Ideas For Reports and Papers

1. Research Senator Joseph McCarthy’s anti-Communist crusade of the early 1950s, and write a paper discussing how it may have influenced Bradbury’s writing of Fahrenheit 451.

2. The characters in Fahrenheit 451 live in a society ruled by a totalitarian government; that is, the government controls almost all aspects of their lives. In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell also depicts a society dominated by a totalitarian government. Write a paper comparing Bradbury’s and Orwell’s visions of life under a totalitarian government.

3. Fire imagery appears throughout the novel. For example, Bradbury at one point refers to Montag and Mildred’s living room as a volcano. Write a paper discussing Bradbury’s use of fire imagery. Is it an effective device?

4. Watch Francois Truffaut’s film version of Fahrenheit 451 and compare it to the book. What changes does Truffaut make in the story line? Why do you think he made them? Do you prefer the novel or the movie? Why?

5. Written in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 paints a bleak picture of future American society. Do you think that the social problems that prompted Bradbury to write the novel have improved or worsened since the book’s publication? Do you think that any aspects of Bradbury’s vision of the future will come true? Can you find parallels in today’s society for the novel’s Seashell radios and the “parlor walls”?

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