What are the main themes or most important themes in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?I am trying to find the most important or most interesting themes for an essay for my 10th grade honors english...

What are the main themes or most important themes in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

I am trying to find the most important or most interesting themes for an essay for my 10th grade honors english class.

Asked on by madipadi

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pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The most important theme of this book is the way in which the modern world makes people (according to Bradbury) less interested in thinking and reading and doing the things that make us human.  He is arguing in this book that technology and our own faults are making us less human.

In the book, people have become "addicted" to excitement and things that happen quickly.  They have what we would call short attention spans.  They do not want to take the time to read and think.  Also, they are easily offended and do not want to read or be exposed to things that they do not agree with.

Bradbury says that these things are driving us towards a society like the one in the book -- a society where people are like Millie and have pretty much lost their souls.

dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I agree with the above answer concerning theme in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, and would just add to one point.  According to the fire captain Beatty, the problem with books isn't even so much that the futuristic society in the book doesn't want to be exposed to anything that its members disagree with (although that is true), but that they find fault with the books because the books disagree with each other. 

The people in the novel are simplistic.  They want to live by mottos and cliches.  They don't want questions.  They don't want opposing viewpoints.  They want things easy and simple.  They want easy and concrete answers.  Books that show opposing viewpoints and dramatize the ambiguity of existence would interrupt their illusions.  And they don't want that.

Does Bradbury have a point?  Just watch interviews with athletes or politicians or anyone who has suffered any kind of tragedy.  You may find that our society, too, lives very much by mottos and cliches and easy, concrete answers.  And we aren't even burning books, yet.   

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