Censorship Quotes in Fahrenheit 451: Examples & Analysis

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  • 0:03 Thinking About Reading
  • 0:26 Beatty Explains Censorship
  • 1:10 Firemen's Job Description
  • 2:02 No One Cares
  • 2:51 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

'Fahrenheit 451' is a novel about a dystopian society where citizens voluntarily stop thinking and making decisions when they choose technology, like television, over more meaningful pursuits, like books and conversation. In this lesson, we'll look at censorship in this novel.

Thinking About Reading

Why would government leaders want to stop citizens from reading? Books evoke thoughts and emotions. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, emotions and thoughts are exactly what the government wants to avoid through censorship. Censorship is removing materials that conflict with society's standards. Let's take a closer look at censorship in this novel.

Beatty Explains Censorship

Beatty, the Captain at the firehouse, suspects that Montag is having an identity crisis as he begins to think about what it means to be a fireman who enforces censorship by burning homes containing books. When Montag feigns illness after burning a home with a woman inside, Beatty comes to Montag's home to talk him through it. Beatty explains that censorship didn't start with the government; it started with conflict between minority groups and technology that allowed entertainment to be more easily digested without offending anyone; ''There you have it, Montag. It didn't come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God~.

Firemen's Job Description

Even though the history portion of the fireman's manual states that firehouses started when Benjamin Franklin starting censoring British books, Clarisse suggests that there may have been a different history. Montag is ridiculed when he asks about it at the firehouse, but Beatty confirms that at one point, firemen put out accidental fires rather than starting them for the purpose of censorship. The job description changed after houses became fireproof. Beatty explains, ''…there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That's you, Montag, and that's me.'' Captain Beatty takes great pride in his part of making the world happy through freedom of ''conflicting theory and thought.''

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