The Background

Some of the things we do to PREpare for the book are look into the History of book burning, come to know where we stand on some of the big ideas with an anticipation activity in the book, and get to know the author a bit.

Getting to Know When Ray Bradbury Wrote the Book

  • Censorship and the history of book burning.
  • We use this to get introduced to what led up to and away from the tense atmosphere in the 1950’s as we talk about censorship and move into McCarthyism. Senator Joseph McCarthy illustrated for us all that fear, paranoia and sensationalism are dangerous things.

Getting to Know Ray Bradbury

Here you will find a resource to familiarize yourself with the life, work and philosophy of Ray Bradbury. Who was he? Why did he become the person he became? How did he become that person? What would Ray Bradbury want of you? from you? for you? How would he tell you? What would be your reply to his request?

One thing about the death of a great person is the promise of immortality. With the death of Ray Bradbury, we have the opportunity to pass on into the future a message of great import instructing us to take our selves and love our way into the world.

In the following embedded Fresh Air radio broadcasted interview called Writer Ray Bradbury (station WHYY) from November 17th, 2000, Mr. Bradbury says many things. These initial questions could give you an angle from which to consider Mr. Bradbury’s comments.

  1. How old was Mr. Bradbury when he learned to read?
  2. Name three authors who are just some of Mr. Bradbury’s biggest inspirations?
  3. What do teachers do? And What do libraries do?
  4. When he was 12 years old . . .
    1. What did he do every day after his experiences when he was 12 years old?
    2. What happened when Mr. Bradbury when he was 12 years old?
    3. A month after his discovery when he was 12, he met a man. Who was that man?
    4. What did he become after his experiences when he was 12 years old?
  5. Who wrote the book Fahrenheit 451? Where did the author’s come from?
  6. Who is responsible for the writing of Fahrenheit 451?
  7. Who is Clarisse? What is she? What does she inspire Montag, the main character, to do?
  8. Who is Aldous Huxley to Mr. Bradbury?
  9. What did Aldous Huxley tell Mr. Bradbury? What kind of writer did Huxley tell Mr. Bradbury he was?
  10. What is the most important book in Bradbury’s life?
  11. What book did Bradbury write when he was in his thirties that was inspired by The Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens?
  12. What kind of experience should reading be? Could reading be?
  13. What is the answer to life?
  14. Why does Mr. Bradbury think his books are popular?
  15. What is at the center of his books?
  16. How old was Mr. Bradbury when he “discovered” he was alive?
  17. You must “love what you do and do what you love.” What instructions does Mr. Bradbury give to young people on this idea?
  18. What should be the center of your life?
  19. What epitaph does Mr. Bradbury give us to remember him by?
  20. What T-shirt is Mr. Bradbury going to have made?
  21. How can you interpret this figurative statement?
  22. Ray Bradbury mentioned that he was surrounded by people who did not believe in the future. Do you believe the world is full of people who do not believe in the future? What does Mr. Bradbury believe you can do to instill hope for the future in people who seem hopeless? What did he do?
  23. What could Mr. Bradbury have meant when he said, “By doing things, things get done”?
  24. What could Mr. Bradbury have meant by, “The things you do should be things that you love, and things that you love should be things that you do.”

Additionally, I offer a text-based (easier to quote) interview which is part of a series from the Paris Review – The Art of Fiction No. 203, Ray Bradbury.

This is the June 6th announcement of the death of Ray Bradbury (died June 5, 2012) on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition.

SYMBOLISM & Allegory – The most important things to pay attention to.

We will look at Symbolism as it is so fully dealt with in Fahrenheit 451.

OTHER essential knowledge includes Complete Jewish Bible – especially of the Book of Ecclesiastes, the New Testament and primary texts of all other religious systems.

Getting into the Book

RIGHT BEFORE WE ACTUALLY CRACK IT OPEN

There ARE TWO Tasks to complete when you are finished reading the book.

FIRST, consider the FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS. You will pick one after we finish reading Section 1.These are the  FINAL EXAM QUESTIONS

  1. What is the point of Fahrenheit 451?  When we read books, we usually come away from  our reading experience a little richer, having given more thought to a particular aspect of life. What do you think Ray Bradbury intended us to gain from reading his novel? Support your answer with multiple details, direct quotations, from the novel.
  2. What are the main conflicts in the story? Are all the conflicts resolved at the end of the story? Explain how or why not. Support your answer with multiple details, direct quotations, from the novel.
  3. “I’ll get hold of it so it’ll never run off. I’ll hold onto the world tight some day. I’ve got one finger on it now; that’s a beginning.” What does Montag mean? Why does he feel this way? Support your answer with multiple details, direct quotations, from the novel.
  4. The New York Times said, “Frightening in its implications, Mr. Bradbury’s account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating.” What are the “frightening implications”, and what “alarming resemblances” does Montag’s world have to our own?

