This week the world of literature lost a great figure. Ray Bradbury died June 5th at the age of 98, and it is our job as the future leaders of this country to make sure that his teachings do not get buried along with him. Ray Bradbury was a true visionary of his time. He did much more than write, he provided a warning of what could happen to economies, countries, and even cities when the people of those establishments let other instructions control their lives. Mr. Bradbury wrote his books as a warning.
Fahrenheit 451 was a book about the banishment of book, which being a lover of books is a very scary threat. In Fahrenheit 451 it seems like all of the roles of society are reversed. In today’s society we are used to hearing free thinkers it makes it hard to imagine a society where that is prohibited. In Fahrenheit 451 the freethinker character, is without a doubt seen as the odd ball. Her name is Clarisse McClellan, and she was everything that I hope as a future English teacher to see in some of my future students. She was a bright girl who was known for asking “why” when everyone else was asking “how”. One of the most frightening facts in the book was that in schools, like the one Clarisse went to, they put more of an emphasis on technology instead of books. It is hard to walk into modern day classrooms and not make some startling connections between Clarisse’s classroom and our students’ classroom. It makes me wonder if we are forcing too much technology on our students, and if we are will they start to rely less and less on the knowledge they gain from books.
Another main character of the book is Guy Montag. He is the main character, and in the end suffers the most. His looses everything including his wife, and all of his books. He began the story as a fireman, or a person’s whose job it was to burn books, but he realizes how much he needed from books. To me Guy could be seen as a symbol that even adults can have free thoughts and opinions if they are giving the right situations. This could have a great deal of influence on our cities. The planning of cities and the major decisions come from adults who, while they are educated, seem to be stuck in their ways. If we could change the minds of some of those planners, there is no way of telling how much different our cities and our world could end up.
Ray Bradbury was a visionary, but more than being brilliant he was concerned. He was worried about not just what would happen to the children, but what would happen to the society if we let people become too focused on technology and the future, and not worry about what has happened in the past. Ray Bradbury will now forever be in the past, but that makes his point even more relevant. We must continue to teach book, books like Fahrenheit 451, so that we can protect society and ourselves from exactly that, ourselves.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. Print.