What is the theme of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The main theme of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is censorship. Bradbury named his book Fahrenheit 451 because he says it is, "the temperature at which book-paper catches fire." When books are forbidden and burned up if found, not only are the books themselves destroyed but so is the thought that went into writing those books. Censorship is used to keep people from thinking, to quash curiosity and knowledge; and Bradbury's book is a warning to all of us that those who wish to ban books are doing more than just censoring books. They are censoring the human mind and spirit. During the Holocaust, Hitler had all Jewish authors' books burned as well as any books that were considered to be against the German spirit. Tyrannical governments do not want an intelligent population because they do not want to be questioned.

In the United States, groups of parents often try to have certain books banned from schools, and one of the most often challenged books is...you guessed it, Fahrenheit 451!  Ironic, yes?

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial