In Fahrenheit 451, how is censorship shown?

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Censorship is shown in nearly every aspect of the reality imagined by Bradbury in his novel Fahrenheit 451 . Primarily, censorship is shown as a heavy-handed act of law enforcement carried out by the "firemen," the presumably governmental agency of which several of the principal characters are a part. Their...

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Censorship is shown in nearly every aspect of the reality imagined by Bradbury in his novel Fahrenheit 451. Primarily, censorship is shown as a heavy-handed act of law enforcement carried out by the "firemen," the presumably governmental agency of which several of the principal characters are a part. Their job is to enforce the law, which forbids not only literature but presumably any sort of reading material which has not been approved by the government. Those who disobey or are found to be in possession of illicit reading material are punished swiftly and brutally. A fireman team is dispatched to their residence, where they proceed to burn it to the ground with all reading material inside.

The government is not only vehemently opposed to any information that deviates from the accepted societal attitude but also very active in implanting ideas that they find to be safe for consumption by the general populace. We don't get a very clear picture of what values these ideas might promote, but judging by the fact that Clarisse has to go to therapy for her thoughts of the simple beauty in the world, we can assume that creative thinking is discouraged in favor of hedonistic consumption. This becomes more obvious when we look at Mildred, who is obsessively preoccupied with interactive television serials that Montag thinks of as vapid and sedative.

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I would say the clearest example of censorship you can find in Fahrenheit 451 is the firemen, whose job is to burn down houses for the sole purpose of destroying the books inside. The main character of this book, Montag, is himself a fireman, so the idea of censorship is very much front and center within this book. It is even alluded to within the book's title (which is the temperature at which paper will burn).

What's interesting about Fahrenheit 451's treatment of censorship, however, is that, within the world Bradbury creates, this call for the banning of books actually originates from within that society itself. Ultimately, then, Fahrenheit 451's warning about censorship is actually closely intertwined with themes about anti-intellectualism and the ways in which a society (under the sway of rampant consumerism and commercialism) might potentially be driven to destroy its own cultural heritage.

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Censorship is depicted by the government's fireman agency, which burns books and arrests dissidents. In Bradbury's dystopian society, knowledge is censored by making it illegal to own books or engage in intellectual pursuits. Captain Beatty explains to Montag why the government decided to censor literature by mentioning that critics' written opinions upset the majority of society, who stopped reading and educating themselves. The government then created the fireman agency to destroy the remaining books, which prevents citizens from becoming unruly and upsetting the social structure. Beatty even compares a book to a loaded gun as he presents his argument for censoring information. Censorship is portrayed as a means to ensure a stable society by creating a passive, ignorant populace. Intellectuals like Faber and Granger are forced into hiding and fear being arrested for their intellectual pursuits while the government ensures its authority by eliminating educated dissidents.

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In Fahrenheit 451, censorship is shown through the fireman system, a system which prevents education and the freedom of expression by burning books. As we see clearly through the character of Faber, however, censorship is not just about the act of burning books. It is also about the decline of college admissions and a general lack of interest in education. This is a by-product of censorship, and this situation caused Faber to lose his job.

Censorship is also shown by this society's love of entertainment. The society in Fahrenheit 451 is consumed by entertainment and instant gratification; it has no need to ever regain its interest in books. In fact, people who show no interest in entertainment, like Clarisse McClellan, are ostracized and regarded as potentially dangerous. 

Censorship is, therefore, shown as a multi-faceted aspect of life in Fahrenheit 451. It is not just about book burning, it is also about the decline of education and the excessive promotion of entertainment.

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Censorship is shown through the books that they burn. People aren't allowed to read books, and that is the most extreme form of censorship that exists.  Not only this, but people talking is looked down upon; Clarisse mentions the fact that her family talks together quite a bit, and how that is extremely rare.  In the schools, the kids are fed censorshipped and watered-down versions of reality, in order to keep them feeling like they are full of facts, when in fact they are not.  So that is another form of censorship in the novel.

Their society got to this point because people didn't want to read an entire book in order to know what it was about; so, books got shorter and shorter until they were just a line or two of plot summary.  Then, books often contained information that offended people and made them unhappy.  So, to please the masses, the books were censored; anything offensive or depressing were taken out.  Pretty soon, reading at all was a dying art, and looked down upon, and it wasn't long after that that books were forbidden and the entire fireman scheme was undertaken.

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