Real World Censorship Through the Pen of Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury drew inspiration for his fiction work, Fahrenheit 451, from the political and social issues which confronted his generation. By fast forwarding his setting a hundred years into the future, Bradbury was able to effectively represent a governmental system which was rife with fear and directed much of its apprehension onto the people which they swore to serve. In Bradbury’s generation, more than any other, the extent and power of government was brought into question and authors, artists, and directors voiced their opinions through their respected mediums. Bradbury uses his novel to express his beliefs that the governments of his day had become overbearing and unjust. Bradbury uses symbolism to provide examples as to how governments had resorted to strict censorship and uses of propaganda to influence popular opinion.
Bradbury lived during Nazi Germany’s terrifying reign of power and symbolized the government held book burnings to the firemen in Fahrenheit 451. These book burnings became a symbol of Nazi repression. The Nazi hierarchy did this to prevent the spread of revolutionary ideas and to keep the people in a proverbial “line.” Bradbury goes as far to include a fact in the beginning of his book, “Fahrenheit 451- The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns” (Bradbury). In a blatant way, Bradbury ties the entire idea of the firemen and their pursuit of complete censorship of all outside ideas to a historical happening, in which book paper did, in fact, catch on fire and burn. He immediately jumps into the story with this fact, which helps set up one of the conflicts which takes place between the institution of the firemen and their war on books. This conflict can be directly related to a society famous for a never ending war on outside ideas. Perhaps Diane Telgen said it best, “These book burnings became a major symbol of the repression that followed Nazi Germany.”...
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