Is the following statement appropriate as a thesis for Fahrenheit 451?
Censorship in the society in Fahrenheit 451 reflects Bradbury's concern for the value of knowledge in the current world. Anti intellectualism which stems from fear of conflict brings on unhappiness, which is resolved using censorship.
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While censorship is certainly used as a method of social engineering in Fahrenheit 451, it is not as much of a problem as the deliberate dumbing-down of society. Because the government wanted to keep the populace contented, they removed the intellectual stimulus of books so that nobody would have conflicting opinions. However, this became a self-replicating situation; people stopped caring about other possible ideas and only about keeping themselves content with the television entertainment made available by government. Chief Beatty claims that the ban on books came about organically:
"It didn't come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time..."
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)
However, the actual banning of books and enforcement is strictly government-controlled. The trick is to understand that social engineering made it unnecessary to form a police state except in extreme situations; people are so terrified of being humiliated or thought of as subversive that they will happily turn in their neighbors for owning books. Montag even notes that while people are supposed to be happy, many seem even more miserable; his own wife (possibly) tries to commit suicide because of her unconscious discontent. In the end, the above statement speaks to one specific part of the novel's theme.
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