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.