Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is a utopian and dystopian fiction novel that talks about the censorship of books. Through the use of vivid imagery, Ray Bradbury shows us the authoritarian society that causes many conflicts. The authoritarian society is demonstrated through many ways including censorship. Censorship is the prohibition of books and media that are considered a threat to society, politically unacceptable, and obscene. The authoritarian society’s charactersistic of censorship is visible in many parts of the world today. India’s laws stand against censorship through Part 3 of the Constitution of India. China’s laws stands against censorship through Article 35 of the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China. Pakistan’s laws stand against censorship through Part 1 of the Constituiton of Pakistan. Despite laws against censorship in Asia, censorship like that of Farenheit 451 is still visible in these places because of the important information that governments in these places restrict and ban.
One example of censorship in Fahrenheit 451 would be the changing of information in books. According to Bradbury, “Established 1970, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin” (Bradbury 16). This was written in the book of the firemen that Beatty read to Montag to clear Montag’s doubts. This is a form of censorship and power as the government rewrote the books to convey what they want and support them. Also, this is a form of corruption as people usually believe what they read and see. Essentially, these rewritten books change the minds of people and convey false information so it is corrupt.
I see lots of books written to censor information for kids around the world. A real world example would be “Judith Saltman”. This text originally talked against the purpose of libraries and schools. This book was censored and completely rewritten as the new text stands against the original text. The new text praises libraries and schools with pride. This connects to the abused power as authority figures and the government manipulate books to support them. Another example of censorship in Fahrenheit 451 would be when Beatty talks about giving a person only one choice. In Fahrenheit 451, it states “If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.” (Bradbury 29).
This was said by Beatty to try to convince Montag to come to work. This is censorship as Beatty is talking about only giving people one choice. Essientially, the government is censoring the other option just so people would pick the only option available. This is a form of power as the government and authority figures are choosing the decisions that an individual should be able to pick by himself. The government and authority figures are abusing their power as this is disrupting people’s happiness and their freedom to make choices.
I see lots of people only given one option even though there is a lot more. Sometimes in hospitals especially in Asia, doctors and specialists tend to portray the most expensive treatment as the only one. This is in the motive to attain as much money as possible. Practically, this is an abuse of power as they are literally stealing money from people. The incident of the hound is another example of censorship.
One more example of censorship in Fahrenheit 451 would be when Captain Beatty censors information about the hound. According to Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, “‘What, the Hound?’ … It doesn’t like or dislike. It just ‘functions.’ It’s like a lesson in ballistics. It has a trajectory we decide for it. It follows through.’” (Bradbury 12). This was told by Beatty to Montag to clear the doubt he had about the Hound. This is censorship as Beatty is conveying false information about the Hound’s purpose. Beatty is trying to hide the true purpose and objective of the hound to his co-worker. This is also power as Beatty knows about the true purpose and it is corruption as he doesn’t share the correct information to Montag.
A real life example would be when some websites have false information or undermines serious information. Some websites describe the purpose of wars as fighting for land. However, wars could be fought for many other reasons including political and economical reasons. Also in Fahrenheit 451, it states “The temperature at which book-paper catches fire and burns” (Bradbury 1). This was at the extreme beginning of the novel and this lets the readers know that the firemen are burning books.
The firemen are using their power which also happens to be their duty. However, it is corruption as burning someone’s hard work and thoughts is immoral. This is censorship as they censoring all types of books as all books according to them are pointless and goes against their dystopian society. A real life example of this situation would be autobiography of Adolf Hitler. The reason is because of the fact that it talks about the man who lead the Holocaust, the mass murder of Jews. There are many current issues which support that censorship still takes place in Asia.
“How Market Dynamics of Domestic and Foreign Social Media Firms Shape Strategies of Internet Censorship” written by Jennifer Pan is an article that talks about the general concept of censorship. Moreover, it focuses on how different types of media such as television, newspapers, and radios affects internet censorship in China. According to the article, it says “Authoritarian regimes have gone to great lengths to impose control over traditional media … through government ownership of media outlets.” (Pan 1). This quote talks about how Chinese authority figures go to all extent to censor information.
