Before I begin, I would like to start off with a small introduction. My name is Daphne, and I am sixteen years old. I am currently enrolled in high school as an eleventh grader.
So to start it off, I have always loved children. I've known since I was about ten years old that I discovered that I wanted work with youth. Of course, at the time I didn't know how I was going to go about doing so until about three years ago.
I wanted to become an english teacher.
I've always loved reading books. I loved all the stories, the characters, the themes, and everything behind it. Literature was a mystery to me. The story was always there in plain text, but every reader knows that behind the words, there lies more! I enjoyed finding the big words and look them up in the dictionary, and later use it in my own every day vocabulary.
English. Literature. It fascinates me.
For the past three years, I've been doing everything I can to get closer to that dream... But when I had been put into an eleventh grade college preparatory class, my views had changed. This teacher wasn't like the rest. All of us students had found that we didn't know everything we were supposed to know! Our past teachers didn't teach the material to us! And so he shoved it in our heads all at once. All in one semester.
Suddenly, I couldn't understand. I had been put into a whirlwind of so many new types of subjects and it was hard for me to take it in all at once. It discouraged me. I knew I couldn't do it and I didn't want to be like my past teachers. I didn't want to be responsible for my kids not knowing what they should. And... If I didn't know it, how could I teach it?
So I gave up on my dream. I thought I wasn't cut out for the job.
And then, just about two months ago, we were assigned a mid term paper. Each student was to pick a different book out of a list and write an analysis, a biography, a critique, and to have a fully loaded power point presentation. I didn't know anything of Ray Bradbury before I picked up his book Fahrenheit 451, but I can tell you now that I do not regret it!
After reading the book, I've come to realize that we do live in such a world where books are almost forbidden. Not by the law, but by the youth! We purposely look away! In my eyes, Millie and her friends, the whole society, it all reminds me of my peers! The teenagers! All they want to do is watch TV or any activity related. And the sad part of it is that those teenagers look down upon the other teenagers who would rather sit down on a Friday night and read a book. Just the same as Millie and her three friends looked down upon Montag that night he read to them, or the firemen upon any of those whose books they burn.
I'm really at a loss for words now... But I know that I don't want to live like that. People are reading less and less by the year. Teachers are teaching less by the year. How will we turn out if this is the way it is now? And if I give up, I am just contributing to this downfall. I know for a fact that I want to enlighten people. I will show my future students that reading is worth it. It can be fun and at all the same time a beneficial experience. I'm going to do it!
I promise, Mr. Bradbury, if you ever come to read what I've written here, that I will have my students read this book. Even though it is not part of our district curriculum, I will make it part of my own curriculum along side the requirements already there. They will read your book, Mr. Bradbury, and I know it's going to affect them. I've already recommended it to my brother, and he seems to be stuck to it. So I know all this text must've been such a mess, but I just want to say thank you. I lost my direction for a couple months, and just reading your book showed me the way again.
Thank you will all my heart!
Daphne, welcome to the wonderful world of Mr. Bradbury's books. I hope you don't stop at FAHRENHEIT 451, since he has written so many other superb books. I would recommend SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES, THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, and the first book of his I ever read, his short story collection THE GOLDEN APPLES OF THE SUN.
Welcome, indeed, Daphne! You give me hope for the future of our youth!
Nard or Doug, would you get her wonderful letter to Mr. B, please?
Loved your note. In 9th grade, I read F451 at the urging of a friend and it changed my life. Like you I see so many who cut themselves off from literature, philosophy, and all other kinds of thought--the very thoughts that give life texture, meaning, and truth.
Best of luck. Again, I loved your post!!!
Way to go Daphne! You are like one of the enlightened people in Ray's book who escaped the city!
A lot of us here are a lot older than you but I think most of us were drawn to Ray's writing when we were your age. THE PEDESTRIAN was the story that introduced me to Mr. Bradbury. My favorite now is SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES...also FROM THE DUST RETURNED. I am about to read THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES for the first time- a friend gave me a beautiful big hardback of it.
Who knows Daphne, you may be the one who leads thousands of students to the wonderful world we're talking about!
Wow - you're in for a treat! And I confess the sin of envy.
It's my favourite novel of all time.
Good, very good.
I spoke to a gentleman this morning who has taught for nearly forty years at the university in our community. He commented on the thousands of students he "hoped" he had influenced during this tenure. I could tell from our conversation his classic background in literature, philosophy and government has been at the forefront of his approach to teaching.
He took heart in the communications regularly received from former students and colleagues who have remained more concerned with making a difference than with making themselves wealthier than their neighbors.
