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Fahrenheit 451 Causes Thought
Fahrenheit 451 can be an extremely enlightening novel. Ray Bradbury, the author of this science-fiction work, seems to have been a genius well ahead of his time. While this book isn’t science fiction like one would associate with Star Wars or typical works of that genre, it was set forty years into the future when Bradbury originally published the piece. With themes of censorship, conformity, and ignorance, the novel can cause a great deal of uneasiness and fear at the thought of some of the events in the novel actually coming to fruition. Whether studying this novel with a class or simply reading it for pleasure, Fahrenheit 451 gives readers a sense of the importance of individualism and critical thinking.
Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a futuristic society where books have been banned. Reading and owning books are both illegal and even punishable by death. The firemen in this society do not put out fires, but instead, they start them. When books are found, firemen make quick work of burning the books. The title of the novel comes from the temperature at which paper burns, 451 degrees Fahrenheit. While the people of this society appear happy and rely on television for entertainment, they are simply ignorant due to their inability to read books and gain education to formulate their own ideas.
Bradbury’s seemingly pessimistic views of technology and its potential outcomes can definitely serve as cause for concern. While Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in the early 1950s, he makes mention of present day technology that had not yet come into existence at the time of publication. He talks about interactive, full-screen viewers. This is very similar to present day technology of flat screen televisions, projectors, and SMART Boards. Bradbury also refers to seashells. These are similar to current day ear-buds or Bluetooth devices. In the futuristic society Bradbury creates, these technologies have become so advanced that they completely captivate people. Society has become brainwashed and completely void of thought because they rely on technology for everything.
While Bradbury’s ideas may have seemed far-fetched and impossible at the time, they have become a sad reality. Society has become too dependent upon technology, and social media has caused most people to expect instant access to information. Actual conversation and quality time has been reduced to emotionless communication via technology. Someone can hide behind their internet façade and appear a certain way to their “friends.”
Bradbury was not against technology, but he understood the fine line between usefulness and dependence. Fahrenheit 451 can show the potential dangers that can result due to reliance on technology. The hypothetical society created by Bradbury helps to illustrate the outcomes of losing the desire to learn and think. This novel can cause someone to really consider the importance of individuality and thought.