Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
By Ray Bradbury
Consider the books you have read in the past, either for school or
pleasure. Which one would you point to as the most influential on
you as a person? Explain in a brief paragraph why this book had
such a profound impact on you. What did you learn from it? How
has it affected your life or way of thinking?
Follows a man named Montag, a fireman whose job is to start fires rather
than stop them.
Where: An unnamed city in the USA.
The 24th century
What is this book about?:
A society where books and free thought are banned.
People who are addicted to television and mind-numbing substances.
A repressive government who insists that everyone be happy and submissive.
A man who fights to overturn this repression.
A mechanical dog??????
What is this book’s genre?
• Utopia vs. Dystopia
• Utopia: an ideal community with a perfect socio-
political-legal system
• Dystopia: a society in a repressive or controlled
state under the guise of a utopia (anti-utopia)
• Many works of fiction are categorized as dystopian
(Hunger Games, The Giver, Feed, The City of
Why read Fahrenheit 451?
• Understand the political and historical context
of the novel.
• Draw comparisons to the present day.
• Understand the nature of censorship and
some of its history.
• Focus on the literary elements of character,
symbol, and allusion.
The 1950s Environment
• Involved in the Cold War with the Soviet
• US concerned with spread of communism
• Senator Joseph McCarthy’s accusations rock
• Television tries to promote perfect happiness
• The suppression of communication which may
be considered objectionable, harmful, or
inconvenient to the general public.
• In Fahrenheit 451, censorship actually begins
with the people.
• Books and thought cause unhappiness and
Nazi Germany
Ballantine Books originally published the novel in 1953, but in
1967 brought out a special edition to be sold to high schools. Without
informing Bradbury or putting a note in the edition, the publisher
modified seventy-five passages in the novel in order to eliminate words
like “hell,” “damn” and “abortion.” The expurgated edition was sold for
thirteen years before a friend of Bradbury’s alerted him to the problem.
Bradbury demanded that Ballantine withdraw the version and replace it
with the original. Ballantine agreed. The publicity generated by the
expurgated version of Fahrenheit 451 caused the American Library
Association’s Intellectual Freedom Committee to investigate other
school books and use its considerable economic clout to warn
publishers about expurgations and demand that any excised versions be
clearly identified. (from www.trib.com)
“Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in
Why do you think people
choose to censor some
What do you think it reveals
about a person who seeks to
censor something?
Book Challenges 2000-2009
#1 Harry Potter
#5 Of Mice and Men
#8 The Golden Compass…
#21 To Kill a Mockingbird
#22 Gossip Girl series
#60 Speak
#74 The Lovely Bones
#86 Cut
#89 Friday Night Lights
Also…Crank, The Hunger Games, Twilight series, ttyl
series, Diary of Anne Frank
Just Five Years Ago…
Major Characters
• Guy Montag – protagonist, fireman, married
to Mildred
• Mildred Montag – Guy’s wife
• Clarisse – A strange young girl who talks to
Montag one night
• Beatty – antagonist, the captain of Montag’s
fire company

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