Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 continues to be both celebrated and controversial for its critique of Western civilization. For many, it stands as a warning against the surrender of personal liberty and critical thought. Its fans believe that elements of the narrative can already be found in many layers of our culture. For others, the novel is an unwarranted dark and pessimistic forecast. Its detractors dismiss the book as mere science fiction entertainment that has no bearing on reality.
Prompt: Write a 5-6 page research analysis essay that examines the themes/motifs and/or symbolism found in Fahrenheit 451 and take a stand on whether these themes and/or symbols are relevant (or not) in twenty-first-century society. Remember, THEME is the central or underlying meaning of a literary work, and SYMBOL is any object, image, character, or action that suggests meaning beyond the everyday literal level.
Your essay should be balanced between information identifying themes and/or symbols in the novel and information proving the relevance or irrelevance of those themes and/or symbols in the twenty-first century and it must begin with an introduction that introduces the subject, a theme (or themes) of the novel, and the novel’s current relevance.
It should identify the symbols and/or themes in the story and discuss how they support and establish the central or underlying meaning of the novel.
It should work to explain how the symbols help to communicate the story’s deeper meaning by citing specific moments in the text in which the relationship between theme(s) and symbol(s) in fiction are made clear.
It must begin with an introduction that introduces the relationship between themes and/or symbols in the novel and to the central or underlying (main point) of the novel.
The last sentence or last two sentences of the introduction must be the thesis or claim of the essay, which should clearly state whether Fahrenheit 451 is relevant today or not and it should articulate the central theme(s) of the story.
In addition, you must have supporting body paragraphs that develop your essay. Each body paragraph must begin with a clear topic sentence that specifically states the topic and focus of the paragraph.
A good supporting paragraph must contain seven to thirteen sentences, so you will need to cite evidence from the novel and credible outside sources. Credible outside sources will be found through the RSU Stratton Taylor Library database. Once you introduce a source and provide a quote or paraphrase from said source, you will then need to bring in your commentary regarding the evidence you just cited.
Writing commentary means giving your opinion, interpretation, insight, analysis, explication, evaluation, or reflection about a quote, paraphrase, summary, or concrete detail used in your essay. Commentary should be two to three sentences of your own words regarding the relevance of the evidence to the topic sentence and/or thesis statement.
For your support evidence, you should use recent magazine or newspaper articles or books of non-fiction, such as the essays and articles found in The Norton Reader or on the RSU Library database, as sources to support your claims.
Fahrenheit 451 can serve as ONE of your sources but you must have THREE other sources too. Note: that is a total of FOUR sources. Use the electronic databases at RSU’s Stratton Taylor Library or The Norton Reader for your sources as much as possible.
If you use an internet source, you will need to verify that the source is credible, which means you must email the potential source to me, so I can give you a thumbs up or thumbs down.
You MUST also incorporate specific examples from the novel into your writing to support your claim. Examples, much like quotations and other forms of evidence, should be followed by your commentary.
Guidelines-Attributions and Citations
Provide clear attributions and complete and accurate citations for all outside sources (including the novel) used in your essay. The majority of the sources you use should be incorporated into your writing in the form of summary and paraphrasing. No more than 10 percent of your essay can include quotations.
End your essay with a concluding paragraph that brings the essay to an effective close. The end of an essay should convey a sense of completeness and closure as well as a sense of the lingering possibilities of the topic, its larger meaning, and its implications for our society. Note, that the final paragraph should close the discussion without closing it off.
To close the discussion without closing it off, you might do one or more of the following:
-Conclude with a quotation from or reference to a primary or secondary source, one that amplifies your main point or puts it in a different perspective. A quotation from, say, the novel or poem you’re writing about can add texture and specificity to your discussion; a critic or scholar can help confirm or complicate your final point
-Conclude by setting your discussion into a different, perhaps larger, context. For example, you might reiterate the connection between the world of Fahrenheit 451 and society today.
-Conclude by considering the implications of your argument (or analysis or discussion). What does your argument imply, involve, or suggest about humanity, society, technology, etc.?
Some advice on how not to end an essay:
-Don’t simply summarize your essay. A summary of your argument may be useful, especially if your essay is long–more than ten pages or so. But shorter essays tend not to require a restatement of your main ideas.
-Avoid phrases like “in conclusion,” “to conclude,” “in summary,” and “to sum up.” These phrases can be useful–even welcome–in oral presentations. But readers can see, by the tell-tale compression of the pages, when an essay is about to end. You’ll irritate your audience if you belabor the obvious.
And Finally, a Few Important Notes
This is a formal academic essay so please include the following
-Length: 5-6 (double-spaced) pages, plus a Works Cited page.
-Use at least 3 outside critical sources.
-Note, that the novel should not be counted as an outside critical source, but essays/articles from the Stratton Taylor (RSU) Library Research Databases and The Norton Reader can be counted.
-Because you are using research in this paper, your essay will need to include in-text citations, as well as a properly formatted Works Cited page
-Remember, this page does not count towards your page length).
-Use MLA format; margins, heading, pagination (etc.) should be in MLA format.
This is a formal academic essay so please avoid the following errors
-Contractions (can’t, won’t, shouldn’t, etc.)
-First-person point of view (I, us, we, our, my, etc.)
-Second-person point of view (you, yours, yourself, etc.)