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A Guide to the Allusions in Fahrenheit 451
Transcript of A Guide to the Allusions in Fahrenheit 451
Quote From Book
“Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it” (Bradbury 59).
The Story of Little Black Sambo
was a book written and illustrated in 1899 by Helen Bannerman, and first published by Grant Richards. The book is about a little South Indian boy named Sambo, who just got new colorful clothing. When he is out playing around, he is met by 4 tigers that want his new clothes and umbrella. They threaten to eat him if he doesn’t hand over his supplies, so he gives them his things. Each tiger thinks that the one is better looking than the other, so they get into an argument and end up chasing each other around a tree, where they are reduced to a pool of melted butter. Sambo grabs his clothes and other items and his mother then makes pancakes from the butter.
In some areas, like Japan, the book was loved and not thought of as bad or controversial, even though the book was subject to piracy. In 1953, Iwanami Shoten Publishing first published the book. Sambo had been illustrated as a black child rather than an Indian boy, and the book used some pictures from American versions of the book.
The book became highly successful so people started making pirated, inexpensive versions of the book, changing Sambo into a black child and incorporating typical black stereotypes, which may have contributed to the word Sambo being used as a racial slur.
In 1932, Langston Hughes criticized the book as a typical “pickaninny” storybook that is hurtful to black children so the book was then removed from lists of books recommended for children. Some modern versions of the story have been revised and in 1950, Peter Pan Records made an audio version and changed the title to a racially neutral title of Little Brave Sambo.
The book was originally portrayed as a positive children’s book when it was first published, when Sambo was an Indian boy, but when the book was pirated and Sambo was changed into a black child, people looked at this book in a negative way. The irony of this is that Helen Bannerman made it to be a nice children’s book when the public viewed it as unacceptable and they took the book away from places like libraries and recommended books lists.
In 1988, the book was taken off the shelves of stores because copyright issues had been brought up. Before the book was taken down, it had sold over 1,000,000 copies. When the copyright had expired, Kodansha and Shogakukan, the two largest publishers in Japan, had the book officially published and now the book is still in print. In august 2011, a “side story” was published in Japan called Ufu and Mufu, and is still sold today.
By Alex Cabrera
Wikipedia contributors. “The Story of Little Black Sambo.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 2 Apr. 2014. Web. 19 Apr. 2014
In Fahrenheit 451, Beatty says colored people didn’t like the book The Little Black Sambo, so the book should be burned. When the book is burned, the book would disappear out of peoples memory and the book would no longer upset people. In the book, Beatty also says “Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean” (Bradbury 60) which shows that they use fire to make people forget about the things that they don't want them to know. Beatty says “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.“ (Bradbury 61) The goal is to keep the public in a state of ignorance so that they have a sense of peacefulness and serenity.