Today’s Technology and Fahrenheit 451: No More Books?


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In Fahrenheit 451, technology replaces books. Image by Joe Pernaciaro and Joseph Mugnaini

Technology was not the main focus of Fahrenheit 451, but it did create a world where books were banned. When the novel was first published in 1953, technology was nowhere near as advanced as it is today. TVs were in black and white and not in all households, though most had some type of radio. With technology advancing, how much of the world of Fahrenheit 451 could become a reality?

Television Screens Offer All Information

The people in Fahrenheit 451 only gained their information from television screens and radios, as the oppressive government had banned books so that people would only know what they were told. This vision of the future was similar to George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty Four, written just four years earlier, envisioning a world where the government controlled everything.

In the book, TVs are present in every home, and people are simply used to them. That environment may have seemed extreme at the time, but it is not that much different from the world today. The vast majority of homes have at least one television screen in full color, many of which have the capability to hang on the wall; although sports and reality TV shows are popular, there are many documentaries about nature, animals and history that help educate people. For some, video has become a preferred way to learn, and video resources are available for many over the Internet.

A Move Away from Books to Technology

Though books are still available in today’s world, many people now opt for eBooks. eReaders, like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, offer users the ability to place multiple books on one device to read whenever they want. The books often cost less than traditional print books and there are no shipping fees. Other mobile technology, such as tablet computers and smartphones, also offer the ability to store multiple books and read easier on the go.

Ebooks and readers have been a benefit to consumers, but this technology has resulted in decreasing sales of traditional print books. Nielsen BookScan reported a 22% decline in the purchase of printed books over the last 5 years. Many bookstores have closed because of this – Barnes & Noble is one of the most recent, with 20 stores to close over the next 10 years.

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