bird that rises from the ashes, the technology. The symbolism of blood is always appearing through the novel as the power that deals with the repressed soul and the primal functions of the body. Finally, the Salamander is the symbol of immortality and rebirth, a passion to stand against the flame.
Fahrenheit 451 is the mirror of the human soul and is one of the greatest novels by Ray Bradbury because it is the powerful stance against censorship and the art of writing and reading that are both required to keep humanity safe and civilized.
The book is telling about some dystopian society where the specially-trained firemen burn the books to keep dangerous ideas and sad concepts under control. The novel revolves around Guy Montag, a fireman who goes against the book burning principles and passes transformation and sufferings because of his thoughts.
- The concept for the book has been inspired by the practice of Hitler related to burning books.
- One of the most popular misconceptions about the book title is the temperature at which the book paper can catch fire. Still, Fahrenheit 451 refers to the auto-ignition point when the paper starts to burn.
- The first version has been written on a rented typewriter in a library basement.
- Ray Bradbury has spent $9.80 on his rented typewriter, which means that the first story called "The Fireman" has been written in about 49 hours.
- Originally, Ray Bradbury was going to write about the dangers of television.
- According to Bradbury, his passion for reading did not ever keep him away from TV.
- Bradbury often said that Fahrenheit 451 is probably his only work that he could relate to science fiction.
- "He was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.”
- “‘We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?'”
- “There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.'”
- “‘A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.'”
- “‘Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.'”
The book speaks about censorship and going against the system and technology. As Montag is united with the survivors who are striving to memorize and recite the books, it has an almost Biblical essence to it.
It can be used for any college essay paper that deals with dystopian society, politics, reading, education, and, most importantly, censorship. It is one of the most important books that tell us about taking our thoughts and ideas under control. You can use this analogy to talk about censorship online, college ideas that are overturned, your family life, and living in modern society.
- Things Fall Apart
- Into The Wild
- Their Eyes Were Watching God
- A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings
- Animal Farm
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Critical Essays The Issue of Censorship and Fahrenheit 451
Bradbury ties personal freedom to the right of an individual having the freedom of expression when he utilizes the issue of censorship in Fahrenheit 451 . The First Amendment to the United States Constitution reads:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.
The common reading of the First Amendment is that commitment to free speech is not the acceptance of only non-controversial expressions that enjoy general approval. To accept a commitment to the First Amendment means, in the words of Justice Holmes, "freedom for what we hate." As quoted in Students' Right to Read (NCTE, 1982), "Censorship leaves students with an inadequate and distorted picture of the ideals, values, and problems of their culture. Writers may often be the spokesmen of their culture, or they may stand to the side, attempting to describe and evaluate that culture. Yet, partly because of censorship or the fear of censorship, many writers are ignored or inadequately represented in the public schools, and many are represented in anthologies not by their best work but by their safest or least offensive work." What are the issues involved in censorship?
Imagine that a group wants to ban Fahrenheit 451 because Montag defies authority. For the sake of the argument, assume for a moment that you wish to "ban" Fahrenheit 451 from the library shelves. To do so, you must do a number of things. First, you must establish why defying authority is wrong. What are its consequences? What are the probable effects on youth to see flagrant disregard of authority? (In regard to these questions, you may want to read Plato's Apology to get a sense of how to argue the position.) Second, you must have some theory of psychology, either implied or directly stated. That is, you must establish how a reading of Fahrenheit 451 would inspire a student to flagrantly disregard authority. Why is reading bad for a student? How can it be bad? Next, you must establish how a student who reads Fahrenheit 451 will read the book and extract from it a message that says "Defy Authority Whenever Possible" and then act on this message.
You must then reconcile whatever argument you construct with the responsibilities that accompany accepting the rights of the First Amendment. Perhaps you should consider and think about the issues of free speech and fundamental rights that you may not have considered before. Indeed, you may conclude that you can't claim your own right to expression if you have the right to suppress others rights to express themselves.
In looking at censorship in Fahrenheit 451 , Bradbury sends a very direct message showing readers what can happen if they allow the government to take total control of what they do (or do not) read, watch, and discuss. For example, the government in Fahrenheit 451 has taken control and demanded that books be given the harshest measure of censorship — systematic destruction by burning.
Although the books and people have fallen victims to censorship in Fahrenheit 451 , luckily, some citizens remain who are willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure that books remain alive. As Faber notes in a conversation with Montag, "It's not books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books." Faber then continues this conversation with Montag pointing out that people need "the right to carry out actions based on what we learn [from books]. . . ."
Because the government has censored so much in its society, the citizens in Fahrenheit 451 have no idea about what is truly happening in their world. A direct result of their limited knowledge is that their entire city is destroyed because propaganda wouldn't allow individuals to see that their destruction was imminent.
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