Fahrenheit 451By: Ray Bradbury Group Analysis Project Ms. Shakespeare’s English I Fall 2010
Fahrenheit Reminders • Ray Bradbury- began writing book in 1950, published in 1953. This futuristic novel portrays America post-1990 as an anti-intellectual chaotic society. • Though society seems to have evolved, are the citizens more free or more enslaved? • We read this story in a more technologically advanced society, do you see similarities between their society and ours?
Assignment You will be creating group PowerPoint presentations about Fahrenheit 451 to be presented to the class. This project will take 3 class periods (2 in the computer lab, 1 in class). Groups of 3-4 students will be assigned to you. The slideshow will be your group’s interpretation of the story and its major points, including the impact it had on society.
Rubric 50 Points Possible
General Summary You need to give an overview of the major points in the story, making sure to include anything that you may want to reflect on later in your presentation. For example, if you think Montag meeting Clarisse was significant in the story, make sure to explain how they meet and how she leaves the story.
Example Summary Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books in a futuristic American city. In Montag’s world, firemen start fires rather than putting them out. The people in this society do not read books, enjoy nature, spend time by themselves, think independently, or have meaningful conversations. Montag encounters a gentle seventeen-year-old girl named Clarisse McClellan, who opens his eyes to the emptiness of his life with her innocently penetrating questions and her unusual love of people and nature. Fire chief Beatty explains that it’s normal for a fireman to go through a phase of wondering what books have to offer, and he delivers a dizzying monologue explaining how books came to be banned in the first place.
Summary Continued… Montag remembers that he once met a retired English professor named Faber sitting in a park, and he decides that this man might be able to help him understand what he reads. Faber agrees to help Montag with his reading, and they concoct a risky scheme to overthrow the status quo. Beatty forces Montag to burn his own house himself; when he is done, Beatty places him under arrest. Montag knocks the other firemen unconscious and runs.
Summary Continued… Montag manages to escape in the river and change into Faber’s clothes to disguise his scent. He drifts downstream into the country and follows a set of abandoned railroad tracks until he finds a group of renegade intellectuals. They are a part of a nationwide network of book lovers who have memorized many great works of literature and philosophy. Enemy jets appear in the sky and completely obliterate the city with bombs. Montag and his new friends move on to search for survivors and rebuild civilization.
Interpretation of Story’s Major Points Fahrenheit 451 had many controversial topics, the most obvious being the burning of books. Collaborate with your group members to discuss what you think Bradbury was trying to express to his readers. Be sure to pay attention to the use of technology in the story and its impact on the characters.
Example of Interpretation • Bradbury was trying to warn Americans of the dangers of becoming too technologically dependent. For example, if students relied on calculators in math classes, would they ever really learn division? • He also wanted to express concern over people who believe everything the government and authorities tell communities. It is important to think critically of information that is portrayed to you and develop your own opinions.
Societal Impact • Knowing that this book is often censored or banned, what do you think society’s (or the authorities’) response was to the material covered in Fahrenheit 451? • Did any of Bradbury’s suggestions from the 1950’s impact the future of technology? • Considering Clarisse and Faber’s intelligence and views in the novel, are there any implications for young people or English teachers?
Example of Societal Impact • While firemen do not start fires today, as Bradbury predicted sardonically in Fahrenheit 451, technology has evolved to an incredible level. Many question society’s dependence on technology today. • Bradbury put a fear into his readers by suggesting that the government would rule society’s thoughts by 1990.
Personal Reflection • As a group, determine whether Bradbury’s ideas have influenced the way you perceive reading and intelligence in our technological society. • Be sure to include examples to back your points.
Example of Reflection • Bradbury has caused me to be more critical of information given to me about what is “right or wrong.” For example, when the news comes out with a new study every day that tells me which foods or activities of mine may cause cancer. • I also value reading and the written word as a product of reading this book. It may be a dying art. For example, many people read the newspaper online instead of having it delivered to their door.
Quotes as Support • Be sure to include quotes within your slides to support your interpretations, implications, reflections and metaphor analyses. • For example, in explaining fire as a metaphor, I might use: Beatty, explaining the need to cremate the dead to make the living loose their memory: "Forget them. Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean."
Symbol Analysis • You need to choose at least 3 of the symbols from this book to analyze their meaning. • Tell what the symbol is: what represents some other idea or thing • Explain the meaning of representing it that way.
Symbols to Choose From • Salamander: The fireman insignia • Seashells: Ear radios people listen to • Fire: Burning books and houses • Montag: This is actually the name of a paper company • Faber: This is the name of a pencil manufacturing company • Parlor Family/Television: Artificial family watched for entertainment • Beatty: Mastermind behind censorship • Mechanical Hound: Computerized animal used to punish government enemies
Example of Symbol Parlor family/television: This artificial family embodies the quality that the government seeks most to promote in its people: superficiality. The parlor family knows nothing of reality, but instead is focused on temporal pleasures. Like the seashells, the televised family serves as a distraction and a mindless way to occupy man's mind.
Example of Symbol Salamander: The Salamander insignia represents the firemen of Bradbury's brave new world. Bradbury uses the Salamander to exemplify the decrepit nature of the government. This society, like a salamander, has sunk into the depths of depravity, and now, though seemingly modern, is really more primitive than ever.
Presentation Guidelines • Each group member must narrate at least one slide of the presentation. • The slideshows will be presented in class: this means no talking while your classmates are presenting! • There will be a group assessment after presentations where you will grade your group members and they will grade you. I will be the only one who sees this, but it DOES impact your final grade.
Due Date and Video • This project is due October 15 at the beginning of class. We will begin presentations then. • Video of Ray Bradbury talking about the motivation behind Fahrenheit 451: Ray Bradbury on Fahrenheit 451 • Good luck!