Censorship is a topic that affects the current society in many parts of the world including China as the readers can tell from this article. This connects back to Bradbury’s society as firemen are used to stop the use of books which is technically the act of going to all extents (Bradbury 1). “The Dilemma of Criticism: Disentangling The Determinants of Media Censorship In China” written by Li Shao is an article that discusses how Chinese censors respond differently to political than they do to performance challenges. Shao supports the claims made by Pan in his article by saying that cenorship does take place in the current society.
According to Shao, China censors important information to prevent fighting and conflicts in China. In his article, Shao says “Recent literature claims that China censors information that has the potential to ignite collective action” (Shao 1). This quote says that China does not want to “ignite collective action” and censors information that could potentially do so. Censorship of these information could prevent citizens from taking an action to change China in a way they would like to live. This ties back to Bradbury’s society when Faber states “Number one: Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality” (Bradbury 39). This talks about how books are important due to quality. When firemen burn books, they are burning important information. Censorship also takes places in India through many forms.
“Case Study: Film Censorship In India” written by Aditya Kumar Panda is an article that talks about the reasons why certain films are censored or banned in India. He admits that films are censored due to various reasons such as poltical, religious, sexual, and economical reasons. According to Aditya, “A film is also censored if it incites any kind of communal conflict under a heterogeneous nation” (Panda 9). This quote depicts that one of the reasons films get censored is due to a film centering around communal conflict.
Censorship of such information may limit the knowledge a person has about that certain conflict. This links to Bradbury’s society when they burn English books which help people gain knowledge (Bradbury 40). “Intellectual Freedom, Censorship, & Case Law” written by Lori McLaguhlin and Randy Henrdricks is an article that talks about why different books in South Asia were censored and if censorship is legal.
According to the article, it says “Profanity, violence, sexual content, homosexuality, witchcraft, racism, and sexist language are common reasons books have been questioned” (Lori & Randy 9). The readers can tell some common reasons of censorship from reading this quote. Censorship is a broad topic that takes place for a variety of reasons including violence and racism. This ties back to Bradbury’s society when they burn books for the sole reason of it being English and the belief that there is no point in those books (Bradbury 27). Censorship of these kinds of books can prevent a person from learning about all possibilities and aspects of life. Cenorship can also affect one’s knowledge and intelligence.
“21st Century Censorship” is a journal by Phillip Bennett and Moises Naim. It focuses on how censorship affects the current society. Furthermore, Bennet and Naim talk about how the censorship affects a person’s knowledge. According to the article, “In Pakistan, the state regulatory authority suspended the license of Geo TV… after a defamation claim against it was made by the intelligence services following a shooting of one of the station’s best-known journalists” (Phillip & Moises 1). This quote gives us an example of censorship in Pakistan and we can clearly tell the freedom of press is suppressed in the current society.
Essentially, censorship can shut down people’s viewpoints and beliefs easily. This ties back to Bradbury’s society when he mentions that firemen are punished as well if caught with books (Bradbury 17). There are many people in the world who state that all forms of censorship is abolished.
In discussions of censorship, a conterversial issue is whether laws and rules prohibit censorship. While some argue that laws stand against censorship, others contend that censorship is not protected. According to the American Library Association, “The right to speak and the right to publish under the First Amendment has been interpreted widely to protect individuals and society from government …” (First Amendment & Censorship 1). Although this quote depicts that the first amendment protects the act of censorship from the government, censorship still takes place in many parts of world including the US.
According to the “First Amendment & Censorship”, it says “Deciding what is and is not protected speech is almost always reserved for a court of law” (First Amendment & Censorship 2). This quote clearly states that the court has the power to decide what speech should be publicized and what should not. When they decide that a certain speech should not be publicized, they are censoring information from the people. Therefore, the claim that the American Library Assoication is false.
Censorship is a topic demonstrated in Fahrenheit 451 and the current society around the world especially in India, China, & Pakistan. In order to prevent censorship in the current society, the governments should pass a law stating that the banning and restriction of any material is illegal. Even if it is inappropriate, the government cannot ban or restrict them as people put forth effort and time to produce that material.
To stop the abuse of power, the government and the citizens should be able to impeach anyone that abuses power like in the United States of America. Censorship could be prevented in the current society if these safeguards and policies were passed. Overall, the society demonstrated in Fahrenheit 451 is visible in the current society.