Kings' Courier

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Books Contain Valuable Information to be Treasured, Not Burned

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Some writers write explicitly and put the meaning of their work in the reader’s hand. They do not let the readers form their own opinions. On the other hand, the world has writers such as Ray Bradbury. In Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 he allows readers to think for themselves, to form their own opinions, make their own connections. While reading this book, I have thought about many different possible themes due to the fact that there happens to be no real theme. Yet, Bradbury points out to me that censoring, banning, and burning books happens to be the wrong way of trying to make everyone equal. Through his symbolism, allusions, and characterization, I formed my own opinion that books hold valuable information for everyone to learn.

Throughout the entire novel Bradbury uses strong symbols to help the readers form their own opinions. For example, he show’s a woman burning herself with her books instead of just letting the books burn. The woman had been a symbol of the “sacrificial lamb” from the Bible. She had been willing to sacrifice herself for her beloved books. When I read this, I realized that books hold valuable information that people do not want to get rid of because a woman sacrificed herself to show that books had something in them that not everyone knows about. This act really bothered Montag, and it led him to being curious about books.

Bradbury uses many allusions whether it be from the Bible or other literature. One use of allusion had been when Montag had been with the women in the parlor. Feeling agitated by the way the women talked, Montag recited Matthew Arnold’s “Dover Beach.” The poem points out that even though the world may seem like a “land of dreams,” it actually does not have those qualities. Arnold says the world has no “joy, nor love, nor light.” After reading the poem aloud, Montag witnesses one of the women start sobbing uncontrollably. I believe that the woman started crying because she could relate to the poem, not because poems happen to be banned from society. Bradbury points out through the poem and the woman’s reaction that books have valuable and legitimate information in them because the woman could relate the poem to her real life. This is important because people are not supposed to let their lives be affected by books or poems, and the woman did.

Bradbury also uses all the characters to show how books prove to be a valuable asset in life. For example, Mildred does not and will not read books. She happens to be caught up in her “parlor family.” The government forces this on her so that she cannot think for herself. Mildred shows that not reading books can lead to people not being able to make their own choices. On the other hand, Clarisse, who has read books, can think for herself. She shows her free thinking through the complex questions she asks Montag. Reading books allows people to think for themselves as well as form their own opinion. I know reading books has made me more creative and free thinking due to the fact that books have many lessons and morals to them.

Bradbury really lets the readers go off into their own thinking in the novel. Through many examples he proves that people can think for themselves if they do not let the government control them. I believe that instead of making everyone equal through burning books, government should keep the books and let people think freely together.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
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