It’s day six of Banned Books Week! This week, I’ll be featuring one banned book each day. Today’s book is Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, he said, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 was challenged due to explicit language, alcohol use, smoking, and violence. Set in a world where all books have been outlawed, the irony of banning this particular novel was apparently lost on its detractors. Fahrenheit 451 is in part about valuing literature; books were able to become banned because society stopped valuing and demanding them.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Have you read Fahrenheit 451? Share your thoughts on it in the comments! What other novels have you read which involve the theme of censorship?