Fahrenheit 451 Themes
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Fahrenheit 451 Themes
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When censoring science makes sense - CNN.com

When censoring science makes sense - CNN.com | Fahrenheit 451 Themes | Scoop.it

The relationship between knowledge and ignorance is a central theme in Fahrenheit 451, as the fire companies looked to destroy knowledge by burning countless books, thus creating an ignorant society that was uniform in its nature. The concept that knowledge is power had no meaning to the population in the Ray Bradbury’s novel, as the only “literature” that was acceptable in Guy Montag’s society were comic books and three dimensional sex magazines. At first, Montag did not question the government’s goal to keep all oblivious to the knowledge held in literature. However, Montag eventually became convinced through his interactions with Clarisse and Faber that the information held in books would lead to self-satisfaction.

The article describes one of the few instances where censoring information and keeping the general public uninformed makes sense. Recently, a federal advisory panel, the National Science Advisory Board for Biosecurity, had essentially ordered that two scientists who had researched how to modify the avian flu virus, transforming it into a deadly disease ,to withhold critical information from journals that were about to be published. Though some would see the censorship of knowledge as an evil, the author of the article, Arthur Caplan, stated that withholding scientific information from the public is necessary when the public’s safety would be otherwise jeopardized, as it would if the key information was published. After all, Caplan reasons, if the information on how to create a killer avian flu virus was possessed by the wrong hands, then the lives of many would be endangered. Thus, the government’s decision to keep the general public in ignorance protects the public rather than harms it, as the government of Fahrenheit 451 did.

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Take a timeout from technology

Take a timeout from technology | Fahrenheit 451 Themes | Scoop.it

One of the prevailing factors that led to the burning of books in Fahrenheit 451 was the total disinterest that people had in reading because they were too distracted by their radios, TV’s, fast cars, and other technological advancements. They felt that reading was boring and that their machinery was far more entertaining. The article “Take a Timeout from Technology” explains that many people today, especially the youngest portion of the population, spend countless hours on the internet, their phones, and other electronic devices each year. Simply put, people today are extremely distracted by the wonders of technology, similarly to those in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The author even states that technology, with its vast capabilities has “replaced the family dog, becoming man’s best friend” (Collacott 1). With social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter captivating millions of people around the world, the time people have for reading is devoured, as their interests is drawn to the internet and other devices rather than reading. With the average teen sending over one hundred text messages a day and spending at least three hours on the World Wide Web a day, there is very little time for them to read. When the hours spent doing homework is added to all of the hours spent sitting in front of the TV to the time spent playing games to the time spent online, there is no time left over for teenagers to read, even if they wanted to. As Montag’s wife was consumed with listening to her radio and watching her “relatives” on the TV, so people today are consumed with social networking, the internet, television, and games rather than literature.

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“Sivilizing” Twain sets watered down precedent

“Sivilizing” Twain sets watered down precedent | Fahrenheit 451 Themes | Scoop.it

There were many things that led to the fire department becoming a government force that burned books and started fires rather than putting them out. The complete disinterest in reading by the population, who instead favored their fast cars, radios, and wall to wall televisions, was a major factor that led to the banning of books. However, Ray Bradbury suggests that another, more important factor was present as well. This was the objections presented by special-interest groups as well as minorities over topics, ideas, and words in books that offended them. When Captain Beatty rants about the history of the fire department and the reasons why books became banned, he mentions many minority groups that complained when their toes were stepped on. In today’s world, many books that are considered classics are banned or censored in certain areas because of people’s objections. Many older books, such as Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn contain numerous usages of derogatory terms that are considered politically incorrect, mainly the “n” word. The article “‘Sivilizing’ Twain sets a Watered Down Precedent” describes the measures taken by minorities to remove the “n” word from the novel and the negative effect it will have on literature in the future. In the afterwards of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury expresses his belief that such changing of the substance of novels is hostile and intolerant, stating that there is more than one way to burn a book and that every minority feels that they have “the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse.” Clearly, Bradbury felt that the objections of minorities lead to changes that do immeasurable damage to the integrity of literature, such as what was done to Huckleberry Finn.

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