Thursday, October 4, 2012

Banned Books Week: Fahrenheit 451

Out of the top 100 books that have been banned or challenged from 2000-2009, Fahrenheit 451 was listed at 69. However it didn't make the list from 1990-1999. In 2006, a Texas school was asked to ban the book from its required reading due to the use of God's name in vain, burning of the Bible, and the cursing. In Mississippi the book was removed from a required reading list due to the use of the term "God damn" and it has also been challenged at schools due to its "questionable themes."

Okay, so, I've been doing Banned Books Week posts for a few years now and every time a book is banned and I read the reasoning's for it I feel like my mind has been completely blown by the utter stupidity and closed minds of people. Or does this make me closed minded as well? Seeing as I don't understand why people would ban books... However, that's another contemplation for another time.

I read the book for the first time only a few months ago and what really gets me about this particular book banning is what Fahrenheit 451 is about and that it's being banned. As I mentioned in an earlier post a few months ago, Ray Bradbury was quoted to say that the book isn't actually about banning but about television making people uninterested in reading. Okay, cool. But the censorship of books in Fahrenheit 451 is prevalent. I mean, the main character's job is to burn books.   ©2012 Erica R Hopper. Please quote or link back, do not repost as your own.
It's interesting that a book that centers so much on book censorship and the brainwashing effect of television consumption is being censored from schools. The fear of the free word and people having thoughts which defer from your own is still obviously common (or else we wouldn't be having a banned books week to begin with). The Bible is a book and susceptible to being burned by people who may not acknowledge or believe in its purpose. It's possible to be censored just as this book (and many others) have been censored. So while you're condemning this book, maybe look at the actual content. Look at the point of the novel itself. Study the fact that the book is discussing the phasing out of literature and that there are characters who read and memorize the written bits of books they have actually been able to come in contact. They are trying to save the books. Just as you, the condemner, attempt to have them banned from schools. Really, this is exactly what judging a book by it's dust jacket is about. Don't judge it until you actually read it! Or rather, don't censor it until you read it.

Something that is rather wonderful about Fahrenheit 451 is the overall love of the book (haters aside) from its readers. I have never met someone who has read the book and disliked it (other than the people mentioned up top, but it's not like I know those people). The words are poetry, the plot captures you and holds you close, and it is exactly what a page turner should be.
Erica R Hopper. Please quote or link back, do not repost as your own.
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