The Unexpected Traditionality of Ray Bradbury
Ray Bradbury is known for changing the way people viewed American literature and social issues with the way he wrote about the future, leaving readers with apprehension, yet he is scared of technology himself; he often questions the identity of his characters with the way they desire to change the past, which is why many consider him an celebrated author. Bradbury struggled through poverty and still, he climbed his way up of becoming a published writer. Many of his books are set in completely different periods where all technology becomes advanced. The future and the possibilities fascinated him, yet he made it his duty to prevent the computer age from happening. Bradbury often talked about how the next generation scared him; for instance, he absolutely loathe computers. This is ironic, especially because his most celebrated book is in a digitalized society where books are illegal. Bradbury believed that by writing the horrors of what can happen with a technology reliant community, he can prevent it from happening. This is seen much in his novel, Fahrenheit 451, the main protagonist becomes conscious of the terrors in the society he lives in. His disconnection from the world showed how his society lacked compassion and the ability to be self-aware. Bradbury has a way of characterizing his characters that let the readers empathize with them. Many people would say that he was ahead of his time, especially with his fascination on how the world works. He often meditated on mortality and death which may explain the actions of many of his characters. ‘I’ve tried not to predict, but to protect and to prevent,’ His hatred for the internet was clear in many of his books. They surrounded a core idea of future and how evil it can become. His wish to prevent isn’t ideal because technology will only continue to advance and nothing can change that.
His journey began at only age twelve, Bradbury already had a passion for writing. At a young age, he believed that by writing about his fictional heroes, they’ll live on forever. His family moved around a lot during his childhood but the good that came out of this was the ability to find new literature. Bradbury’s fascination with the future and space may stem from the many movies he watched. He talked about the possibilities of the world often, perhaps his favorite subject, describing how it both attracted and repelled him, leaving him filled with apprehension and hope. (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team). He makes references to his hatred of technology, even with many of his books being based around the concept of an advanced community. The idea of the future repelling him might be because he refuses to follow the footsteps of advancement. He is holding onto the past even though there is nothing more it could offer; perhaps he is alright with that. In an interview, Bradbury once stated that he absolutely loathed computers, not believing that he needed anything more advanced than a typewriter. In Fahrenheit 451, he accidently predicted the future of earbuds. “And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound of music and talk and music and talk coming in, coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind.” (Bradbury 10). At the time he wrote this book, headphones were large and bulky but Bradbury imagined them as ”little seashells” in his writing, which is what most modern earbuds now look like. Not only earbuds, he also predicted ATM machines, flat screen televisions, and digital text. He mentioned it wasn’t his intention to predict anything; in truth, he believed if he wrote about the horrors of technology, he can prevent the world from making his ideas into a reality. Unfortunately, technology will only continue to progress and society will continue to push forward. For years, Bradbury refused to let Fahrenheit 451 to be published as an ebook. It went against everything he believed in; “To hell with you and to hell with the internet. It’s distracting. It’s meaningless; it’s not real. It’s in the air somewhere.’ (Puchko). His hatred for the internet was clear in many of his books; they surrounded a main core idea of an evil future society, but it’s also ironic because Fahrenheit 451 is all about censorship and the burning of book. People may call him old school, but many publishers forced him to offer overpriced ebooks. The reason why his most popular book is named Fahrenheit 451 is because it’s at the temperature at which paper would auto-ignite. It is meant to represent how certain views or opinions should be extinguished. He had another interview where all he talked about was how the internet was a big scam perpetrated by the computer companies; this can very much be true.
Many critical reviews have stated that his traditional attitude and style is what makes his writing so vivid. Critics can all agree that Ray Bradbury has contributed greatly and opened many doors for the sci-fi genre. He leaves the readers with many questions by using bold wording. “And there is a charmingly quaint and fanciful quality running through most of what he writes. But focusing on that threatens to undercut the hard edge to some of his characterizations and the tragic twists some of his plots take.” (Ray Bradbury). Some of the themes are definitely not subtle, such as planned murder and knowledge over ignorance. If anyone questions what the government is doing, they need to be taken out. Characters who are too curious, too innocent, won’t last a single second in Bradbury’s books. Readers need to be able to understand the purpose of Bradbury’s writing; he wants to educate. “Something about his deft touch with characters lets us empathize with them without presuming to entirely understand them.” (Ray Bradbury). His audience is mainly the younger generation but many of his characters go through deeper issues that may allow only the older readers to empathize with.
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