Censorship and Independent Thought in Society

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Censorship and Independent Thought in Society Censorship and independent thought are major themes throughout Ray Bradbury’s novel Fahrenheit 451 and are also important concepts in our society. These two ideals are constantly at odds against each other. The balance of these two concepts often determines the success or failure of a society. Uncontrolled censorship in society never works to the advantage of society. In Fahrenheit 451, the government used extreme censorship to keep the citizens blissfully happy. The battle between independent thought and censorship made a new job for the firemen. The firemen burn any and all books rather than putting out fires as they were initially assigned to do. The government feels that books cause independent thought, which confuses people and makes people unhappy. As an effect, the firemen become, “custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior: official censors, judges, and executors” (59). The firemen’s job is to fight the independent thought in books and the people, like the old woman, that owned them. Independent thought prevails despite all the oppression through people such as Clarisse McClellan and Professor Faber. These people are continuously curious and constantly question the world around them. Montag comes to realize that the government can never completely rid the world of independent thought. This realization occurs first as a small inkling after meeting Clarisse McClellan, the young girl who makes him question the world around him, then it progresses to complete awareness after the condemnation of an old woman to death who loves her books so much that she willfully dies with them. This causes him to begin to notice a lack of purpose in their society because of the lack of independent thought. Montag then begins his mission to fight it. Montag finally comes to

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