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Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" Essay

2288 words - 9 pages

Imagine a society in which technology is so advanced that printed material is no longer necessary nor is it desired. The citizens sit in their parlors surrounded by television screens which consume their walls and constantly blare noise so stifling that one cannot even remember the plot of the show. Before bed, they plug their ears with “seashell” earphones which spew out even more clamor. In the mornings, they drive to work at 100 mph and occupy their time throughout the day with insignificant activities to the point where they cannot entertain their minds with anything meaningful. Above all, the people of this society shun books and remain ignorant about their history and anything beyond their lifestyles. This is the society which Ray Bradbury conjures up in Fahrenheit 451 using science fictional elements to convey the importance of remembering, freedom of speech, and less reliance on machinery. Science fiction was the best medium to help Bradbury express his ideas because it provides the proper balance of fiction and non-fiction which other genres cannot.
Although science fiction is classified strictly as fiction, it has elements of both non-fiction and fiction. The genre of fiction encompasses mystery, horror, action, fantasy, etc. and the genre of non-fiction can be historically or scientifically based. Science fiction is a blend of fantasy and scientific fact while not leaning too heavily on one side. To clarify, science fiction differs from fantasy because some of its imaginary elements can be made possible since they have groundings in science. Fantasy, however, is completely fabricated and cannot be justified by science. For example, science fiction can be about future technology or space travel and fantasy can be about talking animals or supernatural forces (Difference Between | Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects). Because the imaginary components of science fiction can be rationalized by potential scientific explanations, there are elements of non-fiction within this genre too. This combination of both fiction and non-fiction is well-suited for Bradbury’s purposes because although his book discusses a future society, it also mentions a great deal about how the world currently is and how it was to some degree when he wrote it in the fifties.
We might not have wall-sized television screens, remove intellectual thought from all our activities, or completely erase books from our lives, but the road we are headed presages that this could eventually occur. Already television sizes are escalating to 103 inches and in comparison to television and the internet, books are definitely not as popular (PhysOrg.com - Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine). Bradbury does not want our society to head down the same road as the one in Fahrenheit 451. He believes one of the best ways of preventing this is to always remember our history because then we can avoid...

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