Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury is one of the best science fiction books of the twentieth century. This popular fiction is in the top of the greatest fiction books of all times together with “The Time Machine” by H. G. Wells, “Stranger in a Strange Land” by R. Heinlein, “The Foundation Series” by Isaac Asimov, “Dune” by Frank Herbert etc. “Fahrenheit 451” had a great impact on American culture and society. It still provokes numerous discussions and reflections on its basis.
“Fahrenheit 451” is a reflection of a cultural climate of the contemporary America. The themes described in the novel are not strange for the American society today. The problems of censorship, individuality and society, absence of interpersonal relationships are the themes Ray Bradbury described in his novel. Moreover, the author predicted the future in his book. That is why this fiction remains very famous nowadays. True-to-life stories would not create such a resonance in literature. Science fiction appeared to be the best to look at reality in a completely new way.
The author portrayed the totalitarian society ruled by censorship and passiveness in mind, where firemen were no longer protectors. The title of the book describes the temperature of the paper burning. Ray Bradbury was against the Internet, but for the books. He did not want American society to become narrow-minded and indifferent. His was afraid that it would become obsessed with the Internet and television, which would decrease its intellectual development. Furthermore, the novel was published after the Second World War when there were censorship and blacklisting in the United States.
Ray Bradbury tells a story of the futuristic America. It is a completely new world with no individualities. Television is the best entertainment. Robotic people seem to have no values in life and no perspectives. The firemen are not defenders anymore; they destroy the books, the symbol of mind and intellectual development. The author introduces Guy Montag, the protagonist whose character changes and develops through the story. He is a fireman and a typical representative of that society. Clarisse McClellan changes his life. She is different. She is emotional and cares for the books he burns. On the other hand, there is Montag’s wife, a passive and indifferent woman. There is no affection or love between Montag and his wife Mildred. They are a family, but absolutely strange on the spiritual level.
There is occurs a change in Montag’s consciousness. He is hiding the books from the firemen. He tries to involve his wife in reading and discussing of the books. But, she is not able to understand or discuss them. Montag longs for company and understanding. He remembers about Fiber, an old English professor. Fiber becomes Montag’s companion and a teacher. Now, they can communicate through seashell radio.
Unfortunately, Montag is being persecuted by Beatty and the Mechanical Hound. He manages to escape and meets Granger, a leader of the outlaw group. He finally meets people who are preserving books by memorizing them. Montag becomes a living version of a book as well. The war begins.
Science fiction was very popular in post-war period. It was a distraction for the contemporary society. Thus, “Fahrenheit 451” was not simply an entertainment. It was a challenge, which provoked much discussion and intellectual discourse. This novel received much more attention than other fictional works. Science fiction involved new readers and it became successful owing to “Fahrenheit 451”, where the readers found new themes, motifs and problems. The effect of technology is emphasized through the whole book. For example, the Mechanical Hound monitors the order in society.
The fact that the novel was a masterpiece was obvious. There were many followers as well as critics. Some people hated or loved it; the others were puzzled or cautious about it. Thus, the book was influential, because many people realized that the society in “Fahrenheit 451” resembled the situation in the United States. Ray Bradbury created a controversial novel. But, he was not afraid of critics. He fought for his society not to become ignorant and anti-intellectual.
The novel “Fahrenheit 451” is of great cultural significance. It opens the eyes of Americans on urgent problems. The author warns his readers against turning into mindless materialistic people without values. He stresses on the importance of individuality, intelligence, love and affection, ambitions and progress in mind. Despite the fact that humans create robots, they cannot turn into robots themselves or let robots monitor people. Moreover, it is a regress when people become devoid of emotions and passions in their lives. Finally, the society without books is poor and hedonistic. So, it is obvious that the themes raised in the book are even more important nowadays.
“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury is an undisputable masterpiece. The book was a revolution in 1950s and remains discussed today. Its central idea of censorship and the banning of the books opened the eyes of several generations on vital problems of their societies. The novel became popular far beyond American borders, because the themes described are common for many nationalities.
Fiction books are very popular nowadays. “Fahrenheit 451” proved to be an influential tool in addressing the reader on vital problems. Moreover, there are other popular contemporary fiction books, which are of great cultural significance. For instance, the series about Harry Potter attracted millions of children and teenagers to reading. The world of magic is so absorbing and interesting that there are more and more young readers involved. Furthermore, the language of the book is very vivid and colorful, which enriches the mind of readers and develops their imagination. “The Twilight” series, in its turn, reinforces and discusses the traditional gender roles. Contemporary society questions the stereotypes of gender and social norms through the books, films and media. The image of a woman and a man is different in the book. Its characters obtain new qualities and types of behavior. So, popular fiction is an effective tool in raising various themes and problems in contemporary society.