Michelle Osborne Introduction To Literature



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Michelle Osborne

Introduction To Literature

Michele Domenech

May 2, 2008


“Fahrenheit 451” has many themes, but one I chose to focus on was censorship. The banning of books portrayed by Brabury is a form of censorship. The community was not allowed to own a book. If they were discovered to have a book their home would be invaded and the books were burned by the firemen. There are different forms of censorship in our society today. For example, many libraries across the country participate in Banned Books Week. Many participate in book discussions during National Library Week which was observed April 13-19 this year. Auburn’s library held an open discussion regarding banned books during National Library Week. The book “Fahrenheit 451” was discussed at that library branch. The purpose of Banned Books Week is to promote awareness of efforts to restrict access to books.”

There are different forms of censorship in our society. Some books are banned in our public and school libraries. Certain plays have been censored. The film industry has certain ratings that are prohibited from children to watch. Television has specific channels that are pay per view only. Radio personnel has to be careful when speaking to certain audiences because of the censorship of using offensive language toward a specific group. The internet has big brother watching over us in order to regulate the laws over the web. Churches and communities come together to protect neighborhoods from crime and keep their families safe. In the book “Fahrenheit 451,” the firemen were adamant about banning books from the home of their citizens until some found a way to escape and free themselves from this bondage.

The media has a hand in censorship. Violent television programs have been called out by the FCC for congress to regulate these programs. In “Fahrenheit 451” the firemen regulated the homes of its citizens by banning books. The purpose seemed to be to keep everyone on the same level.

Censorship goes back to ancient times. Every society has dealt with censorship of some kind in the form of customs, taboos, and laws. There have been regulations of dress, speech, religious observance and sexual preference. Gay marriages are banned in most states. The situation with the polygamist compound in Texas which is making headline news today, is another form of censorship. The polygamist form of lifestyle is not accepted by the government. In return, the polygamists do not accept our society’s form of lifestyle. They have banned the watching of television from their children, their clothes are different and their hairstyles are different. In “Fahrenheit 451” there were a few citizens that refused to obey the laws of their government by stealing books and hiding them. They refused to take on the lifestyle of their society. For example, the old lady that burned with her books. She had a library of books in her home and she refused to live without them so she burned herself up with her books when the firemen came.

Germany has a hate speech law which states that under German law, it is illegal to show any kind of honoring towards the Nazis. They cannot even show an emblem of the swastika. In “Fahrenheit 451” books were treated the same way. No one was to have in their possession a book of any kind or even speak of the contents of a book.

There is also “censorship through intimidation.” This can be threats against individuals, or a government proposing to monitor all activities online. This gives a “chilling effect” to those using the online resource. They are hesitant to express themselves in harsh manners over the super highway. This happened in “Fahrenheit 451.” The citizens were intimidated to want to own a copy of a book. Even though no one was actually watching them directly, this put a fear in them that someone might discover there was a book in the home.

The church has joined the state in censoring the Biblical order “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord, thy God, in vain” Another one is “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image”. Censorship is difficult because confronting it means dealing with apart of ourselves and our own history. This can be painful and sensitive. Mildred did not want Montag to discuss the books with her or be any part of his agenda to read these books. She did not want to deal with this part of his life. She got so nervous that she turned him in to the firemen. She refused to deal with it any longer.

After Montag was informed that his home was being investigated, he decided to escape from this lifestyle. He did not want to live that life anymore. His inner self began to speak to him. As he escaped into the wilderness he began to take on a new life.

Granger welcomed Montag to his new life of the book people. He was introduced to all sorts of books. These people memorized the book then burnt it. Montag was finally able to put the old life to rest and move into his new life with the book people. The only censoring that took place in his new life was the physical book was not allowed to be kept but it was kept in everyone’s mind.

“What is Censorship” http://www.gilc.org/speech/osistudy/censorship/ .



In Main libraries, Banned Books Week hit close to home. September 29, 2007.

Portland Press Herald (ME)






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