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Farenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury Essay

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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a powerful book about a future American society that fears and hates books and instead prefers to live lives of ignorant, entertained bliss while the world darkens around them. In the end, this society is nearly decimated by a nuclear holocaust unleashed by America's latest war. The protagonist of this story, Guy Montag, is a firefighter whose job it is to burn books, but he eventually turns on the fire department and survives the nuclear bombs by fleeing to the countryside. There he finds a group of wandering former scholars who are desperately trying to preserve the books of old by establishing a vast network of former readers who memorize the great works they have read. They believe the key to rebuilding society lies in the shelves of this human library. If I were Guy Montag and I could only save five books for humanity, I would choose books that would aid society in balancing its rationality with its emotional impulses. As long as Homo sapiens have roamed the Earth, man has asked himself the question: why should I make this choice? This question asks the inquirer to answer based on his reason, his passion, or a combination of both. This future society will need to determine the roles that reason and passion will play in the important decisions to come, and the books I have selected will help them make informed choices. These books are The Complete Anthology of the Works of William Shakespeare by William Shakespeare, A Discourse on Method by Rene Descartes, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, A Critique of Pure Reason by Immanuel Kant, and Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.
Few writers, if any, have captured the full breadth of human emotion like the British playwright and poet William Shakespea...


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...measure of any great society is its ability not only to rebuild from the ashes of catastrophe but also to learn from the errors that led to disaster. The ultimate lesson of Fahrenheit 451 is that to ignore reality is to suffer its consequences. The Americans in the book are doomed because they collectively shun both reason and passion. They shun reason because it requires the exertion of oneself to arduous thought, and they shun passion because emotions create the possibility of feeling disappointment along with triumph. To overcome their current circumstances and to prove America's greatness, the survivors will have to devote themselves to bridging the connection between their minds and their hearts in order to make each of them worthy of Shakespeare's declaration, "the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world, 'This was a man!"



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