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Ray Bradbury$
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David Seed

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038945

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038945.001.0001

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Fahrenheit 451 in Contexts

Fahrenheit 451 in Contexts

(p.83) Chapter 3 Fahrenheit 451 in Contexts
Ray Bradbury

David Seed

University of Illinois Press

This chapter analyzes Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and its dystopian contexts. The novel widely is recognized as a classic among postwar American dystopias. It belongs in that body of science fiction published just after the Second World War, which gradually took over the function of social criticism previously performed by realist fiction. The novel shares an overall pattern common to two of the most famous dystopias of the period: Frederik Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth's The Space Merchants and Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano (1952). All three novels focus on a protagonist working within an organization with which he becomes increasingly dissatisfied. Under the impact of a catalytic character or event, these dissatisfactions gradually come to a head and result in final separation from that organization.

Keywords:   Fahrenheit 451, dystopian context, postwar American dystopias, Ray Bradbury, science fiction authors, social criticism, Frederik Pohl, Cyril Kornbluth, The Space Merchants, Kurt Vonnegut

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