By Ray Bradbury, Harold Bloom
Offers the tale of fireman man Montag, e-book burner, which tackles the difficulty of censorship.
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Additional info for Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (Bloom's Guides)
Already pressed beyond the limits of his patience, Montag allows his frustration to emerge without taking into consideration the dangers of such open rebellion. Unable to reach Mildred intellectually or sympathetically, he symbolically attacks her by shutting down the television. He intensifies his attack then by reading to his wife and her friends, who, like all good society wives, exist only to express prim disapproval and to be scandalized, notably the famous poem “Dover Beach” by Victorian poet and influential critic, Matthew Arnold.
Not only is this quotation brief enough, at four words, to appear entire and undivided in the extremely narrow aperture of her televisionconstricted attention span, but it appeals to her as an expression of her own relation to herself, which is precisely what makes it impossible for her to relate to her husband or to anyone else. Mildred is not exactly selfish, rather she is trapped in and overwhelmed by a self that she cannot understand and seeks only to escape, along with the rest of reality.
He acknowledges the power of books, the danger that they represent to the despotism of Bradbury’s dystopia, and yet the censorship he describes is entirely redundant—why would the state need to censor books if no one wants to read them anyway? Plainly, Faber himself is no better able to account for the history of this tyranny than is Beatty. Both, in their own way, are just as ignorant as is Montag at the beginning of the novel, because they both lack the resources, even in Faber’s case, to generate a critical history of their own circumstances.