Study Guide and Study Questions for Fahrenheit 451 with a Fahrenheit 451 lesson plan

Teaching Fahrenheit 451

I’ll just provide an easy downloadable pdf solution for those needing a lesson plan right now. I provide details for this lesson in this post, if you want them: Fahrenheit 451: The Elements of Science Fiction


Once you get over the fact that e-readers and iPhones have made the premise of Fahrenheit 451 semi-irrelevant, you’ll be burning down the classroom.

Most students enjoy the novel. You may need to explain some figurative language to help students comprehend the novel’s themes. Regardless of student reading level, all students should be able to give a Fahrenheit 451 summary without much difficulty. A Fahrenheit 451 analysis, however, probably depends on your teaching expertise. Effective activities include irony charts, suspense graphic organizers, and a chart detailing the predictions from the novel that have come true.

The book’s message must be shared. In a society that overly depends on outward stimulation as opposed to intelligent thought, a book like this is valuable.


Fahrenheit 451 Lesson Plan

Students will bring up the whole, “I’d like to see these fools burn my Kindle (no pun intended)!” anachronistic issue.  Admit that Bradbury’s inability to foresee the inevitable elimination of traditional books makes the novel seem less relevant. Then spring this assignment on them.

Instruct students to make a two-column chart.  On the left-side of the chart, readers should write down a Bradbury prediction.  On the right side of the chart, readers will write how that prediction has come true.  Have them list 5-10 predictions (or you could just download the aforementioned lesson plan linked at the top of this post).


Fahrenheit 451 Lesson Example

Fahrenheit 451 Lesson Plans and Teaching Guide with image of Fahrenheit 451 book

This teaching unit is more than a collection of the best Fahrenheit 451 lesson plans I’ve used the numerous times I’ve taught the novel. It’s 99 pages of teaching magic. We’re talking a complete 6-8 weeks of lesson plans and materials. Simply print out the assignments and quizzes, make friends with the copy person at your school, and experience the magic.

This lesson is part of the Fahrenheit 451 teaching unit. Here’s a pdf download of the lesson. For more on the teaching unit, click the picture on the right.

Bradbury’s Predictions

1) Mildred and her friends interact with TV shows.

2) There are machines where people go to get money 24 hours a day.

Prediction Coming True

1) Internet, iPhones, Twitter, Facebook, and other media make interacting with TV shows common.

2) ATMs


ELA Common Core Standards Covered

Reading Fahrenheit 451 will help you cover the following ELA common core standards for reading and writing.

  1. RL.9-10.1 Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.
  2. RL.9-10.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text.
  3. W.9-10.2 (if you decide to turn it into a writing assignment, too) Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content.
  4. L.9-10.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

Fahrenheit 451 Summary

Guy Montag, while walking home from work after a long day, meets Clarisse, a vivacious girl who opens his eyes to the futility of his life and of his society. Guy returns home to his wife who has attempted suicide one more time. Guy rebels, but in a society that frowns on individuals, undergoes constant external stimulation, and prohibits the reading of books, he may be in over his head. Making his change of heart even more difficult is Montag’s profession. He’s a fireman whose job it is to find books…and burn them.

Fahrenheit 451 Analysis

Legendary Science Fiction writer Ray Bradbury has written hundreds of novels, plays, and short stories including The Martian Chronicles, Dandelion Wine, The Illustrated Man and, perhaps his most popular, Fahrenheit 451. A Fahrenheit 451 analysis should include the following:

  • Allusion: Because the central activity of the novel’s protagonist is to find books and burn them, along with the house that contains them, there are numerous literary allusions.
  • Irony: Firemen start fires. Happy people try to kill themselves. Schools promote reckless behavior, movie watching, and sports playing. People are arrested for going on walks.
  • Suspense: Bradbury creates suspense through pacing, foreshadowing, and dangerous action.
  • Symbolism: The novel teems with symbolism.
  • Figurative Language: Metaphors, similes, personification, synechdoche, and hyperbole allows the novel to be interpreted on many levels.
  • Imagery: Burning houses, ghostlike visitors, desperate rebels, and many more haunting images grace the novel’s pages.
  • Conflict: The novel details one man’s inner conflict and his conflict with society.

Bradbury’s novel has stood the test of time. Written shortly after World War II, Bradbury’s dystopia looks shockingly similar to modern society. The following topics will make your class discussions productive:

  • Elements of Science Fiction: Startling predictions include a society with TV screens the size of walls; individuals who sit around all day and watch TV; people who never read; the encouragement of recklessness and an overexaggeration of the importance of sports, ATMs, and many more.
  • The Influcence of the Media: Bradbury’s fictional society spends its time being visually stimulated. The media controls individual thought.
  • Peer Pressure: Teenagers understand peer influence more than adults. The pressure of conformity pervades the novel.
  • The Importance of Books: The society loses its ability to think because it no longer reads.

Fahrenheit 451 Study Questions

These Fahrenheit 451 questions will help you to prepare for a class discussion. They’ll test student understanding of the work and get them thinking about the important ideas behind it.

1.   Other than censorship what problems exist in the dystopic society envisioned by Bradbury?

Violent youth, fast cars, invasive media, intolerant minority and special interest groups, the disintegration of familial ties, the ostracism of anyone who is unusual, and the ineffectiveness of government schools all play a role in the disintegration of Bradbury’s dystopic society.

2.   To what extent have the Fahrenheit 451 predictions come true?

Violent crime among youth has increased steadily over the past 20 years. People watch TV on their phone. Political correctness pervades art, media, and politics. Students often read online study guides instead of reading the actual novel.

3.   What do you make of Beatty’s ability to quote literature and his desire to destroy books?

It is apparent that Beatty has not only read literature but has studied it closely. Because literature has no definite answer, often contradicts itself, and is fluid in meaning, Beatty despises it. He wants to be in control, but he cannot control the meaning of literature and the study of ideas.

4.   What Fahrenheit 451 predictions not mentioned above have come true?

ATMs, unheard of in 1950 when Fahrenheit 451 was originally published, large screen TVs, interactive media (Internet, for example), the proliferation of Caesarian sections, abortion on demand, music and TVs on subways, trains, the dentist office, and grocery stores, the watering down of religion, and an “inefficient, top heavy, tax-mad government” (61) are prevalent today.

5.   Faber defines the value of books. What is it and does it apply only to books?

Books have quality, pores, features, texture, depth, telling detail, fresh detail. Good writers touch life. Faber comments that society needs quality, be it books, good TV programs, plays, or thoughtful music, Society needs time to digest the meaning of things and the freedom to act on it.

6.   Why do Faber and Montag feel they must change the way things are?

Nobody’s happy. Suicides abound. They’re always at war.

The Movie

The movie isn’t very good.  There is, however, some outstanding unintentional comedy.

Fahrenheit 451 Study Guide

Everything a teacher needs to know or wants students to know about Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury can be accessed by the following links.

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