“Not unequal to walking through a graveyard. “ — Ray Bradbury

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. 

 

Sources:

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. Print.

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3 Comments

Filed under City Cultures

3 responses to ““Not unequal to walking through a graveyard. “ — Ray Bradbury

  1. Do you know Ray Bradbury’s story “The Pedestrian” that I linked to on the Twitter feed? If you’re interested in doing more writing that connects Bradbury to the kinds of things talked about in this class, that might be a good place to start. It’s all about a future world where walking can only be understood as a criminal activity. Worth checking out.

  2. I’m going to check out “The Pedestrian” after posting here, but I’m already seeing a possible incorporation of Certeau in a Bradbury-centric paper–if we lose the ability to express ourselves with speech acts (auditory, ambulatory and so on), what will become of our society?

    I think it’s inevitable that media printed on paper will become less and less prevalent, but I don’t think this necessarily has to be a bad thing. I think we can use technology to better our society, but so often it seems to be used as anesthesia. Technology can actually be used to make books more accessible, but it often seems that audio/visual resources are used as substitutes rather than supplements. Finding a way to use technology responsibly is going to be a constant concern for our society going forward.

    I’d love to read more about the widespread ramifications that Bradbury warned about, particularly the global and economic ramifications. I think this would make a really interesting essay.

  3. cmb0030

    This makes me think of my momma. For her birthday last week we got her a Kindle. I tried to repress my disgust at the idea of a book without the potential to one day have the delicious “old book smell” and ability to run my fingers over the pages as I read them. I ended up making some snarky remark about not being able to underline things or something and saw my sweet momma’s eyes kind of fall a little as she looked back at her new toy. So, in an attempt to defend the thing I so disliked (for her sake) I began to talk about all of the positive aspects of a kindle: the fact you can carry a whole library on one light book, its easy mobility, it’s infinite resources, etc. As I built it back up and her smile returned as she looked at her shiny new toy I realized it does have some positive aspects after all.

    I think there is a thin line between not enough technology and an over dependence on it and a blatant disregard for doing things “the old fashioned way.”

    Awesome post, thanks for sharing!

    RIP Bradbury.

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