Perhaps the best of the major Bradbury works, novel “Fahrenheit 451” draws anti-utopian society of the future, and in fact – “our reality, a reductio ad absurdum.” Bradbury invented a state where reading and storing books is prohibited by law. For the sake of political correctness and overall calmness, the level of spiritual and intellectual inquiries of the citizens is artificially undervalued. But there are rebels and fugitives.
This is one of the rare science fiction by Bradbury, nevertheless very exciting, touching and yet very lively and dynamic. A relatively simple story is full of allusions, including biblical texts and complex symbolism.
In 1934, Bradbury lived in Los Angeles and watched at least 12 films a week. Before every film a newsreel material was broadcast, and one them deeply shocked him. It was when before his eyes flashed grainy black and white footage of the Nazis throwing books into the flaming fires, and these scenes have left a scorched mark in his subconscious. Ray sat bathed with light projectors, flames reflected in his round glasses, and tears rolled down his face.
During the Great Depression, books – especially, free books from the public library – were his only consolation. In 1966, in the preface to his book “Fahrenheit 451,” Ray Bradbury wrote: “When Hitler burned books, I had a keen feeling as if he killed a man. However, in the end history, people and books are of one flesh.”
In the late forties, Ray wrote a number of works which he later called “the five crackers,” due to which Fahrenheit 451 broke through: The Bonfire, Bright Phoenix, The Exiles, Usher II and The Pedestrian. These stories touched on the theme of censorship, books banning and burning, personal strength or rescuing art from the clutches of those who could destroy it. All of them belong to the genre of social satire and turned to the issues especially close to Ray Bradbury.
In 2011 HarperCollins Publishing Pleasure bunny containing short-stories by Bradbury which late became the basis for the Fahrenheit 451. This book included as works famous to Bradbury’s reader, as unreleased ones. In particular, the book were based on such short-stories as Fireman and Far to midnight (not to be confused with the book having the same title, which Bradbury wrote later).
The Pedestrian (the story of which actually Fahrenheit 451 grew up) was born from a very strange case, that happened to the writer himself. It impressed him so much that became a fixed idea he returned to not once in his works.
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