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Fahrenheit 451

451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper, more specifically books,
burns. As a fireman living in a futuristic city, it is Guy Montag’s job to see that that is
exactly what happens. Ray Bradbury predicts in his novel Fahrenheit 451, that the future is
without literature -- everything from newspapers to novels to the Bible. Anyone caught
with books hidden in their is forced out of it while the firemen force their way in.
Then, the firemen turn the house into an inferno. With pride, montag carries out just that.
Until one day he meets a young girl of seventeen who changes his mind about
everything. Clarisse McClellan knows many things that Montag has never considered. For
instance, she recites poetry, the ideas of great philosophers, and most importantly, facts
about the world’s history. When she first speaks to Montag of these illicit things, he is
taken aback and begins to question all that he has been told. Not trusting his current
knowledge and cursed with a burning curiosity, Montag begins collecting books from the
fires. One by one he reads the books, but they make no sense to him and he looks to
others for help. Unfortunately, Clarisse mysteriously disappeared and is later reported
dead. But, Montag did not give up.

He soon remembers an old retired English professor, Faber, He met one year
earlier. Faber jumps at the chance to help Montag and together they venture into the
unwelcoming world to try to show others the impportance of knowing their past. In light
of these facts, one theme of this story, it is not necessarily the eldest who is the wisest, can
be found in the relationship between Clarisse and Montag. The relationship that they have
is somewhat difficult to figure out completely; they are so far apart in age, yet they seem
as if they are in love with each other, or at least with what the other has to offer. For
example, Montag is astounded by the information and opinions that Clarisse has to offer
while Clarisse is interested in Montag’s experiences as a firman. Another theme could be
Anne Bradstreet’s quote “If we had not sometimes the taste of adversity, prosperity would
not be so welcome”, meaning that unless one has bad experiences, the good ones can be
taken for granted. This quote proves to be true in Fahrenheit 451 because Montag’s
knowledge of the past is lacking and what he does know is inaccurate.

When he encounters the truth, it is like an entirely different world being opened up
to him. Obviously, this newfound knowledge would not be as awesome if he had known it
all along. This, along with other aspects of the book, made this novel truly enjoyable. For
instance, the plot was incredibly original and ironic. To create a story in which the setting
does not permit such a book is pure genius on Bradburys behalf. The novel is thought
provoking and one begins to question? one’s own knowledge and freedoms. Something
else to think about was the symbolism behind the names of the characters. For example,
Montag is the name, of a paper company while Faber is the name of a pencil company.
The setting, a large metropolis area, also added to the novel by emphasizing the isolation
of its citizens from the rest of the world, both physically and in their concerns. This was
symbolized by the way the city limits immediately turned into unoccupied forests.
The only thing that I felt needed improvement in Fahrenheit 451 was the role of
Clarisse. She deserved a longer role in the book instead of disappearing in the beginning.
Other than that, I thought the novel and its plot were intriguing and well laid out. Based
on these reasons, I would recommend this book to anyone who does not like to read. It
makes the reader realize the importance of books and all the information, experiences and
advice they have on their pages. I would also recommend Fahrenheit 451 to anyone who
likes a novel which predicts how things could be in the future. After reading this book, I
realized that I cannot imagine a world without literature or free speech. Fahrenheit 451 is
undoubtedly a four star book. Needless to say, it is the first book that I have had trouble
putting down in a long time.

There are many key features in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 that strike me.
They range from little things, such as the expected technology of the future, to much
larger issues including the indifference of the people when their rights are infringed. What
also peaks my interest is the fact that the hobos in the novel are the exact opposite of how
we stereotype them today. This story is supposed to take place in the future, although it is
never quite clear exactly what year. The only real timeline that we have to compare it to is
Faber’s information that he was an English professor forty years ago when the last of the
schools were dying off. No matter how far into the future one looks, it takes a great
imagination to think up the devices that will surround us; this is exactly what Bradbury
did. Such inventions as the full-wall interactive television screens which responded to the
viewer were incredibly creative. Seeing as television had only been around for thirteen
years at the absolute maximum when this book was written, Bradbury used his imagination
to produce an elaborate piece of technology. Another example of his talent was the
invention of the Hound, a mechanical dog that can distinguish one scent from over 400
and is programmed to kill once it sees its target.

Obviously, Bradbury did not overlook the details when creating this believable
futuristic lifestyle. Secondly, I was surprised by the people just accepting the fact that they
were not allowed to read. Now, I am not sure whether or not this story takes place in the
United States, but I know that if this right of the American people was violated, it would
not go unnoticed or not cared about. Most Americans are avid about protecting their
rights, especially freedom of speech and press. Without these and other liberties, we give
up control over our say in government. I was appalled by the injustice done to these
citizens, but even more so by the citizens’ willingness to let the officials commit it. Finally,
what struck me as being the most odd was the fact that the hobos in Fahrenheit 451 are so
much different from the stereotypical hobo of today. For example, the hobos or less
outcasts of today are said to be stupid drunks while the hobos of the novel are the
well-educated humanitarians. Despite these differences, both are seen as inferior to the
“main streamers”.


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