Friday, June 8, 2012

Ray Bradbury: a fire in the belly

I have read a few of Ray Bradbury's books.  They offer more than enjoyment and an easy way to pass the time.  He had such a way with metaphor (was it a real snake or a stomach pump tube, a jet overhead or a scream?) and was one of the most literary of the major science fiction writers.  I have read Fahrenheit 451 numerous times, as well as The October Country, Something Wicked This Way Comes and The Martian Chronicles.  He was a writer that made the reader think, and think deep.  I was not so much captured by his characters as by his ideas.  I have taught, like many English teachers, Fahrenheit 451.  It has always made my students look at their education in a new way, a privilege they don't ever want to lose.  For that alone I could thank him profusely.  But he has also taught them tolerance, the beauty of a well-turned phrase and how people can be manipulated into not trusting what they know.  Most importantly, he showed that the human being must question, must seek greater understanding and failing that will surrender to madness.

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