- Slides: 21
Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 is about a society which believes books are bad influences and should be destroyed. This society also avoids thinking, primarily by being surrounded by television screens – mindless tv shows as a distraction to knowledge of the real world. In order to prepare for the issues in the book, answers the questions below. Then as you read the novel, consider how the characters feel and how the author feels about each of these issues.
Fahrenheit 451 is a social criticism that warns against the danger of suppressing thought through censorship and media. Developed in the years immediately following WWII, Fahrenheit 451 condemns not only the anti-intellectualism of Nazi Germany, but more immediately America in the early 1950 s – the heyday of Mc. Carthyism
1950 s The era following WWII in the United States was know for its productivity, its affluence, and its social conformity The economy was strong The technology of tv, air travel, and the transistor brought the future to the forefront The neighborhood Montag lives in probably looks like Levittown
Levittown (New York was the 1 st one) Conformity
Conformity Here is an example of the type of ‘ 50 s conformity propaganda that was prevalent at the time https: //www. youtube. com/watch? v=JDz. Ni. Vs KWIs Why was this done?
Major science fiction books of the 50 s: I, Robot by Isaac Asimov The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury The Illustrated Man by Bradbury The Currents of Space by Asimov Lord of the Flies by William Golding Solar Lottery by Philip K. Dick
Although the 50 s are remembered as a decade of peace and prosperity, they were anything but The Korean War, which ended in the year that Fahrenheit 451 was published, (1953) saw tens of thousands of American deaths The Cold War was a lingering anxiety People worried that the world could be destroyed with the push of a button
Censorship at this time was alive and well Comic books were condemned as subversive by parents and educators This was a time of atomic tests, racial segregation, government censorship, and growing angst In 1946 there were only about 7, 000 television sets in US – that was ½ of 1% of the population! By 1950, 55% of American households had televisions. By 1962, 90% of American households had telvisions!
PROGRESS THROUGH SCIENCE 1951 – 1 st IBM mainframe computer 1952 – Hydrogen bomb test 1953 – DNA structure discovered 1954 – Salk vaccine tested for polio 1957 – 1 st commercial U. S. Nuclear Power Plant 1957 – Russians launch Sputnik I 1958 – NASA was created
Atomic testing: 1946 -1962 – US exploded 217 nuclear weapons over the Pacific and in Nevada Created the “duck and cover generation”
Ray Bradbury Born August 22, 1920, in Waukegan, IL Starting writing Fahrenheit 451 in 1950. The first, shorter draft was called “The Fireman”. He finished the final version in 1953
Genre Science Fiction Unlike fantasy, science fiction describes things that are plausible, based on the best scientific knowledge at the time. Science fiction often considers the effect that technology might have on society. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury speculates that things intended to make like easier and more pleasant – cars, mas media, technology – may actually rob people of the ability to think and relate to one another DO YOU SEE ANY EXAMPLES OF THIS HAPPENING TODAY? HOW?
Themes Censorship Knowledge vs. Ignorance Technology Identity Conformity vs. Individuality Progress can actually be dangerous or harmful The thinking man or woman will always be at odds with society Reason can be used as a weapon to defend wrong as well as right. People should make their own choices and be careful about accepting what they hear.
Motifs Motif and theme are linked in a literary work, but there is a difference between them. In a literary piece, a motif is a recurrent image, idea, or symbol that develops or explains a theme, while a theme is a central idea or message. Keep track of motifs in Fahrenheit
QUESTIONS TO THINK ABOUT How is knowledge power? How do we benefit from ideas and learning different points of view? Why would those in control of a society want to suppress knowledge?
Why are ideas dangerous? What ideas historically have been dangerous?
Is more technology always a good thing? What are the costs and benefits of technology?
Is there an idea you would be willing to die for? Explain why.
If you were going to write a book, what would it contain? What things do you think are important for the world to know?
If all books in the world were going to be burned tomorrow and you could only save one, which would it be and why?