Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.
Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. 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 then 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.
When Mildred attempts suicide, and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
First published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is a classic novel set in the future when books forbidden by a totalitarian regime are burned. The hero, a book burner, suddenly discovers that books are flesh and blood ideas that cry out silently when put to the torch.
Yes, I am one of the rare souls who hasn’t read Fahrenheit 451 until now…is it bad to say that I read it just to read it? Well that’s what happened. I’m a fan of dystopian novels and I know this is basically one of the most renown dystopian novels out there, so I knew at some point in my life I had better read it!
My feelings toward the book are a little hard to explain. I was not overly pleased with it, but I’m definitely glad I read it. I think Fahrenheit 451 is a story that can be especially appreciated by book lovers, I mean this book is about books and their effect on society and what would happen if they were no longer apart of our life. I admired how thoroughly the impact of literature or lack there of was described. There were some very powerful passages that had me putting the book down just to contemplate what I had just read. Montag is not your typical lead character, he doesn’t have much of a history, but he does have a depth that is gradually developed as he realizes his greater purpose in life. The lack of depth in Bradbury’s dystopian setting is made up for by his metaphorical and intriguing writing style and descriptions.
Well at least now I can say I’ve read this classic. I was scared the ending would be dissatisfying, but it actually concluded on a much more positive note than I expected. It would have been interesting to see what Bradbury would have done with a sequel.
If you’re like me and haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 yet, pick it up on Amazon here!