SECOND, because there is a project due a FEW DAYS AFTER WE FINISH THE BOOK, I offer this culminating task. I hope you can GRASPs it (UbD anyone?). Go to this link to see the details of this PROJECT.

EVERYONE MUST use this article for the Article of the Week when we begin reading Fahrenheit 451: Book Burning.

Getting into the Book – ONCE WE ACTUALLY CRACK IT OPEN

While in class, I suggest the following resources as a way into the topics presented in the book.

Part One: The Hearth and the Salamander:

  1. MIDWAY through this section, you will participate in a discussion on Mr Moshé’s website.
  2. AFTER READING this section, you will participate in a discussion on Mr Moshé’s website.

AT THE END OF Section 1, you will tell me which of the following Final Exam Questions you will prepare. For the Final Exam, you are to write a (1) rough draft answer to the question, and have that rough draft answer ready 3 days after we finish the book. Your answer should deal with the topic of the question as it is treated throughout the book. So, the details you offer in your answer should come from throughout the book. This will be a well-written essay FULL of details from the text. It will have an Introduction, Body and Conclusion.

You will bring your DRAFT (Grade 1) to class and Peer/Edit Workshop it (Grade 2),  and then Final Draft it (Grade 3). Once again? There are 3 parts to the FINAL EXAM grade. Here they are.

  1. Rough Drafted ESSAY (including Introduction, Body, & Conclusion) of Final Exam Answer.
  2. PROOF of Peer/Editing for each of the 6+1 TRAITS: Ideas, Organization, Voice, Word Choice, Conventions, Sentence Fluency, Presentation. Use the rubrics. This underlined text is a link to the rubric. RUBRICS must be turned in with grades marked on them.
  3. FINAL Drafted Essay of Final Exam Answer.
You will tell me which question you will be doing. Be prepared to tell me at the end of Section 1  which question you commit to. Then, between now and when we finish the book, focus all of your work on answering the 1 (ONE) question. Pick one now, and with your group members, through your discussions, work on building the best possible answer to the question you pick. DELIBERATELY bring questions to the group that will help you with your Final Exam Question. Make sure you speak to your parents about which question you are working on. Get their input. They live life to it’s fullest. They are sure to have opinions on the topic.
Go ahead, PICK 1 FINAL EXAM QUESTION
  1. What is the point of Fahrenheit 451?  When we read books, we usually come away from  our reading experience a little richer, having given more thought to a particular aspect of life. What do you think Ray Bradbury intended us to gain from reading his novel? Support your answer with multiple details, direct quotations, from the novel.
  2. What are the main conflicts in the story? Are all the conflicts resolved at the end of the story? Explain the conflicts that DO get worked out. AND Explain the conflicts that DO NOT get worked out. Support your conclusions with multiple details, direct quotations, from the novel.
  3. Read the following quotation from the book, “I’ll get hold of it so it’ll never run off. I’ll hold onto the world tight some day. I’ve got one finger on it now; that’s a beginning.” What does Montag mean by this? Why does he feel this way? Support your answer with multiple details, direct quotations, from throughout the novel.
  4. Read the following book review excerpt from the New York Times, “Frightening in its implications, Mr. Bradbury’s account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating.” What are the “frightening implications”, and what “alarming resemblances” does Montag’s world have to our own? Why is any of it “fascinating?

Part Two: The Sieve and the Sand

AFTER READING THE BOOK, go to this link to participate in a discussion: http://moshej.edublogs.org/2014/01/13/fahrenheit-451-discussion-3/ .

Other resources available are below:

  • Here is a full text online version of the book – Fahrenheit 451. Most formatting (such as text breaks, etc.) is not present.
  • Here is an early guide to Fahrenheit 451  and brief biography of Mr. Bradbury written by I don’t know who to be honest. Google can be a pain that way.
  • Fahrenheit 451 Quotations & Allusions PDF. Simply indispensable. This is what it’s all about.
  • Fahrenheit 451 Puzzle Pack –  A Pack of ideas for you to use while you work with the novel. You can get  ideas for vocabulary artifacts here.
  • Fahrenheit 451 Activity Pack -Another pack of ideas for you to use while you work with the novel.  Pre-reading activities on theme and fiction plot structure. During reading tasks will have you working on setting, characterization, imagery, irony, theme This culminates with a critical reading assignment.
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