Ray Bradbury: Fahrenheit 451 Misinterpreted

This legend of thoughtful science fiction schools us on the real meaning of his most studied (and apparently, most misinterpreted) novel of a future without books.

He says the culprit in Fahrenheit 451 is not the state — it is the people. Unlike Orwell’s 1984, in which the government uses television screens to indoctrinate citizens, Bradbury envisioned television as an opiate. In the book, Bradbury refers to televisions as “walls” and its actors as “family,” a truth evident to anyone who has heard a recap of network shows in which a fan refers to the characters by first name, as if they were relatives or friends.

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