Rated: 5 Stars
Read: August 2nd, 2017
I have read many books in my almost twenty-three years of life and it should not have surprised me how a mere one hundred and ninety something page novel could contain such multitudes.
Fireman Guy Montag’s world is a bleak futuristic outlook up to its eyeballs in censorship, where ignorance is peddled by the powers that be as the height of bliss. Books are banned completely, they’re burned by the firemen, sanctioned domestic thugs that keep the sheep-like people in check.
Two pages in, he first encounters the odd young woman Clarisse McClellan who blew at the cobwebs in Guy’s head and turned some cogs he’d already begun to grease. He finally faces the truth of how unhappy he really is even though seemingly his life is pretty fine. He questions his role as a fireman. When did he even begin to burn books and why?
Increasingly the confines of little to no intelligent interactions with other people bother him, especially with his wife Mildred, whose obsession with the scripted television shows on “the walls”, “the family” in them and preoccupation with everything superficial is what pushed him over the edge.
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.
He sought out a man he once met, a man of words and poetry who Guy should have reported long ago. Together they hatch a ploy to shake up the status quo but things don’t go as planned. In fact, things went dreadfully; a discovery, a betrayal, murder, a little blackmail and an escape into the wilderness.
But as fate would have it, it happened for the best in the end. Guy worried me in the beginning but he became more human to me eventually as his curiosity and instinct to preserve his free will over rode his default programming.
I’ve had my copy for over two years I think, Fahrenheit 451 is one of those books that both fascinates and disgusts me. Not for the lack of writing, mind you, but the mere idea of censorship, most especially book burning that are by no means confined to fiction as history would have you know.
There are some points that remain vague to me, a situation I can remedy with a reread or three. Here’s what I do know:
- the setting is a city in the USA, somewhere close to Los Angeles.
- the US is a part of a war going on in another country but is approaching the homeland.
- not only are people encouraged to be critically stunted, they appear to be emotionally vacant as well in the sense that relationships are one of those recyclable notions. Continue reading “Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury”