Does Fahrenheit 451 still have a powerful message for readers today?

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The science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian novel about a future society with an authoritarian government that forbids the reading of books. Instead of putting out fires, firemen are tasked with the job of burning books and the homes of the people who keep them.

At the beginning of the book, the fireman Montag loves his job, but during the course of the story he meets people who cause him to question his beliefs. Eventually, he begins to read books and wants to save them instead of burn them.

Captain Beatty is Montag's nemesis. He is familiar with books but has embraced society's regulations to destroy them. Montag's wife Mildred represents people who have given themselves over to conforming to society's lies in the form of fiction presented on huge home TV screens. At the end of the book, Montag finds a wandering group of rebels who seek to preserve the knowledge and wisdom found in books by memorizing them.

The novel Fahrenheit 451 has a powerful message against censorship and for freedom of thought. The novel was first published in 1953. This was shortly after horrific historical events took place such as the Nazi book burnings before and during World War II and Joseph Stalin's "Great Purge" in the Soviet Union during which he arrested and executed writers and artists.

The message of freedom of thought and expression and the value of books in Fahrenheit 451 is as important today as when it was written. People always have to be on guard against censorship that would deprive them of diverse points of view. Additionally, many people today, like Montag's wife Mildred, wrap themselves up in social media, television, and films so that they become oblivious to reality. It is important for people to seek out the wisdom to be found in books and not to allow themselves to be passively swayed by passing trends and fads.

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