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Transcript of Fahrenheit 451
"Ray Bradbury is one of those rare individuals whose writing has changed the way people think. His more than five hundred published works -- short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse -- exemplify the American imagination at its most creative."
Dystopian fiction questions the government and its allotment of power. Many of these texts imagine what would happen if governmental leaders abused their power and how this would affect citizens.
Fahrenheit 451 (1953)
Dystopian fiction: opposite of paradise
dys = bad ; topia = place
Depicts the future as a place that outlaws and burns books
World War II has recently ended (1945);
the US dropped the first atomic bombs
on Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Japan)
Bradbury was influenced by the book
burnings of the Nazi regime in Germany
in the 1930s
Also inspired by political repression and
dictatorship in the Soviet Union and Spain
even after WWII ends—books burned,
Historical Context (cont.)
Consumerism spreads to China in 1949 (aka
the encouragement of purchasing goods and
services in large amounts)
Threat of nuclear war increases during the
cold war between the Soviet Union and the
By the 1950s, most Americans were members
of the middle class (hence they had more
money to buy more stuff!)
More money = able to buy more things = success
Historical Context (cont.)
The electronics industry is booming and
television has a widespread impact in American
Increase in prosperity after the war leads to an
increase in passivity and conformity as well.
Jobs were plentiful at the time and the common
adage was “follow your orders and you will
succeed” (we see this in the beginning with the
main character, Guy Montag)
In 1979, Bradbury discovers that parts of his novel have been censored without his consent.
“Students, reading the novel which, after all, deals with censorship and book-burning in the future, wrote to tell me of this exquisite irony.” (“Coda” 1979)
“Book burning is the practice of ceremoniously destroying by fire one or more copies of a book or other written material. In modern times other forms of media, such as CDs and video tapes have also been ceremoniously burned or torched.”
Book-burning is often done publically as a religious, moral, or political objection to themes and messages in texts.
Turn to a blank page in the “Writing” section of your writer’s notebook
Write on the following prompt:
What does the phrase “book burning” mean to you? What does it mean to burn a book—what message does it send? Are there instances when book burning is okay? (1 full paragraph; 5-7 sentences)
Bellringer – Tues 8/21/12
(BGSU's Curriculum Resouce Center)