Banned Book Week #5: Fahrenheit 451
And… the Most Ironic Banned Book Award goes to… Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” where the entire novel surrounds a government that bans and burns books. The novel is a political and social satire about a future government that destroys all books that they believe could inspire critical thought by the masses. Ironically, this book is banned because one of the books that gets burned is the Bible. Christian groups have banned this book because they believed that this book might inspire others to burn a religious text. However, that’s like saying “The Diary of Anne Frank” will inspire others to start another Holocaust. NO! The moral of the book is that book banning and burning is BAD! Burning the Bible is BAD! The culture, unable to think for itself, is at the mercy of a government that controls its every move and thought.
The novel is about a firefighter who has to burn down any houses that house books. And the general public are so terrified of the government that they hide out and fear that if they have books,they will go to prison, or worse. They are stuck in a situation where they do not know what to do and they can’t imagine a society that existed before, where people were allowed to read books and were not under so much control. So… I would think that this book would be a huge inspiration to those that do not want government control… however, it gets banned. Go figure.
Another school of thought on this issue is that this book was banned because it taught society to question authority. Remember: this book was written in the ’50 when the McCarthy era was surrounding the country. Certain groups were trying to convince the American people that they had the answers to the nation’s issues. Therefore, by having such a book as “Fahrenheit 451” that went completely against their stance, it may work against them to have a general populace thinking that an all-controlling, all-knowing government might not be the best answer for the time.
Either way— “Fahrenheit 451” just may be the most ironic book to be banned. Moral of the story: the book is a satire… Ray Bradbury doesn’t really want books to be banned or burned.