The Oppression Of Knowledge In Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury

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The burning of books, the murdering of lives, and the destruction of knowledge. All of these subjects intertwine in Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 to create a censored world where knowledge is viewed as a crime. As books represent knowledge in Bradbury’s novel, it is clear that the act of burning books as well as the individuals who refuse to give them up represents censorship and the oppression of knowledge and freedom of speech/expression. The three major points that will be discussed in this essay are: the burning of books mirror the real world’s book burnings as well as their purpose to censor and destroy knowledge, the burning of the old women and all of those before her represent the oppression of freedom of speech/expression, and …show more content…
In the novel, the burning of the old women and all of those before her represent the oppression of knowledge and freedom of speech. The old woman would rather suicide with all of her books, rather than submit to the society’s norm of oppressing knowledge. The fact that she would end her own life for books rather than submit to the government demonstrates the power of books and what they can do for society. Captain Beatty says “these fanatics always try suicide; the pattern’s familiar.” (Bradbury, 36) indicating that many people before her chose the same path that she did. They chose to stand as a symbol of freedom of speech as they will not submit to the government’s norms, and in the process chose their own path of suicide, rather than concede their freedom and knowledge. To burn one of these individuals by force means to burn freedom of speech itself.
Finally, Bradbury shows the power of books by changing Montag’s view on books and their purpose in society, from that of a book burner to that of a book preserver, and why they are burned in the novel. Near the middle of the novel, we find out that Montag had stolen a book from the old woman’s burning house. He later says to Faber, a book cherisher,

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