the Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 was written by Ray Bradbury in the 1980s, yet more than two decades later, it is amazingly exemplary triumph, in trying to explore various themes is unmatched. Ray Bradbury gives literature a different touch that leaves the reader thinking deeply about the various issues that have been raised in the novel. The book Fahrenheit 451 explores numerous emerging topics that only a keen reader can unravel. This paper seeks to highlight the major themes that Ray Bradbury has sought to explore in this piece.
Censorship is a theme that has been highlighted to a high degree by the author. For instance, the book does not give a logical and clear explanation as to why books are totally banned in the future. Instead, the novel goes ahead to give numerous suggestions as to why this situation arises. In the context of the book, two major factors are blamed for the reason as to which books are banned. This, in itself, is considered censorship. First, the author suggests that in the future, people gradually lose interest in reading books. The author, however, fails to point clearly exactly to what factor causes a loss in interest. Instead, a few events are advanced in the novel that makes the reader conclude as to what likely causes the loss of interest in books. Apparently, in the future, there emerge competing forms of entertainment such as radio and television. To think broadly, Ray Bradbury explores that the presence of such things as fast cars and loud music are stimulation enough to shift the attention of people from books towards such forms of media. Also Ray Bradbury is of the opinion that, at the time, the volumes of pieces of literature being published is overwhelming leading to a situation where people in the society read books that are more condensed rather than reading the primary content in detail. Another group of factors that the author thinks leads to the so called hostility towards books is envy. People don’t want to feel inferior of having read lesser books than their colleagues. However, the most significant factor that the author blames for the censorship is minority groups that potentially feel offended by the content that is found in books. The author is very keen to refrain from pinpointing racial minorities. Instead, in the book, Beatty is seen to mention cat lovers and dog lovers. It is, therefore, the task of the reader to try and draw inferences to determine what the author is trying to talk about.
Knowledge versus Ignorance has come out clearly in the novel. Faber, Beatty, and Montag’s struggles are seen to revolve around this theme. In the novel, the fireman is depicted as having one responsibility, and that is to promote ignorance by destroying knowledge with the goal of trying to make all people equal. Montag’s makes an encounter with Faber and a certain old woman. It is at this time that Montag comes to cast major doubt on the effective of this intervention n in trying to promote sameness (Bradbury 58). His quest for knowledge destroys the ignorance that had initially engulfed him. The knowledge that he seeks allows him to question every basic belief that society holds. The author seeks to explain the change in the order in the society. In his opinion, in the future times are likely to change. The line between ignorance and knowledge will likely be thin because people have lost interest in books for the love of the new entertainment avenues such as television and radio. The author thinks that technology likely has a negative impact on knowledge seeking.
Religion has been given great consideration in the novel based on the great detail that it has been explored with. Some religious references have been used in Fahrenheit 451. The author uses various styles to depict religion. References are made both directly and indirectly to religious texts, specifically, the Bible. For instance, Friends to Mildred remind Montag about symbols they once encountered in a church of which they failed to unravel the meanings that the symbols had (Bradbury 76). Faber highlights the Christian concept of forgiveness. After Montag turns his back against the society, Faber reminds him that he should show pity and remorse rather than showing fury since he once belonged to this society. Faber explores the Christian principle of forgiveness. The novel further contains descriptions of the miracle that happened in Canan, a direct reference to the holy book- The Bible. In the novel, Faber describes himself as water while he depicts Montag as being fire. In the Christian version, Jesus transforms water into wine as a tactic to restore the faith of his followers to him. Faber desires to use the same method to prove his identity. Ultimately, in the dying moments of the novel, Ray Bradbury makes a more direct reference to the Bible. After the bombing of the city, Granger’s group together with Montag, and walk upstream with the desire of saving survivors. Montag is optimistic that they will talk. He goes ahead, and brainstorms on the exact Bible verse that relates to this and he comes up with Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To everything there is a season” (Bradbury 87). He further makes a few references to the verses in the book of revelations.
Blood has been mentioned throughout the novel. Blood in the novel has been used as a theme to symbolize human being instinctive self and repressed souls. Montag feels that the most revolutionary thoughts that he has circulated in his blood. Mildred, whose self is depicted to be lost, remains totally unchanged even after her poisoned blood is physically replaced (Bradbury 56). The symbol of blood has been intimately associated with the snake machine. Mildred’s poisoned blood has been used by the author to advance the thinking that Mildred and many like her have lost the basic sense of life that is permanent despite any intervention that can be made.
The sieve and the sand is a complex theme that requires the reader to be explorative so as to unravel what the author is trying to imply. The second topic in this novel labeled ‘the sieve and the sand’ is drawn from Montag’s memory of his childhood. Montag remembers an event at the beach in which he tries to fill a sieve with sand with the goal of getting a dime from one of his cousins. The quest ends in futility due to the frustrating nature of the exercise which is impossible. Montag relates this intriguing memory to his attempt of trying to read the Bible within a short time with the hope of drawing sense from the many scriptures in the book (Bradbury 38). Montag hopes that if he reads the bible fast enough, some of the content will automatically stick. In simpler terms, the sand symbolizes the tangible truth that Montag seeks to highlight while the sieve represents the human mind that must sieve the finer details and separate the wanted from the unwanted.
The theme of nature bears great importance in the novel. In the book, nature is compared to innocence and truth. Scenic, untouched and beautiful, nature has not been given the relevant appreciation in the book as it is in society. For instance, Clarisse explores that if a driver is shown a green blur, they would claim that that is grass (Bradbury 146). When the same person is shown a pink blur, they would think it is a rose. This simply implies that even if someone were driving so fast in nature and passed objects, they would still be able to identify them, however, blurred the vision would seem.
The novel Fahrenheit 451 proves to be a great piece of literature that seeks to bridge the gap between the explorative mind and the mind that thinks literally. The author does not run short of the themes he advances in the book. The book can only be labeled a masterpiece in the way the author has sought to intelligently, yet artistically explore relevant themes in his work. To the ordinary reader, Fahrenheit 451 is just a story as any other. However, a keen mind draws many inferences to the various topics that the author has carefully chosen to highlight.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2012. Print.
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