We have just begun Fahrenheit 451, which is a perfect book for 8th graders. They are completely blown away that this was written over 60 years ago, because they are quick to spot some of the tendencies in contemporary society reflected in this Fahrenheit world. They had a lot to say about social media—Facebook, Twitter, et al— and how it kept relationships from going deep.
We had spent nearly a half an hour discussing, “What is happiness?” when BR said, “It’s like trying to dive into ice.” The class stopped and looked at her. “Well, we all skate on the surface and you can’t get underneath to the water below, you can’t get any depth without books or at least without being able to think and question. Most of us are happy to stay on the surface.”
Her friends said, “Hey, I thought you didn’t understand this book.”
She was on a roll. “You know with technology, stupid is the new smart.” After she explained that it was possible to be smart with technology, but that wasn’t necessarily its core and that how to manipulate it was seen as far more important than anything you wanted it to say, everyone looked at her with wide eyes.