Fahrenheit 451 Censorship

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The 1950’s were a critical era in American history as an ever-growing communist threat struck fear into the hearts of many Americans following World War II. Not knowing who they could trust, many American’s were on a “witch hunt,” jailing those who expressed radical views that were “unpatriotic.” This movement became known as the “Red Scare” and led to the censorship of media outlets and other printed works such as novels and college textbooks. Even novels about censorship, such as Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, were subject to this and heavily criticized. Despite all this, the novel’s theme of censorship reflects that of the time period it was written in.
Inspired by the “Second Red Scare,” Bradbury has no issue with incorporating society in the 1950’s into his own novel; a dystopia in which possessing and reading books is taboo and the burning of said books is accepted by society. Taken from historical
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In the novel, the job of firemen is vastly different from how it is pictured today. Instead of putting out fires and saving the lives of citizens, firemen start fires within their homes, sometimes killing people in the process. Kerosene and a lighter are the tools of their trade, and their one objective is “to burn English-influenced books” (Bradbury). The firemen and their role in society are an excellent allusion within the novel as they can be compared to McCarthy and his supporters who were running rampant at the time of the novels release. Just as the firemen in the novel, McCarthy and his supporters were burning and destroying books they deemed “Un-American,” justifying their actions by claiming to be protecting their country. Novels and even educational textbooks that could be remotely connected to the Communist Party were collected and destroyed. Books they did not destroy became subject to censorship and severe

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