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All Thanks to Censorship

Imagine your kid is using a computer, and they click on an add that takes them to a harmful, inappropriate website. You think to yourself, why isn’t there censorship on the internet to protect my kids? Why don’t we just censor everything that might negate my/our personal beliefs? Well, Ray Bradbury might think that there are some flaws in that statement. In his most popular book, “Fahrenheit 451”, Bradbury writes about a dystopian society that censors everything from its society that might cause controversy. Like most classic books, his book includes a protagonist (Guy Montag), and a antagonist (Beatty). Throughout his novel, Bradbury uses foreshadowing, paradoxes and his character's internal monologue to show that censorship can be harmful.

First and foremost, Bradbury uses his character's internal monologue and events in the plot to show that censorship, when used to a certain extent, can be extremely manipulative and influence one's opinions. Throughout the book, there are many cases of manipulative censorship present. There is also, many mentions of fire as well. One large case of manipulative censorship surprisingly involved fire, and its true meaning. “That small motion, the white and red color, a strange fire because it meant something different to him. It was not burning. It was warming” (147). Montag finally realizes the true meaning of fire, and how it's not something in life that should be feared. However, his preconceived notion of fire was that fire is specialized to only burn down houses and books, and to be used as fear factor to prevent citizens from reading books. Society had hid the true meaning of fire, and influenced its own opinion of the substance, showcasing how manipulative censorship can actually be. Another example of manipulative censorship is how the society in Fahrenheit 451 has completely obliterated all preconceived concepts of what Fireman do, so they can manipulate the community and tell them what they want fireman to do. Montag slowly begins to realize this as his curiosity grows and the book progresses. “Established, 1790, to burn English influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin” (38) As you can see, society censors all of the true events to showcase only their opinion, making it so there opinion is the only one to believe. Bradbury included this element in his book to showcase the manipulative features of censorship, and the dangers that come with it.


In addition, Bradburry shows censorship can suspend and eradicate internal thought by using foreshadows throughout his novel. When censorship is present, in many cases, it censors out something that showcases an opinion, or personal belief. While in other cases it could be used to block out something, or hide something in spite of it inducing fear or controversy. Many times throughout the book, especially in the beginning, Montag would stop and listen to the Jet bombers going over and think nothing of them, along with the rest of society. “The jet bombers going over, going over, going over, one two, one two” (Bradbury 17). The Jet bombers flyingover town throughout the book represented a much more important topic than many may have realized. It signified the fact that there was a war going on and it foreshadowed that something bad was soon to come. But with the censorship this society was experiencing, it made it seem like the war was ultimately nothing, and the fact that the citizens showed no recognition of how bad war actually is, it shows that there is an element of the suspension of internal thought. The ignorance and lack of education of the people, which was developed by the censorship of the outside world,  eventually lead to their downfall as the war destroyed their city, and took the lives of many of the residents as well. Bradbury shows through his foreshadows and ignorance of the censored citizens that censoring out all of the “bad” events in society can, in turn, eradicate all opinions and personal thoughts which could lead to some devastating consequences.


Finally, Bradbury uses paradoxes throughout his novel to show that censorship can cause extreme stubborn and ignorance among a society. In many cases involving censorship, it's using the power of censorship to manipulate and influence and large and/or small group of people. The people using this form of censorship get a large sum of people to believe in their idea, and only their idea because there isn't another idea to fight this one. In turn, this cause these influenced individuals to be extremely prideful about “their” opinion, rejecting most others. One major example in Fahrenheit 451 is whenever Millie talked to the walls. The walls censored Millie from all outside opinions and influenced her to point where she won’t accept any view on any topic/subject unless it came directly from the walls, Montag started to realize this and then eventually thought “Nobody listens any more. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me. I can’t talk to my wife, she listens to the walls” (Bradbury 84). This quote shows how harmful censorship can actually be. If the walls, with the right amount of censorship can influence anyone to believe their opinions, imagine the horrors that would come this power being in even worse hands. Bradbury uses this paradox to showcase the stubbornness that censorship from the outside world's opinions could cause. This is why it's good to experience different viewpoints, different opinions. It open us up socially to where we can have normal conversations without controversy.

To Conclude, Ray Bradbury, author of “Fahrenheit 451” shows through his character's internal monologue, foreshadows and paradoxes that censorship can be harmful because when censorship is used to a certain extent it can be devilishly manipulative and influence a large or small groups opinion, eradicate and eliminate internal thought through society and because censorship can cause extreme ignorance and recalcitrance among a society. This is why everything needs a limit. Censorship, when used correctly can actually be beneficial. It can block out inappropriate content from today's youth. But when it's used wrongfully, and as a manipulator it can be very harmful and have some horrid consequences. Seeing other people's viewpoints, even when it's not yours can sometimes be beneficial, and when we as a society realize that our world could become much better.






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