Os 60 anos de ‘Fahrenheit 451’

Publicado no portal Saraiva Conteúdo
17 de dezembro de 2013

Escrito em 1953, romance que imaginou um futuro sem livros tornou-se um clássico da ficção científica e continua atual

Por Carolina Cunha

Para muitos leitores, um mundo sem livros pode ser o pior pesadelo. Esse foi o futuro imaginado pelo escritor norte-americano Ray Bradbury (1920-2012) em Fahrenheit 451, seu romance mais famoso, que completa 60 anos em 2013.

Fahrenheit 451 é uma distopia sobre um futuro próximo, quando a sociedade proíbe a existência de livros e os considera um perigo ao sistema. O título é uma referência à temperatura na qual o papel entra em combustão.

Publicado pela primeira vez em 1953 e imortalizado no cinema em 1966 pelo diretor François Truffaut, o título é considerado um dos clássicos da ficção científica moderna ao lado de obras como 1984, de George Orwell, e Admirável Mundo Novo, de Aldous Huxley.

Bradbury era apaixonado por livros e escreveu o romance nos porões da biblioteca da Universidade da Califórnia, nos Estados Unidos, em uma máquina de escrever alugada. Quando ele precisava dar um tempo para respirar, gostava de folhear as obras do edifício.

Na década de 1950, o rádio perdia cada vez mais espaço para a televisão. A tendência assustou o autor, que imaginou que, se o mundo continuasse assim, ninguém mais leria. Esse foi o ponto de partida de sua história, protagonizada por Guy Montag, um bombeiro que, em vez de apagar incêndios, atira livros ao fogo.

“Tivemos uma série de ficções que previa uma sociedade muito autoritária. Naquela época, era o começo da Guerra Fria, e Bradbury mostra uma sociedade onde as pessoas estão paranoicas e policiam umas as outras. Acho que o grande diferencial é justamente a questão de como ele coloca a leitura e o livro como um pilar da nossa cultura, da ciência, da democracia, da crítica e da reflexão. É o grande diferencial em relação a outras distopias”, diz José Luiz Goldfarb, professor de História da Ciência na PUC-SP e coordenador de projetos de incentivo à leitura em São Paulo.

Montag vive em uma sociedade onde a televisão está em todos os lugares e a literatura é uma atividade em extinção. Seu trabalho é destruir as publicações e as casas que as escondem. Ele nunca questiona seus atos, e sua esposa passa o dia entretida com a TV, com uma “fome devoradora de imagens”. Sua vida é um vazio, até que ele conhece Clarisse, a nova vizinha. Aos poucos, ela o introduz ao mundo das ideias e das obras literárias. O bombeiro então começa a esconder alguns exemplares em sua própria casa e, por isso, torna-se um criminoso.

Para Murilo Bastos, professor de Biblioteconomia na UnB, Fahrenheit 451 é um dos títulos mais importantes de sua formação como leitor e profissional. Ele leu o romance há mais de 40 anos e ainda hoje se emociona com a história. “Na Alemanha nazista se queimavam livros, não só judaicos, mas aqueles contrários à ideologia [do Nazismo]. A Biblioteca de Alexandria foi queimada na Antiguidade, e na Idade Média também se queimaram livros, e bibliotecas quase foram extintas. Existiram obras que foram destruídas e não sabemos absolutamente nada. Esse perigo é constante ao longo da humanidade. A censura é uma das primeiras coisas que se faz em uma sociedade fascista”, diz.

Para Bastos, os temas tratados na obra ainda continuam atuais, e uma das reflexões possíveis seria a nossa relação com a informação. “O tema da censura está sempre em voga, hoje em menor grau. Mas veja o caso da recente polêmica das biografias no Brasil, o monitoramento da internet de cidadãos por governos e outras tantas coisas que vemos todos os dias”.

Outro tema que marcou o professor é a preservação da memória por meio dos livros. Para ele, um dos momentos mais marcantes é quando Montag conhece uma comunidade dos “homens-livro”, constituída por pessoas que memorizam obras dos maiores nomes da literatura mundial e depois as destroem, com medo de que alguém os descubra. O objetivo é evitar que o conhecimento seja perdido.

“Se por acaso acontecesse o contexto de que o autor falou em que não existiriam mais livros, a cultura da humanidade seria preservada e transmitida por meio da memória e da oralidade das pessoas. Isso fez com que cada pessoa tivesse um nível de responsabilidade maior. Ela não viveria apenas, mas deveria transmitir um livro que escolheu. É uma representação de um nível de responsabilidade individual que até então nós não tínhamos. Em uma cultura fechada, em que não há liberdade, as pessoas têm uma nova responsabilidade da preservação cultural, senão ela morre”.

Bradbury disse em entrevistas que sua proposta principal não era criticar a censura, na época relacionada diretamente ao nazismo. Ele dizia que seu desejo foi pintar um retrato do rumo que a sociedade poderia estar tomando, quando livros e outras mídias estavam sendo substituídos por televisores. Ele acreditava que as obras seriam proibidas porque as pessoas ficariam menos interessadas em ideias e as veriam como objetos suspeitos. “Não tento descrever o futuro. Tento preveni-lo. E evitar que as coisas aconteçam da maneira errada”, disse o escritor.

Parte do futuro vislumbrado pelo autor já chegou. Ele antecipou a existência da televisão interativa e de objetos que transmitem uma torrente de informações 24 horas. Sobre esse aspecto, mais de meio século se passou e a cultura da imagem e da informação a qualquer hora tão marcante nos séculos 20 e 21 parece que apenas começou. Mas uma pergunta fundamental de Fahrenheit 451 ultrapassa todas as épocas: Por que precisamos dos livros?

“O bombeiro vai descobrindo o prazer pela leitura, ele fica fascinado. Eu trabalho nesta área de incentivo à leitura. Depois que ganha esse prazer, você se vicia”, diz Goldfarb.

Para ele, ler é uma necessidade que nos torna humanos. “O bonito de Fahrenheit 451 é que ele explora a leitura da literatura. A ficção é um grande mergulho na fantasia humana. A leitura humaniza e acaba tendo um papel de cidadania, de perceber o que acontece no mundo. O autor mostra que mesmo com toda a repressão, o livro tem uma sobrevida. A gente morre, mas o livro vive através do leitor”.

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