Тема / Топик по английскому языку:
Fahrenheit 451°

Ray Bradbury’s works belong to science fiction, that is fiction in which scientific discoveries and developments form an element of the plot or the background. Very often works of science fiction are based on future possibilities. In science fiction the impossible is presented as possible. A science fiction writer may carry his characters, and consequently the reader, into remote future, prehistoric past, to unknown worlds or to the sanctuary of human mind.

Themes of Ray Bradbury’s writing are extremely various, they comprise earthly affairs and space travelling. His literary credo is, as he himself puts it, «to make the commonplace miraculous, to make the miraculous commonplace».

He is not so much interested in mechanical contrivances as in man’s psychology and social behaviour in new and unexpected circumstances. His dreams of future are more of warnings of the future. This makes Bradbury turn to satire. In many of his stories and in «Fahrenheit 451°» in particular, he exposes to ridicule many traits of American reality. The novel established Bradbury’s reputation as a first-rank writer, it is an antiutopian novel and a warning. The social background is prompted by the fascist tendencies in the post-war years in the USA, known as the time of witch-hunting and maccartism (named so after the reactionary senator Mac Carthy). It was a period in the history of the USA when progressive organizations and activities were prosecuted and suppressed. The action of the novel takes place in not very remote future, most likely at the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Fahrenheit 451° (about 233° Centigrade) is the burning point of paper. Since at the time described houses are fire-proof, the role of firemen consists in making flames instead of extinguishing them. People are allowed to think or know only what is presented by the supertelevision. Books are forbidden. The ownership of books results in burning volumes and owners alike. The central character of the novel is Guy Montag, an enthusiastic fireman, who meets a girl from a relict family, cherishing old views and traditions. Against his own will and accepted views Montag begins to think.

Topical Vocabulary

- science fiction
научная фантастика
scientific discoveries and developments
научные открытия и достижения
to be based on future possibilities
основываться на будущих возможностях
to carry the reader into remote future, prehistoric past, to unknown worlds or to the sanctuary of the human mind
переносить читателя в отдаленное будущее, доисторическое прошлое, неизведанные миры и в святую святых человеческого сознания
- to comprise earthly affairs and space travelling
охватывать земные дела и космические путешествия
one’s literary credo
литературное кредо
- mechanical contrivances
механические приспособления
man’s psychology
человеческая психология
social behaviour in new and unexpected circumstances
социальное поведение в новых и неизвестных обстоятельствах
a warning of the future
предупреждение на будущее
to expose to ridicule American reality
подвергнуть осмеянию американскую действительность
to establish one’s reputation as a first-rank writer
утвердить репутацию первоклассного писателя
an antiutopian novel
антиутопический роман
the social background
социальный фон
охота на ведьм
to be prosecuted and suppressed
преследоваться и подавляться
- to be fire-proof
быть несгораемым
to extinguish flames
гасить огонь
against accepted views
вопреки установившемуся мнению

Answer the questions:

  1. What literary genre do Ray Bradbury’s works belong to?
  2. What is science fiction?
  3. What themes did Ray Bradbury touch upon in his novels?
  4. What is Bradbury’s literary credo?
  5. What is the writer interested in?
  6. What was the social background of «Fahrenheit 451°» prompted by?
  7. What is the plot of «Fahrenheit 451°»?

Translate into English:

  1. В произведениях научной фантастики достижения науки составляют элемент сюжета.
  2. Писатель-фантаст переносит своих героев в далекое будущее, доисторическое прошлое или неизведанные миры.
  3. Брэдбери больше интересует поведение человека в нестандартных ситуациях.
  4. Роман «451° по Фаренгейту», в котором Брэдбери подвергает осмеянию американскую действительность, утвердил за ним репутацию первоклассного писателя.
  5. Социальный фон книги навеян периодом «охоты на ведьм» в США, когда все прогрессивные движения жестоко подавлялись.