“I am a preventer of futures, not a predictor of them. I wrote Fahrenheit 451 to prevent book-burnings, not to induce that future into happening, or even to say that it was inevitable.”
Ray Bradbury was a lover of books and libraries. After graduating from high school, he was not able to afford going to college. Instead, he would spend several hours each day reading in the library. After several years of this, he decided that he had amassed enough knowledge to try writing a novel for himself.
Bradbury never stopped visiting the library, or reading as many books as he could. It is striking, then, that one of his most famous novels is about a fireman who burns books. As someone who was practically raised in libraries, Bradbury knew the importance of books and their value to society.
Naming characters can be difficult, but you might not have to look as far as you think. Ray took inspiration from Faber-Castell pencils and Montag paper company, both brands that would have been on his desk as he wrote.
1.Why would the idea of censorship of books be of particular interest to Bradbury?
2. What are the whimsical or magical elements of Fahrenheit 451? What may have inspired Bradbury to include those elements?
3. Bradbury later influenced many people like astronauts, engineers, and Disney Imagineers. Can you think of any real world examples of something that is seen in the book?
4. What books are specifically named throughout Fahrenheit 451? Why did Bradbury choose to draw attention to these books in particular?
5. Bradbury chose to write using a typewriter, even when computers became popular. What can you infer about his feelings toward technology based on Fahrenheit 451?
Learn more about the Fahrenheit 451 pieces in the collection at the Center for Ray Bradbury Studies at Indiana University.
Fahrenheit 451 was partially inspired by Nazi book burning. Learn more and make connections to the book here.
Burning draft cards was a political statement during the Vietnam War. Learn more and make connections here. Free registration required.