Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a classic work of dystopian fiction and one of my favorite books off all time. I got two books I can re-read every year without getting bored. American Gods is one, this is the other.
The novel is set in a future society where books are banned and “firemen” burn the ones that are found or reported in by the public. Guy Montag is a fireman who begins to question the society he lives in and ends up rebelling.

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Guy Montag’s rebellion


There is I believe, several points during our time with Montag that he finds himself fed up with his life. His wife attempts suicide and doesn’t even want to acknowledge it in the morning. He meets a young girl, Clarissa, that asks questions and prefers looking at things instead of driving fast cars. I think Montag starts seeing how the world could be when he meets Clarissa. He sees his empty life and wonders what could have been had not society shunned books in favor of fast entertainment. Then she dies for nothing and Montag feels he must do something.
The character that puts it all together and is who ultimately, I think, sets Montag in motion is Faber. An old learned man that Montag meets in a park. He realizes that Faber has books but does nothing. Montag wants Faber to teach him about books and the world.

Nobody listens anymore. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me, I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read.”

Guy Montag

Conclusion

This book is written so beautifully. The prose is what elevates this book from just a normal dystopian novel to something ethereal. It flows like poetry but is so suspenseful at times. When Montag and his boss plays cards and quote literature at each other I’m on the edge of my seat.
I’m also intrigued by how Mildred can so easily be regarded as just an empty headed person who choose comfort before anything else. What people tend to forget is her suicide attempt in the early parts of the book. I think Mildred grappled with a lot of complicated emotions but lacked the language to speak of them. Or maybe she was scared that no one would listen. My heart goes out to her even if she’s a part of the problem.

Sadly this book never stops being relevant and it’s relevance only grows as our society turns more and more toward fast entertainment and half-truths.

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