Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury*s dystopian masterpiece

Fahrenheit 451:
Ray Bradbury’s
dystopian masterpiece
"There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a
woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't
stay for nothing."
Fahrenheit 451: Historical context:
Take notes on “The Fifties” informational text in
“historical context” section of notes:
 Include at least five bullet points.
 Paraphrase using your own words.
 List at least five major events and/or
characteristics of the time period.
 Identify at least two quotes from the novel
that reflect the historical and cultural
period in which it was written.
 Nazi book burnings of late 30s
 Senate hearings of Joseph
McCarthy during the “Red Scare”
 Blacklisting
 1970s censorship of Fahrenheit
Nazi Book burning
 "Out of the nursery into the college and
back to the nursery; there's your
intellectual pattern for the past five
centuries or more," Captain Beatty tells
 Cold War
 Fear of Technology and robots
 Image of “the mad scientist”
“On each landing, opposite the lift-shaft, the poster with the enormous
face gazed from the wall. It was one of those pictures which are so
contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. BIG
BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran.”
–George Orwell, 1984
Remnants of the Cold War
on view in Washington D.C.
Write a clear and detailed two paragraph commentary
evaluating how Bradbury’s F451 reflects the culture of the
time period:
 Describe American cultural fears and concerns of the era
and how each came about. Include at least one quote
from the text to show how Bradbury commented on that
 Analyze how at least one of the concerns Bradbury
describes in the text is still a valid concern today.
Include at least one quote from the text to support your
Narrative Voice:
Define each type:
 First person
 Second person
 Third person omniscient
 Third person limited
Narrative voice exercise: Choose one passage that you
wrote about for your summer assignment—describe the
scene from the first person point of view of a character
other than Montag.
Structure of the novel:
The novel’s three part structure reflects Montag’s shift from passivity to
active rebellion against the dystopian society. How does each chapter title
reflect his state?
 “The Hearth and the Salamander” (37)
 “The Sand and the Sieve” (74)
Putting sand in a sieve=
 “Burning Bright” (139)
Technology as progress?
Reread Beatty’s visit to Montag when he is “sick”—aprox. pages
 Why is he there? Why doesn’t Montag want him there?
 What does he reveal to Montag and the reader about the
history of this society? Describe the shifts in education,
technology and public preference.
 Who are the “parlor aunts” heard in the background? What is
their significance?
 What direct connections can you make between Beatty’s
description of their current society and ours today? Should we
be worried about some of the same problems as Montag?
Allusions in literature:
 Define allusion and provide one example and
supporting quote for each. Explain the significance
of the allusion.
 Biblical allusions: Book of Job
 Shakespearean allusions: Caesar
 Mythological allusions: Hercules
 Historical references: heretics burnt at stake
Bradbury and his
use of imagery:
 Read the background about Bradbury and the
interview with him about F451.
 Evaluate how he portrays images of fire, both literal
and figurative in each section of the novel.
 Consider how the associations with fire shift over
the course of the novel.
 Provide at least three specific supporting quotes to
support your analysis.
Contemporary context:
Explain the message and tone