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What is the significance of the quote "if they give you ruled paper, write the other...

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literature2011 | (Level 3) eNoter

Posted March 23, 2011 at 9:24 PM via web

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What is the significance of the quote "if they give you ruled paper, write the other way" at the start of the novel Fahrenheit 451?

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted March 23, 2011 at 10:06 PM (Answer #1)

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Bradbury was writing the novel in response to a fear of mass media and mass thought control engendered by the rise of television and its entrance into so many American homes.  His feeling was that any sort of mass-marketed or mass-accepted distribution of ideas and thoughts and rules was dangerous.  So if it was embodied by someone handing you a sheet of ruled paper suggesting that you ought to write in a certain direction, he thought you might as well challenge it by writing the opposite way.

Much of the action of the novel is also pushing towards this theme of challenging what is accepted and being willing to push back, even if it is in a basic form like using paper differently than is expected.

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