Research Paper on Fahrenheit 451
When Ray Bradbury sat down and decided to write Fahrenheit 451, he knew that our country was headed in the wrong direction. He saw our society taking a turn for the worst. I do not believe that our country will ever reach the extremities that Fahrenheit 451 reached, but I do believe that our society resembles some aspects of the society in the book. Our culture in the United States is already banning books, starting to lack interest in reading, and trying so hard to equalize everyone.
One aspect our society has that is expressed throughout that book is the hostility our citizens have towards books. Today it is very hard for schools to make a reading list for students. They can not put a lot of classics on the list because the minorities in our society cry discrimination and prejudice at the drop of a hat.
They become too sensitive when it comes to the decades when their ancestors where slaves. A lot of the classic novels are set in that time period. The authors are not trying to hurt feelings, but to give people today a historically accurate book. Some books that have been banned from such lists include To Kill A Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn.
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These books are being banned because minority groups can not read passed a couple of words or phrases to actually find the real messages that the authors are trying to get across.
Another aspect that is used in the book from our society is that no one is interested in reading anymore. People in our society are turning away from reading and instead spending time in the world of media. The average amount of time that kids ages two through eighteen spend using media a day is five-and-a-half hours. As reported in 1999, an average American child grows up in a home with three TV sets, three tape players, three radios, two CD players, two VCRs, one video game console, and one computer. Also in 1999, the average amount that kids spent watching TV per day was two hours and forty-six minutes. That is a lot of TV watching compared to the forty-four minutes that is averaged for how long a kid spends reading for fun a day. The lack of reading shows in statistics taken from everyone in our society.
While six million videos are rented daily, only three million public library items are checked out daily. It is not only children that our consumed in all the media, but also students attending high school. Scores from College Board verbal exams have dropped dramatically between 1972 and 1990.
Decreasing from one hundred twelve thousand to seventy-two thousand students scoring between a six hundred and eight hundred on the verbal section of the SAT. Analysts believe that the dropped scores are due to students replacing extensive reading with TV viewing. Also the huge mass of published material can be so overwhelming that students no longer read the full version of novels. Students are starting to read condensed books known as “Cliff Notes”. Since media and technology has become part of everyday life, we are starting to stop doing everyday tasks and letting our technological machines do it for us. In the book this occurs as well, because when books were taken out of their society, people no longer had the knowledge to do simple tasks. Instead machines did it for them.
The biggest issue in the society of the book is everyone has to be equal. They took away the books to make everything more equalized. As a result to all this, the characters in the book became non-threatening and non-interesting humans. Our society has been pushing since the equal rights movement started to be treated equal. Now there are no pre-set requirements when entering the honors program when you are in Elementary school. Kids who are not qualified for these programs can get put into them because our nation wants everyone to be treated equally and be given a fair chance. Previous performance in class and on tests no longer matters. Also one reason why we have standardized dress now is to make everyone equal. The administration feels that if we have tags on our clothes, individuals will target out other students who do not have the same clothing and discriminate against them.
Also our government is trying to make us more equal in the way we pay our taxes. The more money you make and spend, the more taxes you have to pay. That way the rich people are losing more money per year and the poor people are not paying as much. This provides everyone to start getting closer in the money they make. Every year the United States seems to take one step further in becoming equal.
Again, I do not think that our society is or ever will reach the extremities that Fahrenheit 451 does. But our society does suggest a lot of comparisons. Our reading levels are dropping and our time spent with media is growing. I am trapped in this situation right now as well. I would rather be watching my favorite TV show than reading. I wait until the last possible second to do homework and end up using condensed books rather than reading the full novel. If our society’s reading time does not start to pick up, our turn for the worst will become even a sharper turn.
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A WORLD WITH NO BOOKS
Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 was an interesting Science fiction thriller that provided an
odd view on the censorship of books. Not just some books, but all books. An entire distorted
culture and civilization where all books are prohibited. And the penalty for being caught with
books is that the books must be burned and in some cases the penalty may lead to death. In this
tale of censorship and self discovery, Bradbury leads the reader through a short period in the
life of the protagonist, Guy Montag. A firefighter struggling with his conscience to determine if
a society without books is right. Fahrenheit 451 has an entertaining theme and plot and a well
paced story line. This book combines catchy description and well thought out characters to put
together a gripping story that keeps the readers attention. It is interesting to see how a once
controversial topic could create such a dystopia in one place.
Fahrenheit 451 had many examples of good writing techniques that made it a good novel.
One technique that Bradbury did a good job of using was description. He described things
specifically using outstanding similes and personifications. One example is how he mentioned
the fire hose. He called it "the great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world."
(Bradbury 3) This made the reader not only visualize the hose but get a feel for the mood about
the firemen at that time. Another example of good description is how he described the physical
appearance of the firemen. "Their charcoal hair and their soot-colored brows and their
bluish-ash-smeared cheeks where they had shaven close." (32) The adjectives charcoal and
soot-colored describe the color of their hair but also are words that relate to their job as a
fireman. Finally, an excellent example of Bradbury's descriptive writing was when Montag
pulled the trigger and set Captain Beatty on fire. "There was a hiss like a great mouthful of
spittle banging a red-hot stove, a bubbling and frothing as if salt had been poured over a
monstrous black snail to cause a terrible liquefaction and a boiling over of yellow foam." (117)
A different aspect of writing that made Fahrenheit 451 a good story was the way he kept
the book well paced. There were few dead spots in the story and few spots that pushed the
storyline along too quickly. Another aspect of the story that made it enjoyable was the
characters and their relations to each other. Each character brought a special part to the story
that effected the plot and other characters. One of the most important characters was Clarrise.
She was the teenage girl that began Montag's self realization that a world with no books was
wrong. For that, Montag had a special appreciation for her. She stated that ,"Didn't firemen
prevent fires rather than stoke them up and get them going." (33) Another relationship in this
novel that made it good was that of Montag and Captain Beatty. Throughout most of the story
had a strange fear and hatred towards Captain Beatty. When Montag started to collect books
from the houses he and other firemen burned, he got extremely paranoid and edgy with Beatty.
He began to see Beatty as the absolute opposite of what he wanted to become. Captain Beatty
represented all of the evil in what they did to the books. He taunted Montag for wanting to
change his life around. "Go ahead now you, second hand litterateur, pull the trigger." (117) This
was how Montag was treated moments before he was about to end Beatty's life. In all effect, the
relationships in this novel proved to be very relevant and well thought out.
Fahrenheit 451 was an excellent book that would interest many different types of people.
It contains a plot that brushes very close to a dystopia that could happen in our culture today.
Therefore creating a unique element of suspense. Fahrenheit 451 is also a story about self
discovery and change. Readers would enjoy to read through Montag's confusion with figuring
out right and wrong, and avoiding a government filled with ignorance. This book proves to be
packed with action, adventure and emotion. It is a science fiction tale that will surly continue to
intrigue minds, young and old for generations to come.
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