Fahrenheit 451: Lesson One

Contributor: Melissa Kowalski. Lesson ID: 12644

What behavior seems strange to you? Do you think people think you are strange? Have your beliefs ever been challenged? Prepare to enter a disturbing world that may not be too far off into our future!


Literary Studies

learning style
personality style
Grade Level
High School (9-12)
Lesson Type
Dig Deeper

Lesson Plan - Get It!


What is special about the temperature of 451 degrees Fahrenheit?

The temperature 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper begins to burn.

This concept is central to Ray Bradbury's novel, Fahrenheit 451, because the main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman. However, he is unlike any of the firefighters of today's society. As you start reading the novel, you'll learn what the difference is, but here is one tantalizing hint: notice that he is called a fireman, not a firefighter!

The author of the novel, Ray Bradbury, is one of the most influential science fiction writers of the twentieth century. Watch the following biography of Ray Bradbury. As you watch the video clip below, answer the following questions in a journal or notebook that you will keep for this entire series:

  • What event inspired Ray Bradbury to be a writer at the age of 12?
  • Where did Bradbury move when he was 13 years old?
  • What two writers inspired Bradbury when he was a teenager?
  • On what historical event is Fahrenheit 451 based?
  • When did Bradbury die?

Watch Ray Bradbury Documentary (D Blani Productions) and answer the questions in your notebook or journal:


  • What habits or characteristics from Bradbury's life surprised you?

When you've finished exploring Bradbury's biography, you are ready to begin the novel. First, you will need to obtain a copy of the novel. You can find a print copy in your local library or bookstore or you can purchase a digital copy to download to a device of your choice. Once you have your copy of Fahrenheit 451, you are ready to read. The book is divided into only two parts, so you will need to stop partway through Part I for this first lesson. As you read, stop immediately after the sentence, "But it was late, and the arrival of his train put a stop to his plan," which is when Guy Montag decides not to try to find Clarisse.

When you've finished reading, move on to the Got It? section to explore issues raised in this section of the novel.

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