Fahrenheit 451
Teresa Sutton
Bradbury on writing Fahrenheit 451 (8.00)
“The Pedestrian” (5.00)
“There Will Come Soft Rain” (2.59)
• “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon
• This is the line Montag accidentally reads.
• This is the first book he steals.
• This prompts him to think.
From Ray Bradbury’s obituary
in the New York Times, June 6, 2012
“Ray Bradbury, a master of science fiction whose imaginative
and lyrical evocations of the future reflected both the
optimism and the anxieties of his own postwar America, died
on Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91.”
…represent science and technology as a mixed bag of
blessings and abominations
imaginative and lyrical evocations of the future
He described his method of composition as
“word association,” often triggered by a
favorite line of poetry.
reflected both the optimism and the anxieties
of his own postwar America
8 million copies
36 different languages
The Science Fiction of the novel
Fahrenheit 451: The burning point of books
Utopian/Dystopian Fiction
“The Pedestrian”
“There Will Come Soft Rains”
“The Pedestrian”
• Walking is a crime
• One police car patrols 2
million citizens because
everyone is inside
watching TV
A company called Scarab has invented an unmanned
police car that catches speeders
Here's an "innovation" we hope will remain a design concept: the
Scarab Chase Assistant is an electric semi-autonomous police vehicle.
When a speeder zips by, a cop electronically tags that car with radar,
and then sends the Scarab scurrying after it. What does this little
RoboCop do when it catches up to the speeder?
Well, it doesn't bark out, "Put down your weapon. You have 20
seconds to comply." When this technology first rolls out, it will merely
attempt to peacefully convince suspects to pull over to the side of the
road the way a normal cop car would.
Down the road, its designer foresees using electromagnetic pulse or
signal jamming equipment that could force a fleeing vehicle to stop.
Or hey, the cop-bot could just use GM's OnStar system that can
remotely stop a vehicle now.
“There Will Come Soft Rains”
Smart House
Automated clean-up
Monitoring for intruders
Monitoring for fires and extinguishing them
Keeping track of schedules for family members
Smart houses…not just for
Bill Gates anymore…
The Science Fiction of Fahrenheit 451
• Ray Bradbury’s biographer confirmed that
Bradbury’s process was simply to think about
something current (televisions) and project
where it might go wrong in the future…
• …He was dead on accurate…
The Electric Eye Snake Stomach Pump
In the not-too-distant future
imagined by Bradbury in the novel,
accidental suicide by ingestion of
freely available tranquilizers and
other drugs is so common that
machines are created to deal with it.
• Mildred’s overdose:
• “They had this machine. [It]
slid down into your stomach
like a black cobra down an
echoing well looking for all the
old water and the old time
gathered there... Did it suck
out all of poisons accumulated
with the years? It fed in silence
with an occasional sound of
inner suffocation and blind
searching... The entire
operation was not unlike the
digging of a trench in one's
yard. “
Here's another description: “He
tried to count how many times she
swallowed and he thought of the
visit from the two zinc-oxide-faced
men with the cigarettes in their
straight-lined mouths and the
electronic-eyed snake winding
down into the layer upon layer of
night and stone and stagnant
spring water, and he wanted to call
out to her, how many have you
taken tonight?”
Stomach Pump
Today, 2014
Mechanical Hound
• with its
needle nose
that is capable
of tracking
down traitors
who dare to
own books
$44.95 (sings and dances)
Seashells in the Ears
Room Mice
Couldn’t find a picture of a room
with four walls covered in
television screens, but looks like
we’re getting close…
The Big Questions
• Has television
destroyed interest in
• Is this analogous to
book burning?

Fahrenheit 451 - Wappingers Central School District