Fahrenheit 451 review

fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Pages: 158

I remember reading this book in high school, I believe it was Sophomore year, originally with contempt. I wasn’t a fan of reading and when I heard this story was about a dystopian future, I was so annoyed (this being the third or fourth book having that). However, as I began to give in to Bradbury’s words I became very intrigued and entertained with the novel. That was 3 years ago so the story was fading in my head, I forgot nearly all the main characters and was mixing plot points with 1984. So I picked this up last time I was browsing the American Literature section of the library and dove back in. As I reread and remembered my intrigue began to rise page by page.

This novel is about “the fireman” Guy Montage and his life in a future where free thought has been criminalized. The enforcers of this law are the Firemen, who are men who drive around arresting people and burning their contraband that promotes free thoughts (books mostly).  The plot is propelled into motion when Montage begins to have small walks with his teenage neighbor Clarisse McClellan. Clarisse and Guy talk while he is on his way home. Clarisse is a very free spirited person, which is the type of behavior Guy works to eradicate. However, Guy doesn’t turn in Clarisse, he walks with her and listens to her ideas. Once Guy walks with Clarisse enough, he begins to question himself and his life. This leads to Guy, next time he’s out at a house he is ordered to burn, taking a book and hiding it under his pillow at night.

“It was a pleasure to burn”. – Bradbury

This story reminds me a lot of 1984. Which is expected when dealing with dystopian future. However, I believe this story deals more with the concept of free thought whereas 1984 dealt with the concept of emotional expression.  This book is a story about a man exploring himself and analyzing his life. If you enjoy books where the character thinks and in turn causes you to think then this is the perfect book for you. I also recommend this to fans of Bradbury’s other works. 

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This week I have began reading the book, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, I’m about 35 pageImage result for Fahrenheit 451s into the full 158 page book. . Which is a novel from the 1950’s about a dystopian future where free thought, emotion, and most importantly books are illegal. The main character, Guy Montage, works as a man who finds and burns the illegal books. These workers are called “firemen”, which is an ironic name because they are the ones that start the fires by burning the books they find. The title of the book refers to this burning of the books, 451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper burns. Guy Montage lives with his wife Mildred in a home with walls that are also televisions which are interactive, meaning they can see or hear what you’re doing 24/7 . His wife is completely enthralled in the tv programs that play daily. Montage, however, doesn’t watch them, and finds them boring and annoying. Mildred is the average person in this dystopian world, while Montage is quite the opposite. He is conflicted, he thinks for himself and is reluctant when burning his books, and even keeps one. This story is a very classic idea of what we think of when we hear the word “dystopian”.

These dystopian stories came around most predominantly in the late 1940’s through the 1950’s. This is of course due to the horrors of WWII and the holocaust. This story draws inspiration from this period of time very heavily in it’s social structure and laws. The act of book burning was an extremely common practice amongst the Nazi party. This loss of free thought from the German people lead them to blindly follow or die from attempted contradiction.

“Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces. Stand back from the centrifuge.”

This quote, I believe, perfectly encapsulates the atmosphere of this world in the book. Everything Montage comes in contact with is falling apart or burning away. The only way to deal with it, for him, is to stand back separate himself.