18 April 2019,
What would you do if your government banned you from doing the things that gives us knowledge, that is not harmful and that results in positive changes in society? Censorship is the suppression of words, images, or ideas that offensive, happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. It can happen with either government pressure or private pressure. Each human being has been a part of censorship once in their life.
Bradburys Fahrenheit 451 depicts how government can be so controlling without, people like Montag even noticing it as well as it also shows books are burned because of the knowledge and ideas they give to the people.
Censorship has not only been part in books and stories, it has become the part of our life. Not only developing countries but also developed countries are also part of it. For instance, people should be more than 21 years to buy alcohol and cigarettes in United States.
If anyone sold alcohol to minors that may cost a lot of compensation with some years in jails. Likewise, in Hindu countries like Nepal and India beef is strictly prohibited, one might get boycott from the society in previous days. Those are the censorship by society which has nothing to do with government. Similarly, in case of abortion some of the countries still has law in which abortion is illegal. There are a lot of censorship that we deal in our day to day life.
Wearing a Hijab by a Muslim woman is a censorship that was given by religion. Recently, after banning Facebook in China for years, China is banning the Chinese characters for Winnie the Pooh which was popular in WeChat messaging app, along with any comic memes depicting the strongman.
Fahrenheit 451 has some major characters. Montag, is a fireman in 24th century who burns books and sometimes the home of the people who own them. He has a wife whose name is Millie. She lives in a vacuous life filled with television and radio. Clarisse McClellan is Montags seventeen- year old neighbor, she is a fresh young girl who likes to pick flowers and watch birds. In the novel she works as a catalyst for Montags change asking him the questions to his own happiness. Captain Beatty is a chief fireman at the station. He has read many books and memorized most of them and he suggested Montag not to read books and they doesnt contain anything. There are other minor characters in the novel, Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles, Stoneman and Black. There are some other elements of fiction presented in the novel. Bradbury used the third person (limited Omniscient) for point of view, we spend good amount of time reading about Montags thoughts, his brains, who he is. I found fire, heat and light that are presented in the essay as a symbol. Fire is not only used to destroy books, at the end of book Montag discovers the alternative use of fire which is it can warm instead of destroys.
Bradbury in his book Fahrenheit 451 never uses the word censorship but we can see that the novel is deeply concerned with it. In his novel he clearly mentioned how people use to burn books, while the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning (Fahrenheit 451, Page 2). Book burning is presented as a suppression of writing in the novel whereas the real issue is censorship. Bradbury in his book clearly presents what happens if people allows the government to take control of what they do or do not. In Fahrenheit 451 government has taken control that books should be given which is a measure of censorship and after getting it they destroy it by burning. Montag being a fireman himself, he used to burn books as well as he used to take some books home and hide it from his wife. He used to read those books when his wife was asleep.
While looking over censorship in the essay, I found a transition which reflects a kind of censorship. So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless (Fahrenheit 451, Page 79). This phrase came when Montag was in conversation with Faber, though Beatty has already told Montag why books were banned and why people doesnt need to read them, Faber told him another reason for why books are hated and feared. Books contains life and they can be truthful which could make people uncomfortable. I found this idea was supported by characters and their obsession towards the media which was presented in novel. Even after destroying books the hatred idea presented in this phrase makes censorship possible in this novel. Likewise, when Montag was interested in reading books Beatty, visits him at his house and explains why the role of firefighters has changed from saving house from fires to burning down houses with books inside them. They (Firemen) were given a new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges and executor (Fahrenheit 451, Page 56). Beatty was saying that one person cant be more or less intelligent than another person without books. This way people were living provides peace of mind. When many people were not reading and were not interested in it, the practice of avoiding reading does not make society peaceful.
Colored people dont like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people dont feel good about Uncle Toms Cabin. Burn it. Someones written a book on tobacco and cancer of the lungs? The cigarette people are weeping? Burn the book (Fahrenheit 451, Page 57). This is the quote that arises when Beatty was in conversation with Montag. I felt like this is an another, excuse Beatty was giving to Montag for destroying books and why is it good for society. He says that all books are better off and should be destroyed and he also uses the example of book that links to cigarette, tobacco and cancer. Beatty was showing the benefits of destroying information about the effects of cigarette and tobacco to keep cigarette companies happy. I found this transition as a part of censorship in novel because character Beatty is still in the same phase, where he could tell everyone about all the bad things of book and why it is banned and why they should not read it. The government and the firemen were using censorship to control their citizens by eliminating information. The government wants the people to be all the same and think towards the same way. The major censorship that is shown in this novel is the government banning the book and not letting people to read. Even though, it doesnt mention about the benefits of reading and why was it banned, no one were allowed to keep books or read.
Montag sacrifices everything he has in his life in order to protect knowledge of the books. He eventually became addicted to books and he was not worrying about the consequences. He was forced to burn his own house when he was caught with his books. Nothing is predictable in human life, Montag was not predicting something would happen to him. Things like this happens in real life too. I was seeing an article in CNN where it says, Hong Kong journalists are protesting censorship. There were 6500 people march in Hong Kong to protest media censorship. The publications and the media were suffering consequences for criticizing government. “Headlines were added, complete pages were removed, photos were cancelled, interviews were bought, columnists were sacked,” Yam told CNN. “We get calls from senior government officials, we get calls from tycoons, saying ‘we don’t want to see this in your paper.'” This is another part of censorship happening in real life where the government does not want the medias to spread truth. The medias and the people are put under so much pressure and threaten. Hong Kong is not the only country that is facing this problem, I bet there are more than half of the countries which is facing the same problem. Countries which lacks a right to freedom and press are part of this problem. Sometimes censorship is done for the betterment of the society and country. In the world of social media there is one named TikTok, which is a place where people can make short video clip in their favorite songs and post them. India recently banned this application in her country. The main reason for banning the application was the children using the app were vulnerable to exposure by sexual predators. It is indeed a good decision of government to put censorship on such things as it thought there will be negative consequences from those app.
Fahrenheit 451 mainly depicts the theme of censorship and knowledge versus ignorance. The growth of censorship in this novel can be seen in the minorities in society. Books and critical thinking became a direct threat to equality. In this novel people censor and suppress their thoughts and individuality. They choose, mainly out of fear or just simplicity and convenience, to let the TV and broad casting control every aspect of their thoughts. The people have not thought of their own and are very shallow. The people see knowledge and literature as nonessential and worthless, and they dont bother to think about how they formed their view. The fear of literature and knowledge, as those people who own books end up with their houses burned down. So out of convenience and fear the people censor themselves.