18 March 2013

Leisure to Digest

I'm going to subject my English II classes to Fahrenheit 451 this last nine weeks - I can't wait. My second time through the book was just as thrilling as the first. I found myself writing notes furiously as I didn't want to interrupt the pace of the plot; I almost feared I'd break the spell Bradbury crafted so well.

One of the many deep findings that I'll be emphasizing to my students is the part where Professor Faber is explaining to Montag what their culture really needs - besides books, that is. He says, and I'll paraphrase, we (yes, we) need three things: 1. Quality of information, 2. Leisure to digest it, and 3. Freedom to act on what we gain from the first two. Montag's initial reaction to the need for leisure is that there is plenty of off time, which is true. However, just like our culture, that off time is filled to the brim - and past the brim - with activity. It's not until the last few pages of the book that Montag experiences silence and true space to think. And at first it scares him.

Oh, how I see this filling of space with every spare moment we have because if we have to stop and think for even a minute even 45 seconds we might be alone with our thoughts and we might have a thought or that thought might be that we're alone or that we don't know why we're unhappy with what pop culture says should make us happy like our touch screens and our vast number of online friends that are swayed with the wind of the times...

These are some things we'll discuss:

We're forgetting how to be alone with our thoughts.

We're filling space with steam and smoke.

Being bored is okay.    No, really - it's great.

1 comment:

Charmaine Clancy said...

I'm new to Bradbury, but loving his short stories. This one is on my TBR pile!

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