Monday, March 17, 2014

Thoughts on a Classic : Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury

So, as you may know I work at a library. This year, I wanted to challenge myself to read classics. One of my co-workers said she would love to do that too so we decided that we could pick books and do it together. Then when talking to a patron who was checking out some classics for the same reason we decided to form a Classics only book group. Our first read was a short one to ease people into it.
Fahrenheit 451 was an assigned reading book in school. I don't think I ever actually read it though. Maybe I skimmed it, but we always went over what we were supposed to have read in class the next day, so I just didn't take the time to read them because they made my brain hurt or I was lazy. I'm really glad that I had a chance to read this one now though because it is so relevant today. It's maybe even more relevant now than it was when it was written some fifty odd years ago.
It's actually pretty eerie how closely Bradbury's fictitious world mirrors our current state. Technology is very big and people are consuming it even without really comprehending what they are viewing. And, the written word is literally being burned because people are afraid of thinking. I like that Bradbury made a point of not including a real higher authority. He states that the people censored themselves. They chose to stop reading, they weren't forced to stop. I think a lot of this goes on. That's why books get banned. People don't want to have conversation about topics that they aren't comfortable about. Book banners don't want conversations taking place about things that they don't understand or that they find taboo. This is not media or governments fault. This is the fault of the citizens.
Luckily for us, there are a lot of Guy Montags and even more Professor Fabers and track men. There are tons of these people that will stand up for our freedom to think about things that make us uncomfortable. Because if we don't think, what do we do? We need to be constantly questioning and pushing ourselves, otherwise, what's the point of living. If you haven't read this one. I would recommend it. If it was one you were forced to read years ago and didn't like it then, I would give it a second chance. 

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