Benjamin Franklin as the first fireman in Fahrenheit 451.Why do you think the firemen’s rulebook credited Benjamin Franklin – writer, publisher, political leader, inventor, ambassador – as...

Benjamin Franklin as the first fireman in Fahrenheit 451.

Why do you think the firemen’s rulebook credited Benjamin Franklin – writer, publisher, political leader, inventor, ambassador – as being the first fireman?

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

To me, the reason for this can be seen in the whole trend in what has happened to ideas under the "rule" of the firemen.  If you think about it, the whole trend has been to take complex ideas and dumb them down until you can finally just totally kill the ideas.  I think that you can argue that Franklin was part of the "dumbing down" process.

One of the things Franklin is best known for is his aphorisms -- his pithy little sayings that are supposed to take wisdom and put it into soundbites.  For example: "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."

If you think about it, that's sort of a dumb statement.  Or at least it's a total simplification of what would really make you rich and wise and healthy.

So I think that this is why Franklin is credited as the first fireman.

hmccrory's profile pic

hmccrory | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Honors

Posted on

I was actually thinking about this question yesterday, and I'm a teacher!  ha ha!  I'm not totally satisfied by the answer you have already been given.  Franklin was very wise...

My mind started to wander more to the fact that Franklin was partially responsible for bringing newspapers to America (his brother actually started it), and that Franklin was a BOOK PRINTER, hello...  The answer has to be in there somewhere.

I was thinking of two possible things.  1)  people in the book don't know a whole lot because of the way society is set up, but they would likely know of Ben Franklin, and would buy him as some kind of authority.  If he is in to what the firemen do, then we can all just accept it.  or  2)  Since in reality he is a symbol of literacy, maybe they are making up this lie in order to discredit immediately what a dissenter might say.  For instance, if Clarisse were to say "well, Ben Franklin said it's really important to read!"  Beatty would say, "shut up girl, he was the original fireman."

I'd like to ask Ray Bradbury personally because I'm not all that sure.

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jpaulj's profile pic

jpaulj | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Benjamin Franklin started the first library or what not. So by saying he was the first fireman shows a little irony considering Benjamin Franklin loved books.

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