Fahrenheit 451 • An Introduction
Historical Context • World War II had ended only a few years before • Era of McCarthyism • Threat of nuclear warfare loomed • Many Sci-Fi books and movies reflected this fear
Predict or Prevent? • Bradbury claimed he was trying to “prevent the future”. • He did foresee many future developments: • Walkmans, earbuds, big-screen and interactive t.v., rise in violence, growing illiteracy, condensation of info into “sound bites”
Settings • Historical Setting • Physical Setting • Social Setting
Themes To Watch For • Individual self-expression is important. • Violence is self-destructive. • Mindless pleasure seeking and materialism make for an empty life. • Humanity should preserve and value the culture of the past.
More Themes • Humanity has the ability to be reborn or revived. • In the wrong hands, modern technology can be dangerous. • Commercialism can erode spiritual values. • People lose their humanity when not able to communicate and interact with each other on a personal level.
Symbols To Investigate • Fire • Burning • Water • The salamander • The Mechanical Hound • Seashells • Parlor Walls • Titles of each section
Names • Guy Montag • Guy Fawkes, who attempts to change current state of affairs through nonconformist actions. • Name of a paper company • Clarisse • Form of Clara, from the Latin for “bright” • Clarisse is often associated with a brightness different from that of a fire • Faber • Name of a pencil company
Fire Imagery • Many cultures have gods associated with fire • Egyptian goddess Sekhet • Many myths try to explain the origin • Greek myth about Prometheus stealing fire from the gods • Scientists used to believe all matter was made of the 4 elements: fire, earth, water, & air
Connections & Background Info: The Hearth and the Salamander • Ben Franklin helped organize America’s first fire company and founded its first circulating library. • Franklin was also a writer and printer who believed in free speech and press.
Connections & Background Info: The Hearth and the Salamander • Dante: Dante Alighieri was an Italian poet who wrote The Divine Comedy • Jonthan Swift: Author of Gulliver’s Travels • Marcus Aurelius: Roman philosopher and emperor • Hamlet: Written by William Shakespeare • Little Black Sambo: children’s book with racial stereotypes that are offensive • Uncle Tom’s Cabin: novel that condemns slavery
Connections & Background Info: The Sieve and the Sand • Authors mentioned by Montag: • Thomas Jefferson • Henry David Thoreau: author of famous essay on civil disobedience, and Walden.
Connections & Background Info: The Sieve and the Sand • Texts: • “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold • -Reflects a personal sense of isolation and doubt. Montag does not read aloud the first two stanzas.
Connections & Background Info: The Sieve and the Sand • Texts: • The Bible: • Montag attempts to read a portion of Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount that criticizes materialism. • Another character reads to Montag from the Book of Job, about a man whose faith is tested by a series of great calamities. • The Bible has often been a target of censorship. • When the New Testament was 1st translated into English by William Tyndale, copies were seized and burned. (He was also burned at the stake as a heretic.)
Connections & Background Info: The Sieve and the Sand • Beatty’s Quotes and Paraphrases: • Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice • “Truth will come to light; murder cannot be hid long.” • “He doth nothing but talk of his horse.” • “The Devil can cite Scripture for his purpose.”
Connections & Background Info: Burning Bright • William Blake’s “The Tyger” • Tyger! Tyger! Burning bright • In the forests of the night, • What immortal hand or eye • Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
Connections & Background Info: Burning Bright • “Old Montag wanted to fly near the Sun and ... he's burned his wings” • Daedalus and Icarus
Connections & Background Info: Burning Bright • Thomas Hardy: British novelist & poet • Charles Darwin: Survival of the fittest • Aristophanes: Ancient Greek playwright
Connections & Background Info: Burning Bright • “Mr. Lincoln”: yes, it’s Abraham Lincoln • Machiavelli: The Prince • The Phoenix