HS English – FAHRENHEIT 451

“There are worse crimes than burning books. One of them is not reading them.” ~ Ray Bradbury

Ray Bradbury, one of the most widely-read authors of our time, is the author of the classic novel, Fahrenheit 451, which depicts a world where books are banned and burned. The title, Fahrenheit 451, refers to the temperature at which paper burns. Guy Montag, the central character, learns the value of literature and thinking for oneself in a world where owning and reading books is considered illegal. Firemen no longer protect homes from fire, and instead are charged with the responsibility of burning homes of law breakers to the ground. At the conclusion of Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag meets a group of men who have taken on the task of memorizing books to ensure that literature is not lost to mankind. Freshman, Bridgette Beltran thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. “Fahrenheit 451 was a fantastic book. I loved what it was about and how it makes people think about things they don’t consider truly important, such as books. I was really fascinated with the way Bradbury wrote and the way he used his words. He knew how to put the feelings and intensity of moments into words.”
The importance of literature in our society was a recurrent theme in Mrs. Chrastka’s class discussion. Emily Hylbert, another member of the freshman class, believes that Fahrenheit 451 is a valuable book to read. “Fahrenheit 451 helped me to truly understand the importance of literature. This book empowers young teenagers to form their own opinions on the importance of literature and to develop critical thinking skills. These are important assets for a developing teenager to have as they become more independent in life. I enjoyed, and strongly recommend this book.” Bridgette agrees, “I feel like this book helped my reading fluency because of the way it was put together. I recommend this book to all teenagers.”

As a culmination of the unit, students were asked to imagine living in a world where books are being burned to ashes, and access to online texts only provides information on what the government deems appropriate. The ability to think for oneself, and to experience the joy of discovering a beloved book, is being wiped from existence. Future generations will not even realize what they have lost unless the students took action. Students needed to determine what ten books they deemed worthy of saving, and then wrote a persuasive argument to convince others of each book’s value. In addition, they turned their arguments into art in the form of mini-fold books.

Mrs. Chrastka’s freshman English class read this thought-provoking novel earlier this school year. Due to a limited number of copies, students needed to share books.  Thanks to the Educational Foundation Grant, every student will have their own copy next year. This will make it much easier for students to read the book at their own pace, better their level of understanding, and ultimately increase their appreciation of literature.