In Fahrenheit 451, a science fiction novel by Ray Bradbury, censorship is a very harmful tool. This book portrays a world in which books are censored and edited until the point where they become banned altogether. Guy Montag is the protagonist in the story, whose job it is to burn books, yet as time goes on, he begins to question his job.
One purpose of censorship is because books can often provoke questions that lead to change and revolution, yet knowledge can also be constructive. For example, one benefit of reading is that books contain knowledge of the past, which can prevent people from making the same mistakes in the future. While talking to his wife, Montag begins to realize this concept. “Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!” Montag is not only attempting to say that books are advantageous, but he is seeing them as hope for the injured world he lives in.
Bradbury shows his negative opinion of censorship by depicting a society without books to be a dangerous society to live in. One of the dangers is not being capable to think for yourself. This affects the characters in Fahrenheit 451 because they just believe whatever their complex televisions say and never stop to question it. “The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!’”
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Another danger of censorship is being sheltered from the truth. In the novel, the government wants to protect people from the bad things in life. Although it is nice for the characters to not carry around the burden of worrying about the world, they have no clue what the truth really is, and the truth is important! Without books, there are so many things Montag does not know. “I’ve heard rumors; the world is starving, but we’re well fed. Is it true, the world works hard and we play? Is that why we’re hated so much? I’ve heard the rumors about hate, too, once in a long while, over the years. Do you know why? I don’t that’s sure!”
Anti-censorship is the main theme and the foundation for the entire book. The reader can learn from Fahrenheit 451 that the quality of life will be decreased if books are censored too much.