Yet, he also remarked that in more recent semesters, the primary motivation for the students' studies, as posed by young people and parents during interviews or campus visits, has been the assurance immediate financial rewards await - in plentiful proportions. (At 45K/yr., I can understand how that becomes the priority.)
However, if there is no passion in what one does with one's life, all the "golden touches" will hold no pleasure. So, I too still take heart when young people get excited by reading great literature, a la Daphne!
Teaching the works of Ray Bradbury's has been my pleasure for many years (...F451, Ill. Man, SWTWC, DW, GAofS, WICS, and even discussion of his screen play of Moby Dick). The responses he has graciously shared with us have been "joys added to the pleasure." That is to be twice blessed. My students are experiencing magnificent literature and, from time to time, receive a few kind words sent to them from the author himself.
Daphne, "Read On!" Your words ring true and are filled with an enthusiasm for Mr. Bradbury's art we all here share.
F451 hits like a ton of bricks, just as revelation and epiphany tend to do.
I was so struck by your posting that I asked someone to ensure that it will be read by Mr Bradbury. So, with a little luck, you should have brightened the eyes of the Man himself with your words.
The trouble with Fahrenheit 451 is that it is now the Manual of the current age. We have become what Mr. Bradbury envisioned in 1953: We sit around and await the next Big Thing on the TV, which is now a wall of the house, (soon to become more than just one?); And the violence that we are bombarded with on a daily basis is numbing us to sleep to the fact that it is wrong to glorify violence for its own sake; We have lost the need to reward excellence and continue to trivialize things to the point that our children know the latest Rap group, but not the history of our country; They cannot identify the most important people in our society, unless they are on a TV show or are an entertainer.
For someone who came from the 50's when Ray wrote his prophetic book, I am saddened that it has actually come true. I think the lessen of the book is that we must remain in conrol of our lives and be descriminating about what we celebrate as excellence and never let the powers that run the puppet show behind the screen get the best of us. Maybe the ultimate act of defiance would be to turn off the TV and let our minds be free of the incessant bombardment and then learn to live as our elders did, one day at a time with wonderment and love for all around us.
Patrask did indeed email me to ask If could pass your posting along to Mr. Bradbury. I did so this morning. He called me and dictated the following words for you. The words are from Ray Bradbury to you.
If you ask me what to do to help young people with the future, there is only one answer in life, do what you love and love what you do. Money is not what should be your controlling interest in life, love is.
Live in a library, if that is what you want, let the books teach you, surround you with their love. Then you will be prepared to teach the children of the future.
Love is the answer to everything. There is nothing wrong with today as long as you ignore all the outside distractions and do what you love. There is too much junk around us, ignore them.
When you go to bed tonight, look-up and when you see yourself on the ceiling think about what you want. In the morning, get up and do what you want. If you can teach them, the children, that you will become a great teacher.”
12:50 pm. Pacific Standard Time
John King Tarpinian
You know what you are, Mr. Bradbury? ... You are a poet! -- Aldous Huxley
Very Nice, JKT and Patrask! Words taken to heart and lived. Last two days with a group of less than motivated hs readers, I have presented "The Lake" and "All Summer in a Day." Enthralled and wide-eyed they were!
(Now, 20 more RB carefully considered and selected s.s. over the next quarter. Keep them reading...something special may happen when least expected.)
Hey, Mr. Darabont! How hot have the fires gotten!?
Another case of "Hurry up and wait!"
Nard, Doug, or jkt, anything on the horizon from conversations with Mr. B? Maybe we should just produce our own "must include" list and forward to FD.
Hey... I remember watching the movie version of F451! I know I'm going to actually get around to reading it once i reading Pendragon, The Host, Breaking Dawn, and rereading some of Brain Jaques's books. ... and I know there were some more books I wanted to read... but I can't remember what. Maybe I'll get to reading Peeps again, for, like, the 10th time. yeah, its that good. it keeps my attn span, that's an unbelieveable accomplishment right there. I have the attn span of a five-year-old.
Daphne, I totally hear you. NO ONE wants to read anymore! and its such a shame, since look at what everyone is missing out of! I'm sorry that I don't read as much as I used to, but school gets in the way of life, and this magical thing called, "free time" doesn't exist anymore. which is horribly depressing, since I feel like I want to reread some stuff. I feel like I might actually understand some stuff more, not that I realize there is more than just the story and the words. "layers of literature", as my english teacher says.
I also think its cool that you want to be a teacher. I think I might want to do that, but it would be teaching math or science. I'll horrible with words, but an absolute beast with numbers and concepts. I guess its just being part of "the bubble generation", or something like that. Its wonderful that you care. I feel like not that many people are enthusiastic about school. -_-' and its kinda necesary to be there...
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