Elijah Frost 10/5/16
Reflective Essay English 8
Censorship in Fahrenheit 451
While reading the novel Fahrenheit 45, there are many themes that emerge throughout. One theme that is prevalent within every page of the story is the theme of censorship, censorship through new types of media, and destruction of old types of media. New ways of thinking have overtaken the old, and intellect is evil. And throughout the entire book, groups of people are constantly working to censor the entire world from books and what they bring to society. This book has caused me to reflect on our society and how censorship is seen within our lives. Our society is very much like the society portrayed in Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451.
From the start of part one of the novel, books were being destroyed. Firemen were violently breaking into homes, and would steal any book they could find. But they weren’t keeping these books for their own personal gains. They were taking these books to destroy them, every last one of them. Honestly, when I began to read this book, it totally confused me. I had no idea why Montag was doing what he was doing, and I had no idea what it all really meant. My first thought was they just hated books or something. Really nothing very scholarly…But when I really dove deep into the book and finished it, I came to a conclusion. What the fireman were actually doing was censoring the entire world from everything books have to offer for us.
“Do you ever read any of the books you burn?” He laughed. “That’s against the law!” (Pg. 5). This quote doesn’t explain much of anything about why they were censoring. Though it does explain that books were in fact being censored from the population. There were groups of people who were opposed (to everything in) books. Books spread intelligence, and they cause the reader to be curious and imagine. This was something the society was trying to eliminate. The society they were building, in my opinion, was attempting to become simpler. And books were getting in the way of it.
During the book, there were a few examples of how other types of media were being used to censor the reading of books. Television was used to distract people from books. It showed people the ideal way of living; it showed viewers that books weren’t needed to live in a well-functioning society. “Will you turn the parlor off?” he asked. “That’s my family.” “Will you turn it off for a sick man?” “I’ll turn it down” (Pg. 49). This quote is a dialogue between Montag and his wife Mildred. Her addiction to the TV has totally overtaken her life to the point that she believes that what she sees in the television is the ideal way to live. The television has put blinders on her eyes from the rest of the world, from a way of thinking the books were once providing for humans.
Sometimes in our lives, I believe we allow media to censor us from the world around us. We are missing out on what is happening around us due to television, internet, music, etc. Through enticing programs and the allure of simple entertainment, it’s very easy for us to become consumed with media just as Mildred was. In our case, books are not the antidote from the censorship, but avoiding television and living our lives without it is our antidote. I think the books symbolized a way to live your life. With books you lived your life with curiosity and pursuit of intelligence. Because of the censorship forced upon the people of this time, they weren’t allowed to live their lives like they would with books.
I believe that Ray Bradbury was writing this story as a warning for generations to come. During this time, America was becoming more and more focused on electronics and what they had to bring to society. Television was emerging, the internet and computers would be popular in the near future. I believe that Ray Bradbury knew that these types of things in our lives would cause us to think in a way books used to offer for us. He probably believed that these new types of media would overtake the books. In some ways I believe they have, and in some ways they haven’t. Books are still a very popular type of media within the world. But as a teenager I can say that social media, television, movies, and other types of media within our culture have become more and more popular. And I know for certain if I asked 10 people in our class what they would rather do read a book or watch Netflix they would all vote Netflix.
“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it” (Pg. 56). What I have come to believe is the firemen were symbolic of new age thinking. A way of thinking that is much simpler and that is content in living simple. This lifestyle is a lifestyle we as Americans definitely live, and I know I live this way too. This book has caused me to reflect on the way I live my life. It has caused me to reflect on how simple my life is, and how I shut out ways to allow myself to live full of curiosity and ambition. A way of life the books, in the case of Fahrenheit 451, provided.