Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

fahrenheit 451

Details

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published in: 2012 (first published in 1953)
Pages: 249
Genres: science fiction, classics

Summary

“Sixty years after its publication, Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 stands as a classic of world literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Today its message has grown more relevant than ever before.

“Fahrenheit 451- The temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.”

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

The sixtieth-anniversary edition commemorates Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Nelson Algren, Harold Bloom, Margaret Atwood, and others; rare manuscript pages and sketches from Ray Bradbury’s personal archive; and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature.”

-from Goodreads

My Review

For the past 10 years, Guy Montag has been a fireman. He lives in a world where firemen burn books and the houses they’re in instead of putting out the fires. In this world, all books are banned. People have lost interest in reading, thinking is considered to be dangerous, and having a conversation or being a pedestrian is a rarity. Instead people speed by in cars or watch TV. Guy has never questioned any of it before. He goes to the firehouse where he has his job as a fireman at night and then comes home to his wife, Mildred, who’s always watching TV and talking to her TV “family.” But one day, he meets a 17-year-old girl named Clarisse, who’s eccentric in this world because she likes to observe nature and think. She talks of the past where people didn’t live this way and of a different way of living now. This leads him to soon question everything he’s ever thought.

Guy is a fireman and has been one since he was 20. His job is to destroy books by burning them. He became a fireman because his father and grandfather were both fireman. He’s never questioned or doubted this before. When he meets, Clarisse, that all changes. At the beginning of the novel, Guy just blindly followed authority, never thinking for himself. Then after meeting and talking with Clarisse, he begins to question things.  Eventually after one night where a woman decided to be burned with her books, he really questioned things. He had snuck books home over the years and after that, decided to read them. After doing so, he found an appreciation for books. He then didn’t agree with the government anymore and valued books and reading.

The plot was interesting, even if it was violent at times. In this futuristic world, people originally stopped reading books on their own. Then all books were banned because they were said to cause unhappiness due to their disagreeing views. Guy Montag initially agrees with this, but after meeting Clarisse and after a night where a woman was burned with her books, he challenges everything he’s ever known. Over the years, he had taken books from the sites he had burned and stored them in his attic. Following that night, he started reading them. He wanted to know what is was about books that would make someone be willing to die with them. He began to see the value in them. From then on, he wanted others to see the value in them too. One day when Mildred invited some friends over, he insisted on reading a poem. Later that night, he was reported and was forced to destroy his own house. Then he ends up on the run where he meets a group of people who memorize books and want to preserve them in memory and pass them on orally.

Fahrenheit 451 had a couple important messages. The most important being the warnings against censorship, dictatorship, and conformity. But there was another, less important message, of what could happen if people stop reading or thinking for themselves.

I found Fahrenheit 451 to be kind of odd, but it still had an important message/warning that I think everyone should know. I recommend it to everyone, especially those looking for a sci-fi or classic novel.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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