Book Burning and Censorship in the Novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

As the scent of burning paper and boiling ink drift through the air so does the fragrance of broken liberty. When we allow our knowledge to be taken away we allow our freedom to be stolen as well. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury was written as a cautionary tale about book burning and other various acts of censorship and the book still remains extremely prevalent in today‘s society. “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget.

There is nothing magical in them at all the magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.” Books are an enduring tool that humanity has relied upon ever since written languages have been developed and once they are censored humanity suffers an immense injustice.

Censorship constitutes as deeming a book inappropriate for the public The News Straits Time reported in early 2014 that “More than 1,500 books are on the banish list” (Nadzri).

These controversial books could be banned for many reasons including violence, explicit language, revolutionary thoughts, and sexual material. Censorship has affected many aspects of literature, including restrictions on authors, the banning of books themselves, and how society has been changed by the stipulations on written compositions.  Censorship within the written world has affected several classic authors including Mark Twain, Malcolm X, and the author of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury. These authors have challenged the normal way of thinking, revolutionized their time period, and made individuals think.

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“Free people write books, publish books, sell books, buy books and read books.”

The restrictions placed on authors and other artists threaten the very principle which this country is founded. It is explicitly stated in the First Amendment of the United States Constitution that “Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press,” Banning books is a complete violation of this right books are the only reliable source we have in this world. They are a right, something that we, as human beings, are entitled to Going into a school library, it’s blatantly obvious which books are the ones that are banned. They are the ones in the back room, in the far corner, with the covers ripped off. Among these seemingly untouchable books you could find books as tame as The Great Gatsby or Brave New World. These books are banned because the government is afraid of their power being threatened “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there.

You don’t stay for anything Bradbury was right there is something in books that possess a power that no single human could ever dream of obtaining. They hold answers, knowledge, and inspiration “The books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning,” Although this is a description of books being burned in the beginning of Fahrenheit 451, it could very well be a description of what was seen in Berlin on May 10, 1933 when the Nazi’s burned thousands of books. Ray Bradbury himself said in an interview that learning about this was a major inspiration for Fahrenheit 451. “Fahrenheit 451 was not only influenced by Bradbury’s horrified reaction to Hitler’s book bonfires in the 19305 but also the burning of the ancient library in Alexandria and the witch hunts in Salem in 1680″ (Jones). Bradbury was influenced by censorship. The irony of the incident is that Bradbury specifically wrote about censorship in order to point out its flaws of it Fahrenheit 451 discusses censorship and the banning of books.

The book itself has been banned many times and has been challenged by several individuals. Even the book about burning books will metaphorically burn, Although burning books isn’t as common today, many are banned in a variety of places around the world, including America. One of the most recent cases of book burning was in February of 2014, The book being targeted was The Hindus by Wendy Doniger. In 2011, a Hindu nationalist group in India began protesting the publication of Doniger‘s history book because they felt it belittled their religion. The publisher agreed to “ estroy every copy of the book in the country.” (Applebaum). Book burning and censorship has been an issue since the beginning of time, the books that have and have not been banned have molded and shaped society into what it is and what it will become.

For example, each book contains a main objective these core themes could very well be the reason a book is banned. If an author is trying to convey an unsavory topic he will more than likely have his ideas welcomed with oppression. “And I thought about books and for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books”. Each and every author has an agenda. With each and every passage, most authors wish to make their community think and, perhaps, even challenge society. For example, the autobiography of Malcolm X is said to present several “anti-white statements” and pave a clear path for potential crimes it encouraged revolutionary thinking and America was scared of that.

That was the reason the book was banned. Malcolm X was a civil rights activist and has been called one of the most influential Americans in recent history. His book encouraged readers to think and work towards a better and more free America ”A book is a loaded gu”. The ammunition, the words, scare individuals that is why censorship is so prevalent among the human race. People are easily frightened and when anything radical or remotely dangerous rears its ugly head then they will turn tail and run any sort of diversion from the normal way of things is a path too scary for most human beings. This is why the issue of censorship has plagued our planet all throughout history. Literature is not the only thing to have suffered from censorship, authors, readers, and society alike has faired through much because of the restrictions on literature. “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself.” said Potter Stewart a former Supreme Court justice. Our society is apparently very insecure Censorship has not only affected Ray Bradbury when he wrote Fahrenheit 451, it has affected our society as a whole.

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Book Burning and Censorship in the Novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. (2023, Feb 18). Retrieved from

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