Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451 and the Burning of Bibles
I truly fell in love with literature when I was 15 years old and read books like Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 for the first time. These dystopian societies haunted me as I took in the societal commentary suggested by these authors. Their stories had a great impact on my life, which made me feel a strong sense of melancholy when I heard that Ray Bradbury passed away today.
What I really loved about books like these is that they seemed to serve as warnings; ‘Society, if you completely set aside literature for multimedia, we could lose one of the most beautiful things about us’ or ‘If we blindly follow, we will face an inevitable doom.’ But at the end of the day, these were still works of fictions- the atrocities in these books did not happen in real life.
But what about a society where this does happen?
The firemen in Fahrenheit 451 set fire to books in this novel. The chilling scene of the woman who was burned alive in her home while her books were set ablaze is a haunting image that has always stayed with me- a woman who believed in something so much that she was willing to die for it.
There is a story from a few years ago of a church in Africa that was burned down to the ground. Barely anything remained- pieces of a pew, part of a cross and a few pages of a burnt Bible. The believers, who had lost everything, clung onto these few remaining pieces of God’s word. In a society that tried to abolish their beliefs, this was the most precious thing to them…something they were willing to die for.
So as we remember Ray Bradbury today, please take a moment to pray for our brothers and sisters who live in societies that draw a chillingly similar parallel to that of Fahrenheit 451.