Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 Why We Need Librarys Today Even More
Decades ago Bradbury was able to foresee that many would steer away from reading, instead choosing the easier path of sitting back and watching big TV screens allowing anything to take over their thinking. It's disturbing to see the scholars who walk the outskirts of the cities, homeless because the authorities have banished the readers. Those devoted to exercising their freedom, and helping others to learn the skill of freedom of thought are outcast.
One of the most interesting aspects of this novel is its author, Ray Bradbury, who received his education in the libraries. He loved hanging out in the library. It was a safe-haven for him in a time of economic depression in the country. This is where he got his education, among the stacks and in the pages of the books. This says a lot for how one can get an education. The library is one big school that any literate person can dive into, assuming he has one he can access.
This book is definitely a demonstration of the power of libraries. The word "library" is only mentioned a few times in the book, and each time it's in reference to personal libraries in people's homes. We can assume all the public libraries had already been destroyed by the time we show up in the sidelines of this story.
It's useful to go through this exercise of what it might be like in a country where reading is banned and the government controls the minds of the people and watches out for their activities. Look around. Today, men like Snowden are helping us keep an eye on the activities of the fire department. We all need to closely watch as we decide what to do with our time each day.
The classics do us no good until they're read. If people are so distracted with the little seashells and thimbles in their ear, with their TVs and their cell phones, getting lost in the media, then they lose sight of their own life. They get sucked up into entertainment, programming them with violent action and sitcom-style messages of what to drink and eat, and how to behave.
In one of his own commentaries on his book, Ray Bradbury mentions that he wrote the original version of this novella straight through in about 9 days. He estimated that it cost him $9.80 in dimes that he put into the typewriter at the UCLA library. He needed to write in the library to avoid distraction from his children at home. And he needed to write quickly in the library so as not to burn up too many dimes. This is clear evidence that writing without thinking too much about it can produce powerful messages. This was a culmination of ideas that had been stirring up in his mind after he wrote The Pedestrian.