identify an idea/theme/argument from Fahrenheit 451 and explore it both within the context of the text and as a common characteristic of the genre as a whole.

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English 103



Fahrenheit 451 addresses questions concerning the meaning of literacy in the age of technology. It also brings up issues of censorship, control of populations through control of information, entertainment as a drug, high vs low entertainment, complacency and apathy in populations that enjoy a high level of comfort, anti-intellectualism, and definitions of knowledge. This list is by no means exhaustive but identifies a variety of themes woven through the novel. It is no coincidence that these themes are common in texts within the genre of dystopic science fiction, both of the novel’s era (1950’s) as well as more contemporary representations.

For Essay #2, you will identify an idea/theme/argument from Fahrenheit 451 and explore it both within the context of the text and as a common characteristic of the genre as a whole. Your analysis must include at least 4 relevant sources (one of which will be the novel itself) related to the subject. These can be other dystopic stories and/or novels like “Those Who Walk Away from Omelas”, 1984, or The Giver, to name a few. Or you could use more discipline specific sources from the realms of psychology, sociology, philosophy and/or literary criticism as long as said sources are pertinent to your argument.

The paper will be graded on the originality of your idea, the complexity of your argument, integration of sources, the organization of your writing, and the soundness of your conclusion(s). Remember, the focus of the argument is the novel, Fahrenheit 451, and any other sources should be used as support. The novel should not become an afterthought.

6 pages double spaced

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Explanation & Answer

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Surname 1
Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written by Ray Bradbury in the 1950s that depicts a dystopian
world, where ignorance is bliss and knowledge is set on fire. Bradbury wrote this book in the
early years of the cold war when there was fear of the inevitable. Government functions were
invading people’s lives in search of communist sympathizers and there was fear of the
government going too far and completely stumping the free will of the people of America. The
government was censoring and restricting people to indulge in situations they deemed to be
associated with communism. Bradbury wrote this book in depiction of what could happen in the
event the government completely snuffed the free will if its people.
Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 also disapproved of the way the Americans lived their lives at
the time of technological development. People were more interested in entertainment than
knowledge which would ensure the death of knowledge ushering in a dead society with no
values to employ. Bradbury saw this as the beginning of the end. A society that does not seek
knowledge is a society doomed to fail and this will give way to autonomous government factions
to control the brainless masses. Bradbury’s views here is that knowledge is power and this is

Surname 2
power that people must continue to amass to be empowered against the political few. The novel
shows a world full of despair as the people have no will or drive in life. Their lives are a routine
where the government controls their every move and every information inseminated to them is
tailored. Bradbury wanted people to understand why it is important to read and think for oneself
because otherwise, death of culture occurs. There is a theme of life and death in this novel.
Life and Death.
One might think that the burning of books is the main idea in the book, but that’s just a
metaphor for the death and destruction that is met on people’s thoughts and freedom of choice.
Knowledge is power and without it, people can be easily be controlled and ruled over by elite
few. In this dystopian world that Bradbury created, life and death appear to be a situation that
exists in daily life. Life and death are usually a part of our daily life but Bradbury allows the
reader to see contradictions c...

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