Monday, July 02, 2007

Fahrenheit 451 explained

LA Weekly got the scoop on the most mis-understood novel of the last century.

Bradbury still has a lot to say, especially about how people do not understand his most literary work, Fahrenheit 451, published in 1953. It is widely taught in junior high and high schools and is for many students the first time they learn the names Aristotle, Dickens and Tolstoy.

Now, Bradbury has decided to make news about the writing of his iconographic work and what he really meant. Fahrenheit 451 is not, he says firmly, a story about government censorship. Nor was it a response to Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose investigations had already instilled fear and stifled the creativity of thousands.

Two thoughts come to mind about the mis-understanding, as it is labeled. First, I read this independent of any class or group. It took me a minute to catch-up to the fact that people did think it was about the government. My impression was closer to the explanation that Bradbury provides. However, I abhor most television and probably brought my own experience to the reading (thank goodness I didn't rely on experts in this case.)

Second, Rodney Dangerfield is in a movie where he goes back to college. The name escapes me (it's "Back to School" isn't it, o internet? That just seems too easy for my brain.) He pays Kurt Vonnegut to write a term paper for Rodney's character. Rodney gets a low grade and fires Vonnegut for not understanding himself.

Check out the article. It's pretty interesting.

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