What's the educational value of Fahrenheit 451?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The biggest issue that is raised in this brilliant dystopian novel is the way in which books are presented as so dangerous and subversive. This hopefully should make students who are studying this book think of the various ways in which literature is so much more than the "boring" texts we are forced to read in English class and actually are revolutionary and subversive in the ideas that they contain and the theories that they advance. Note what Faber says to Montag about the value of books:

Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores.

Faber explains to Montag that actually he is trying to find the meaning and ideas contained within books rather than the books themselves as objects. The novel presents us with a world where meaning is no longer to be found in media, and Faber says that Montag is trying to find "quality" which Faber goes on to clarify as being "texture" which he uses to describe real life and experiences. Faber's words show the need for the ideas presented in books and the chance to act on what we have learned from them. The educational value of this text therefore involves the way in which books are presented as dangerous subversive material. this helps us think through the role of books and their function.


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