Fahrenheit 451: Banned Books Week

Fahrenheit 451
Image via Wikipedia

To kick off my week of posts for Banned Books Week, I’m going to start off with the banned/challenged book that is to me the most ironic, Ray Bradbury‘s classic novel  Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian tale of a world where reading is illegal and books are burned. The story revolves around Guy Montag a ‘fireman’ who after a series of events begins to question the state of their society. I remember having to read the novel for English class and found it to be a good read, and thought provoking.

The irony of banning a book which has a plot revolving around the burning of books and the control of information is incredible. The obvious interpretation of the book is as a criticism of government sponsored censorship.

However in the process of researching this post I found Bradbury is on record as saying otherwise. The story, he says, was never about government censorship, or Senator McCarthy (which might also have made sense). But, in fact was about television and how it was detrimental to literature and reading.

Now I do find this more than sightly interesting, I do wonder if Bradbury is being a bit revisionist here.  After all he has had decades between publication and 2007 (when he was interviewed) to set the record straight. He even had an official biography that said otherwise that he didn’t correct.

Either way, this book is a wonderful example of literature and as with all books shouldn’t be banned.

Other posts in this series here

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