Ray Bradbury Essay

“It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the
brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the
blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all
the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.

With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the
thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that
burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted
above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping
pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house. While the books went up in
sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.”
The above quote is from Fahrenheit 451, my favorite
science fiction novel of all time, by Ray Bradbury. The
quote describes the main concept of the book and is very
appealing because it gives so much visual detail to the
scene. This story is set in a future where all books and
other written materials are forbidden. The main character’s
(Guy Montag’s) job is to burn books and the houses which the
books are hidden in. He never questions his actions until
he meets someone who tells him how it was in the past when
people didn’t live in fear and could read whatever they
wished. Then he does everything he can to prevent books from
being burned and starts wanting to learn more and more.

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I thought that this novel exercised great social
commentary on society as a whole. It shows how important
books are to us all. It also shows that some people feel
that knowledge is a threat to power and rule. Reading is a
freedom everyone should be able to enjoy.

Ray Bradbury is an American novelist, short-story
writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet. He
was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920. His work
has been included in the Best American Short Story
collections (1946,1948, and 1952). He has been awarded the
O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award in
1954, the Aviation-Space Writer’s Association Award for best
space article in an American Magazine in 1967, the World
Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand
Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America.

His animated film about the history of flight, Icarus
Montgolfier Wright, was nominated for an academy award, and
his teleplay of The Halloween Tree won an Emmy. Some of
Bradbury’s most famous books over the years are The Martian
Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, No Man is an Island, The
Golden Apples of the Sun, Dandelion Wine and of
course Fahrenheit 451.

Ray Bradbury’s writing has been honored in many ways,
but probably the most unusual was when an Apollo astronaut
named the Dandelion Crater on the Moon after Bradbury’s
novel, Dandelion Wine. Besides his literary achievements,
Ray Bradbury was the idea consultant and wrote the basic
scenario for the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York
World’s Fair. He thought up the metaphors for Spaceship
Earth, EPCOT, Disney World, and he contributed to the birth
of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney in France. He was
creative consultant for the Jon Jerde Partnership, the
architectural firm that blueprinted the Glendale Galleria,
The Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, and Horton Plaza in
San Diego.

Ray Bradbury is now living in California and is still
writing and lecturing.


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