Essays: Fahrenheit 451
Write a well structured essay that thoroughly addresses one of the following prompts. As usual, make sure your essay includes: an attention-grabbing introduction and a strong thesis; 3 – 4 strong body paragraphs that support the thesis and include evidence (quotes) from the book; and a conclusion that reviews the thesis and ends with a punch.
1. Beatty tells Montag that it was the minorities that first began to censor books (and remember that he’s not just talking about racial minorities). Explain how the minorities began the censorship movement in Fahrenheit 451 and then analyze our own society. Does our society have similar problems? How so? Are we in danger of becoming like the society in Fahrenheit 451? How can we avoid this pitfall?
2. Faber discusses three things that are missing from the Fahrenheit 451 society. These missing things are the reasons why the people in this society don’t want or need books. Identify and explain the three reasons Faber gives and then analyze our own society to see if we suffer from the same maladies that infect the Fahrenheit 451 society.
3. Choose one of the short stories we read last week, “A Sound of Thunder” or “Harrison Bergeron,” and compare/contrast it with Fahrenheit 451. Consider the following aspects of each story: theme, setting, values of each society, and final outcome for characters and society.
4. Bradbury has said that his book is about the TV replacing books in society, not about censorship. What types of technologies have replaced books in Bradbury’s future? Do we see this technology today, 60 years after Fahrenheit 451’s publication? Do you think Bradbury was right to fear that modern technology would replace books? Do you think books are appropriately valued in our society (as in not valued too much or too little)? How are books different from TV or movies (according to Bradbury, and according to you)?
5. One theme in this book is happiness vs. discontentment. Are the people in the Fahrenheit 451 society happy? What does true happiness look like? Which characters are happy and why? Which characters are unhappy and why? Evaluate the happiness of our own society. Do we suffer from some of the same maladies that infect the Fahrenheit 451 society?
6. Creative option: Re-write the ending to Fahrenheit 451 or write a new chapter. Many readers are disappointed that Clarisse does not reappear at the end, or that we never know exactly what happens to Faber, or Montag, for that matter. While writing, you must consider how the characters would actually act and what they would actually say and do based on our knowledge of them. For some ideas (Bradbury himself has questioned the ending and has been tempted to change it) see the Afterword (starting on page 167). Your piece should clearly reflect your understanding of the themes and characters in the novel (in other words, don’t go completely off track and imagine Montag ending up in an ice crystal on Mars).
Rubric: Fahrenheit 451 Essay
Essay begins with a strong introduction and thesis_____/8
Thesis is supported with 3 strong body paragraphs that sufficiently address the prompt_____/10
Essay contains specific and apt references to the novel: quotes, examples, paraphrase_____/10
Essay contains a conclusion that ends with a “bang”: restates main points, interesting_____/7
Essay uses strong grammar_____/5
Essay contains strong sentence structure_____/5
Rubric: Fahrenheit 451 Essay: Creative Option
Piece makes sense within the context of the F 451˚ world_____/10
Piece holds true to the characters of the novel: i.e. what they would do and say_____/10
Piece demonstrates a deep level of understanding of the themes and ideas of the novel_____/10
Piece demonstrates thoughtfulness and is interesting to the reader_____/5
Piece uses strong grammar_____/5
Piece contains strong sentence structure_____/5