Sunday, December 12, 2010

Classic social studies literature: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451
Originally uploaded by marcos argola
Social Studies Book Experience / in-class set of novels

Ray Bradbury's classic sci-fi novel, Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns).

It is a cinematic story written in 1950 about life in the Twenty-fourth century.

Mission - students will demonstrate knowledge of
- The art of writing a review of a social studies book.
- Governmental studies - totalitarianism, dictatorships and freedom of thought.
- How literature deepens and amplifies knowledge in the social studies.

1. Explain why Bradbury's opening is not boring. - active verbs
2. Themes - one theme is "change."
3. Trudeau's writing guidelines - active verbs. Quote 3 verbs in the opening pages that describe action. Leaping. Burning.
4. Finding definitions through context: "stolid." "solid"
5. Colors presented: yellow, orange, red, black.

6. Use of irony: quote a brief image that is ironic, inasmuch as the protagonist is burning books. Firemen burn books and houses.
7.Metaphor for books: "pigeons landing with open wings." .
8. "Singed." Explain. Edges have been burned.
9. What does a "Minstrel man" ordinarily do? Dance, sing, entertain. Often with a "black face" via makeup.
10. Why is the helmet described as more than "black"? Beetle-like. To emphasize the mystery and sense of evil.

11. Briefly describe the protagonist's acrobatic trick. Sliding down fire house pole by falling; catches himself at the last moment.
12. What device was described as having a "lubricated flue," "puff of warm air" and "Cream-tiled escalator." The fire house.
13. Keep a list of items that will fit the category of Modern Technology. Ex: wall-size TV's; Sea shells, or bluetooth ear buds, robot dog.
14. "air charged with a special calm: " Literal foreshadowing - of what sort of person? positive, good person.
15. Salamander: a fire-proof reptile in mythology. Explain the Phoenix. Reborn after being destroyed by fire.

16. Without moving, what does Clarisse do in regards Montag? Disturbs his thoughts and touches his heart.
17. Sensual writing: describe 2 smells. "kerosene is perfume to me." "fresh apricots and strawberries in the air"
18. What's ironic about the fireman's slogan? They burn and destroy rather than save.
19. "White blurs are houses." The speaker? Clarisse
20. "You think too many things." Speaker? Montag

21. "Two hundred-foot-long __s." billboards - so people can see them as they drive by at high speeds.
22. McClellans have been arrested twice. Why? For driving too slowly. For being a pedestrian. For oddness.
23. "But what do you Talk about?" Montag
24. "Sleep lozenge." Explain. Use of sleeping pills is common.
25. "Expert at lip reading." Are you pretty good at it? Mildred. Because she's often listening to music and seeing someone talk to her simultaneously.

26. "Do you agree to that, Helen?" "I sure do." Explain. The soap opera script draws Mildrd into the plot and action.
27. "Fourth wall-TV." Surround screens.
28. "You're not like the others." Clarisse to Montag.
29. "The dead beast, the living beast." The Mechanical Hound.
30. olfactory: sense of smell. proboscis: nose or snout. ballistics: science of projectile travel. trajectory: course of a speeding projectile.

31. "It doesn't like or dislike." Capt Beatty about the hound.
32. "Chemical balances and percentages are recorded in the master file." The hound.
33. "I'm anti-soical, they say." Clarisse, who likes a slower pace.
34. "We never ask questions, or at least, most don't." Sound familiar? Current day society.
35. "They name a lot of cars or clothes . . ." Superficial social talk.

36. Art as seen in museums has changed. How so? It is entirely abstract.
37. Vocab: proclivities: things you like to do.
38. "Once upon a time; what kind of talk is that?" The past seemed threatening in this new society.
39. "First fireman: Benjamin Franklin." Big lie.
40. "None of those books agree with each other." People are afraid of discussion, controversy and the work needed to make a compromise.

41. English heretic, 1555: "We shall light a candle as shall never be put out." Knowledge and truth are indelible.
42. Burnt by chemicals to a brittle straw." Like some people's hair today.
43. Dante, Swift, Marcus Aurelius. Classic writers.
44. "Photography. Then motion pictures." The banning of upsetting media took this path.
45. "Quadruple population." Over-population is a key to understanding this distorted world.

