The shelf life of the Science Fiction genre comes into play as we move into the “future” these works of literature once envisioned. The dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, published originally in 1953, gave readers a look into a future where books were outlawed and firemen actually created fires to burn books and those caught harboring them. It’s the kind of story that remains a classic; so many examples in history of people and societies realizing the way they’ve been living or treating others isn’t what’s best for everyone.
The novel paints the landscape that knowledge is power in the hands of the people. Censorship, book burning, and killing of rule breakers enforces an attempt to keep people uninformed and easier to control against their natural wills and rights. The main character’s world is flipped upside down based on the people he meets who begin to suggest and prove to him that his job is to burn knowledge to help keep everyone uninformed. When the reality of his role sets in, he begins to defect. He gains knowledge and becomes an enemy of the state. In today’s society of quick movement of information thanks to social media, students can be challenged to draw parallels on the liberty of staying informed and receiving knowledge.
Censorship is a central theme tackled in the novel. The government of this country wants to keep information out of the hands and minds of the people. The metaphor of burning books represents complete control over what information the people receive. Real world connections abound, from our constitutional rights to how other nations may or may not censor their media.
With Castle Learning, teachers can access 141 questions about Fahrenheit 451. Teachers will find a combination of question types available to assess comprehension of the play, including multiple choice, short answer, fill-in-the-blank, and constructed/extended response.
Questions are broken down into the three parts of the book: Part One: The Hearth and the Salamander, Part Two: The Sieve and The Sand, and Part Three: Burning Bright. There’s also a study app available for purchase for students to continue their study of the play.
Teachers can use the content in any way that helps them best teach the play. They can even input their own questions, allowing complete control over how they guide students to explore and create meaning from the text.