Coveting Knowledge in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

Topics: Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, Critical thinking Pages: 3 (951 words) Published: October 28, 2008
One of England’s greatest literary figures, William Shakespeare, expressed the truth about coveting knowledge by saying that “ignorance is the curse of God; knowledge is the wing wherewith we fly to heaven” (William Shakespeare Quotes). One must assume that Ray Bradbury, Author of Fahrenheit 451, learned from this. Bradbury’s novel shares a similar portrayal towards coveting knowledge. In the novel the protagonist realizes that he is living in a world where knowledge is lost. People abide by rules and restrictions given to them by the government. There is nothing in this society to make people think about how valuable knowledge is, except for books. The protagonist is a fireman whose job is to seek out books and destroy the contents. The mass population believes that books are a waste of time and useless. The protagonist also believes this until a change of heart leads to a journey of identity and curiosity. Bradbury believes that this type of world will eventually turn into our own. Clearly, Ray Bradbury’s outlook for the future of man is grim because he represses intellectual endeavor, lacks critical thinking, and becomes destructive.

First of all, Bradbury shows that when man represses intellectual endeavor, progress cannot be made. In this society, people are not allowed to be creative or make improvements as well as not being allowed to read. This is described by the protagonist Montag when he confronts the chief and explains how easy someone could change the programming of the hound. The chief tells Montag that he’s not being realistic because no one has enough knowledge to do so (Bradbury 27). This explains that people are viewed as normal or plain because no one believes that a person could think like that. Also, this is evident when Montag’s wife is watching television. Montag asks his wife “Why don’t you watch something useful for a change instead of these soaps? Because I don’t need to be useful” (Bradbury 51). This shows how most of the people...

Cited: Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Toronto: Random House, 1996.
Shakespeare, William “William Shakespeare Quotes” Brainy Quote Dec.6, 2006
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