Thursday, November 28, 2019

Bradbury s depiction of schools driven by technol Essays

Bradbury' s depiction of schools driven by technology and sport joins previous speculative works which expressed skepticism at technology's relevance and ethical role in the classroom or the library. In her survey of how books and libraries appear in futuristic texts, Katherine Pennavaria shows how, from the late nineteenth century , science fiction routinely showed adulterated or merely artefactual texts being transmitted through increasingly tyr annical or sinister technology. Doctored or hi-tech t exts can only produce a simulacrum of the process of basic understanding (what pre-modern culture would have called lectio ) and meditative reading ( meditatio ), for there is nothing behind these texts . There is a r esulting erosion of citizens' ability to think critically, discern misinformation, avoid irrelevance, and compose new texts. The faculty of individual and communal discernment was under particular threat during the 1950s as the House Unamerican Activities Committee (HUAC) sought an unprecedented level of censorship. T he American Library Association's 1953 statement "The Freedom to Read" argued that the ord inary individual's exercise of " critical judgement " was the bulwark against g overnment-sponsored suppression (Preamble). Bradbury shows an educational system which works to erode the faculty of critical judgment by systematically eroding students' experience of, or hunger for "the extended discussion that serious thought requires...[and] the accumulation of knowledge and ide as into organized collections" (ALA, Preamble). Clarisse's poignant objection shows a natural preference for human interlocutors in the face of redundant, transparent technology . Credible, meaningful memory is an integration of the human (the true, the authentic) and the litera ry (the beautiful, the worthy). Bradbury argues that this synthesis is contained in the authentic, mem ory-feeding text, not a thin and inauthentic technological medium. Where formal schooling fails to stymie intellectual growth, other mechanisms of social control work more punitively against it. The burni ng of the old woman in Part One remains one of twentieth-century fiction's most poignant representations of cultural biblioclasm . The old woman meets the Firemen with a quotation from Foxe's Booke of Martyrs : "Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out " (43). By appropriating Hugh Latimer's words, the old woman evidences her reading and the ethical use of this reading. She has integrated Latimer's words so completely into her memory that this speech act both reveals her attitude to the curr ent context, and conflates it with Hugh Latimer's . The two contexts are brought to bear on the atemporal res oppression of the innocentof which they are only temporal instances. I n her analysis of people using others' literary words in extremis , Mary Carruthers remarks on the profound integration between affect, ethical awareness, and recollective memory which is required to perform this . The point at which a reader " speaks again " another's words shows that "the student of the text, having digested it by re-experiencing it in memory, has become not its interpreter, bu t its new author, or re-author" (210). Once again, the relevance of Aristotle's comment about knowledge being composed of the memories of others is evident in Bradbury's novel. Carruthers comments that

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