BY RAY BRADBURY
This is an essay over the book Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. In this book two of the main characters are a man named Faber, who loves books, and the fire chief, Beatty, who destroys books. This essay will cover the reasons for the book being written, and the theories about books discussed by these two characters in this book. This book was written to show the evils of censorship. Ray Bradbury wrote this book because he could not stand the censorship going on around him and he wanted to speak out against it in his own way. At the time this book was written Bradbury was typing his books on typewriters either in his garage or in the basement of the library at the University of California at Los Angeles. Ray had a love for books and could not stand the censorship of these treasures going on, so he did the only thing he could, he wrote a book about a future without books. In Bradbury's book the firemen were burners of the illegal books that some people still insisted on clinging to, they had taken censorship to a whole new level and just done away with books completely. To Bradbury this was almost the same as what was going on around him, as he wrote in his Coda, "There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches. Every minority...feels it has the will, the right, the duty to douse the kerosene, light the fuse." To Bradbury ripping a page or even a paragraph from a book was one of the worst sins imaginable.
One of the main characters in this book was named Faber, he was an elderly man who loved books but was too cowardly to join the underground movement of the book people. At one point in time Faber had been an English Professor, so he had read many books and was a very knowledgeable man. Faber knew what it was that had caused books to be banned and burned; he knew what it was in books that had kept the human spirit alive. Faber said, "So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, pore less, hairless, expressionless." Books had shown that life was not all frills and lace; they had shown the dark and the sad side of life that people did not want to hear about.
Another main character in Bradbury's book was the fire chief named Beatty. Beatty was a man who knew what the whole thing was about, and he had his own opinion of why they burned the books. Beatty said, "You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred." he also said, "And they'll be happy, because facts of the sort don't change. Don't give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy." The reason the firemen were burning the books is because different books said different things and contradicted each other. Some books upset different minorities and therefore had to be banned, other books confused people or made them think beyond there ability so they were banned, and in the end it was just easier to ban all books and keep everybody happy. Beatty felt that books held nothing but sadness and despair in them, he said, "All of them running about, putting out the stars and distinguishing the sun. You come away lost." He failed to see the good in books, like Faber did.
As stated earlier in this essay Ray Bradbury wrote this book to describe the evils of censorship and what it could lead to if it got totally out of control. In the end of the Coda he wrote, "And no one can help me. Not even you." He was amazed that people could be so ignorant as to think that they could please everybody and that the books would still have the same quality as they did before.