destruction for the sake of creation

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03 September 2004, 12:51 AM
destruction for the sake of creation
Ray Bradbury's F451 is best known for it's ideas concerning censorship, technology, and society�s role in the individual, but the novel also strikes an interesting point in man�s final destiny. This point is often overlooked, because unlike it�s counterparts, which are discussed rather openly in the characters converse, man�s destiny is somewhat hidden between the metaphors and allusions.
First consider the seemingly arbitrary anecdote of the sieve and the sand, the filling of a funnel just so it could empty, just it could be refilled. This could first relate solely to Montag�s development, his calm, unmoving world suddenly disrupted by a leak, Clarisse asking him if he�s happy, then moving, his old thoughts emptying as he confronts vapid women, a misguided Beatty and near the end, all of the empty society he�s come to rebel from. Finally Montag comes to his anticlimactic climax, a river escape that washes his sins, his sieve finally empty from all it�s former contents, and ready to be refilled, if only to start again.
This subject was discussed in my English class, so will be a review for some on this board, but don�t worry, this is just background, I�m not rehashing tired notions, simply stringing them along to get to this next point.

The novel doesn�t end with the cleansing river, even though Montag�s story is technically over, the novel continues, and a city is destroyed. Bradbury hints that Montag and the last scholars will go back and re-teach the survivors, starting over from scratch and working back up. This presents the same message of rebirth, that mankind is both destined and doomed to build a society from beginning, expanding until our 21st century towers of Babel fall from within, collapsing into dusk, loosing some of the knowledge of our forefathers, but regaining most, and finally rebuilding from our own rubble restarting at the beginning all over again.
This notion of a rebirth destiny make more sense if consider nature patterns. Everything is cyclical, the sun sets only to rise again, in fall the leaves die and rot to fertilize the ground so new ones can grow in the spring, stars explode in supernovas and are reborn as dwarves, and history always repeats itself. Why shouldn�t humans follow the same pattern? Perhaps we are in the Autumn of our species, the slow decline as the sand escaping the sieve. It�s beautiful in the sense that destruction is really just art, that leaves turn California yellow and crimson red before they die, that books burn in golden flames, and cities never whisper, but rather scream into the night, proclaiming their annihilation. Consider the Phoenix, the emblem for the firemen, the phoenix that dies in flames, so it be reborn from it�s own ashes. Just as good cannot be without evil, creation cannot occur without destruction.
Didn�t seem odd that the beginning of such an amazing book could be so dull, so wordy? Bradbury utilizes not only words, but also form, creating a story that starts slow, just as the mankind�s beginnings, and then picks up, moving faster and faster until in the very end the elaborate prose have declined, leaving only the let down, the ending that�s hopeful, but ultimately as fatalistic and doomed as our own society�s endeavors.

So, my own bittersweet conclusion, destruction provokes creations, declines to destruction, over and over again until everyone intelligent enough to recognize a pattern is long since dead and forgotten. It�s nihilistic, but still hopeful, if only for that one in a million chance that someone will someday have a great enough intellect to change the pattern. The good news is, we have until infinity.
03 September 2004, 01:06 AM
The book did not begin on a dull note. Otherwise, the post is ok for the most part.
Cheers, Translator

Lem Reader
03 September 2004, 01:16 AM
You're right, dull was the not quite the right word, I was simply suggesting that the begining was considerably more structured compared to the end. Montag descrbes the atmosphere instead of his inward emotions, but near the end begins to describe his world more vividly, as if becoming more human. On a personal note, I loved the begining as the end as the middle, several others with whom I spoke suggested a poor begining and ending and I disagreed, it appears as though their thoughts have somehow made way into my own writing. How peculiar.
09 September 2004, 07:32 PM
Finally, someone who actually has content in their posts. Thanks, Ronaldreed. Keep it up.
(if you're a student like the other kids around here, you should get top marks for your assignement. But if you're a student and you write and think the same way you did here, then you're perfectly aware of the fact that you're far ahead of the majority of your peers, and hence you don't care whether you're praised or not, for you know your own worth. Anyway, if you want some great book titles, let me know).

Cheers, Translator

Lem Reader
10 September 2004, 12:11 PM
beginings have to start slow. Ask any author, you need to build a world before you can explore a plot.
13 September 2004, 07:26 PM
Thank you for the compliment Translator. I am in fact a student, and though the assignment is over, I plan to continue posting.

