May 28th, 2014
Avoiding the Demise of Literature
Individuals tend to get defensive when they read literary works that challenge their attitudes, beliefs, or ways of life. Throughout history, these protective mindsets have served as the cause of tension and violence across the world. However, if people continue to take offense to what is published against their values, society will become obligated to eliminate these sources of their indignation, leading to the demise of literature. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 serves as an ideal model for this dystopian prophecy.
Bradbury’s novel institutes the notion that literature has more depth than what people are willing to accept. “Books show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless,” (79). Individuals prefer a placid way of life that isn’t threatened by the heavy insight and aspersion that novels often carry. The opposing viewpoints of those that that were content with controversial literature and those that took offense to value-challenging literature caused havoc in Fahrenheit 451’s society.
In order to maintain tranquility within communities, the government in Bradbury's novel began to outlaw and burn all controversial literary works. Authorities rid its people of these forms of publications to eliminate the differences that had started disputes between social groups. The “Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.” system that dictates Fahrenheit 451’s society eventually led to elimination of all books and novels (57). Although divergence amongst groups had disappeared along with the fall of literature, individuals did not truly have peace. Without books and novels, people started to become heavily uneducated and misinformed. Due to this, they were easily influenced and eventually fell under a cacotopian, totalitarian government (78). The individuals in Bradbury’s novel no longer had literature that challenged their beliefs. However, they also no longer obtained the personal ideas or independent perspectives that had kept them from being manipulated.
People require individual values in order to preserve their agency. Therefore, they also require the criticism and judgment that