The Art of Burning Books: Fahrenheit 451

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The Art of Burning Books

Fahrenheit 451 is a book that at first glance deals with censorship. Censorship has always been an issue with different governments across the world. From the Bible being banned in countries where Christianity is not practiced by the majority to the recent WikiLeaks scandal in which the website has published secret government documents on various international wars and affairs that have been kept from the general public, censorship is practiced in all countries. Since Ray Bradbury’s novel deals with this kind of governmental censorship of knowledge and information, it is easy to interpret that he wrote this book to condemn the government’s power over the public. Book burning is one of the most extreme, but also common censorships out there. It is one of the easiest ways to suppress information, but in a way, it is also the most violent. The destruction of someone’s ideas and thoughts lead Bradbury to create a group of characters who try to memorize the books’ content to keep those ideas alive. It is a powerful image and a powerful way to fight censorship. This motif is close to Bradbury’s heart for two reasons. As a writer, he is completely against editors censoring the creativity and originality of authors as they did during the days he published this novel. The second point is that he lived the aftermaths of WWII and the on-setting Red Scare that occurred within the United States. A climate like that would’ve made anyone question censorship. There is a sense of oppression in the society that Bradbury builds for Montag and his friends. Though characters like his wife Mildred do not see it, Clarisse, Faber, and the woman who chooses to be burned alongside her books fight against this social regime. The intelligence and enlightenment they gain from reading makes them understand that the society they live in is oppressive. Montag joins their views as he discovers the knowledge books hold and his world of ignorance and bliss turns into...
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