I would be honored if you would give me the titles of great books of F451's caliber, as I plan to pursue a career in literature. At present my favorite authors include Ray Bradbury, Edward Gorey, and Chuck Palahniuk, but I�ve been searching for others of similar philosophical importance. Your recommendations would be highly appreciated, and promptly put to use.

Thank you again,
14 September 2004, 12:15 AM
Hello Ronaldreed,
try the following: (these are by no means sci-fi/fantasy books - they are simply some of the best books i've come up with to date)

The Outsider by Albert Camus
Point Counterpoint by Aldous Huxley
Nana by Emile Zola
Of Mice and Men by Steinbeck
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift
A picture of the Artists as a Young Man by James Joyce

This is a very short list - I guarantee you, though, that each of these books shook the world when it came out. They are all intensely readable. If and when you get through the above lot, you will not need anyone's help in finding more book titles - the titles will come to you. I wish you all the best of luck studying lit. It is one of the very few things worth studying.

Cheers, Translator

Ps - if ever you wish to have a discussion about a novel or book you've read, please feel free to flag me down. Also, if you want more detailed book lists, or booklists that have a particular bend, don't hesitate to let me know. I can vouch for anything I recommend with my very life.

Lem Reader
14 September 2004, 12:26 AM
ronaldreed. Talk about shaking up the world!?! Christ, a central figure in scripture, was so important, that the calendar stopped dead! And it re-started at year '1' all over again because of him. Anybody in any of those books Translator mentioned ever manage to do something like that ? Give the Bible a read when you can!

By the way, what in the world would ever cause civilization at that time to restart the calendar? Hmm?

14 September 2004, 02:10 AM
Mr. Dark
I loved Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist a Young Man". It really touched me as I was in a place in my life where I was trying to define a religious sentiment. His tying the romantic awakening with a personal re-birth still has power with me.

I would also recommend Herman Hesse. While he is not as "in vogue" as he once was, several of his books are very powerful: "Steppenwolf", "Narcisissu and Goldman", "Beneath the Wheel", and "Siddhartha" among them.

I would not bypass Hemingway, either: "In Our Time", "For Whom The Bell Tolls", "Islands in the Stream" and many of his stories are very thought provoking and powerful.

Don't miss Dostoevsky, either. If you want to think, he will keep you busy for a long, long time.

I love many of Nathaniel Hawthorne's short stories, and still think Poe warrants careful reading.

I'm still as in love with Thoreau and Emerson as I ever was.

[This message has been edited by Mr. Dark (edited 09-14-2004).]
15 September 2004, 05:04 PM
Boris Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago" is still a powerful novel to me and the subsequent film (with Rod Stieger who later starred in "The Illustrated Man") was a cinematographic wonder. I remember the novel being rather lengthy, but engaging.
15 September 2004, 06:20 PM
Some of us haven't restarted the calendar. Happy New Year.
Cheers, Translator

Lem Reader
30 September 2004, 05:54 AM
Speaking of calendars, how about building a calendar from a deck of cards? (As in "The Solitaire Mystery" by Jostein Gaarder, who also wrote "Sophie's World")
You know, there are 4 colours in a card game (clubs, spades, hearts, diamonds) - and a year is divided into 4 seasons. Then, a regular deck of cards contains 52 cards - matching the number of weeks in one year! That makes one specific card for one week: 7*52=364 days - one day missing, but then, in every card game there's a joker (sometimes even 2 - but there are leap years): The missing day is "the day of the joker"...
Coincidences??? :-D
30 September 2004, 10:32 AM
Novel thought on the deck of cards and a calendar.

But my question is why did the Americans take the "u" out of colour and other words?

Any answer(s) on that one?
30 September 2004, 10:32 AM
I can't believe that I flinched three times and as a result had THREE posts. What a dork! But perhaps I can blame it on the computer or perhaps my shaky hand. So, rather than look like a total idiot I am recomposing the additional posts as though they are incidental thoughts. One more to go.

[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 09-30-2004).]

[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 09-30-2004).]
30 September 2004, 10:34 AM
As I was posting the last throught I realized what I had done wrong. Whether it is the Board or my computer I am not sure, but when I clicked on submit, it didn't seem like anything was happening, so I clicked again. Well, it apparently needs only one click to do the job.

So perhaps this is the answer to all of the other double posts, whereas people think nothing is happening and click to make sure it is and, as a result, double and triple posts.

But do answer, please, what happened to the "u"?

[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 09-30-2004).]

[This message has been edited by biplane1 (edited 09-30-2004).]