46. "Books cut shorter. Condensations." People had shortened attention spans. That is porbably true today.
47. "School shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped." To some degree, those are changes we've experienced in recent decades.
48. "Spelling gradually neglected; finally, ignored." The "slippery slope" toward a careless society.
49. "Empty the theaters save for clowns." Theaters no longer presented tragedies and documentaries.
50. "More sports for everyone, group spirit, fun and you don't have to think, eh?" Sports engage people so that they can avoid thinking about morals and mortality.

51. Who are the 'relatives' ('aunts,' 'uncles') who can be heard chatting in the Montag household? They are fictional performers. They are the soap opera characters who seem to be family to their listeners.
52. "Why learn anything save pressing buttons?" (Beatty) Does the advent of the computer and advanced software take us in this direction?
Kind of like today: why memorize facts if you Google them at any time? There is, of course, still value in knowledge committed to memory.
53. "Don't step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers." (Beatty)
Each special interest group is sensitive. Should each have their way when it comes to making their point of view into public policy?
54. "The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy." (Beatty)
Controversy: must we always minimize it? Is a certain amount of controversy the mark of the society which can sustain a healthy dialogue?
55. "Magazines became a nice blend of tapioca." (Beatty)
Nothing but niceness and sweetness in magazines. Tapioca is a bland, vanilla pudding.
56. "But the public, knowing what it wanted, let the ___ books survive. And the three-dimensional __ magazines, of course." (Beatty)
Are these the bottom line publications of a modern society?
57. "It didn't come from the __ down. There was no (government) censorship to start with." (Beatty)
Social tensions created a climate in which book banning was seen as a a good idea. The government flowed suit, moving to enforce the idea.
58. "Technology, __ __ and minority __ carried the trick." (Beatty)
How we were able to function as a society yet ban most books.
59. "You are allowed to read __, the good old ____ or ___ journals." (Beatty)
These books do not stimulate people to think deeply.
60. "With _____ graduating more runners, racers, tinkerers, instead of examiners, imaginative creators. . . " (Beatty's analysis)
Schools have decided to help society remain peaceful and content by focusing on sports and mechanical activities. Sports began to be more highly valued than ideas and inventions.

61. "Not everyone born free and equal . . . but everyone Made equal. Then all are happy." (Beatty)
A way to attain a peaceful society.
62. "A book is a loaded gun . . . who knows who might be the target of the well-read man?" (Beatty)
Well-read men, it is assumed, might make the less well-read feel uncomfortable by comparison.
63. "Custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our dread of being inferior." (Beatty)
Not letting anyone feel inferior becomes an obsession in this society. The book-burning 'firemen' keep everyone equal in their educational background.
64. "You must understand that our society is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred."
(Beatty) Is it too much trouble for a nation to mediate between the various minority points of view?
65. Terminology in social studies: "A slippery slope argument states that a relatively small first step inevitably leads to a chain of related events culminating in some significant impact, much like an object given a small push over the edge of a slope sliding all the way to the bottom." Beatty's argument is based on the slippery slope concept. T / F
Yes. Beatty says that once we banned certain kinds of literature, we could not stop banning materials.
66. When a segment of society is upset by a book, the answer to the conflict is to __ __ . (Beatty)
There are many more answers to the problem of working through a controversy.
67. The Big Flue is symbolic of the excision of the ritual of the ____ .
Death is scary and even embarrassing. Therefore it is almost entirely hidden.
68. "She didn't want to know How a thing was done, but Why. That can be embarrassing. You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up very unhappy, indeed." (Beatty)
The 'why' of doing things has to do with examine your philosophy. That is a higher level of thinking and leads to a difference of opinion.
69. How does a totalitarian government control thoughts that may lead to unrest and protest? Give the population __ information. (Again, Beatty)
Keep the populace busy with "bread and circuses." That was part of the system of control developed during the Roman Empire.
70. "Police alert. Wanted: fugitive in the city. Has committed murder and crimes against the state." Media statement in regards finding Montag.
This is similar to today's scene, in which a fugitive in a car might be seen by people watching TV cameras follow the wanted person online.