Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Classic, Dystopian
Time period: the future
Rate: 5/5 stars
Imagine a world where no one read books. I know, it sounds terrible right? Imagine that the word “intellectual” was a swear word. Nobody had intelligent conversations or any conversations at all really. Do you and your family ever sit on your porch and talk? Well what would it be like if front porches were taken off of houses because they actually encouraged people to talk? No one really knew each other or had close relationships with people because no one ever talked. They just sat around watching T.V. all day.
This is normal, every-day life for the characters in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian classic novel that takes place in a futuristic United States of America. I would compare this book to The Giver by Lois Lowry, a more popular dystopian classic. Both books tell the story about a future that is not too far out of reach. A future that might one day become the present.
In this dystopian America, there are wars going on all the time, but no one payed any attention to these wars because the wars didn’t affect them personally. Everyone is involved in themselves only. Every household has at least two or three TV walls, walls made completely out of screens. If a person was not working, they were always watching TV, and these shows or movies playing on the walls never had any point or moral. They were a waste of time, but everyone watched them.
Fahrenheit 451 tells the story about a man named Guy Montag who lives in this dystopian world. Guy Montag is a fireman. But, he’s not a fireman like you’re thinking of – one that puts out fires and saves people’s lives. Montag and his fellow firemen start fires. If someone is found to be in possession of books, the firemen go to their house and burn the books. These firemen don’t save lives. They destroy the lives and worlds inside books. They destroy the time and effort that a man or woman has put into creating a story of their own.
But, Montag meets a 17-year old girl who is different. She isn’t reckless and selfish like other teenagers her age. She’s bothered by this world. She likes to go outside and actually see the outdoors; she likes to talk about meaningful and real things. Her family likes to sit inside and talk instead of watch TV. Clarisse McClellan sees that Montag is different like her, so they become friends and talk of what things would be like if they were different.
But soon, Clarisse’s family moves away and Montag is all alone in his opinions that the world is not right. He slowly builds a collection of books, even though this is against the law. He is truly bothered by the state of the world that he lives in. And I think this is a good lesson to all of us:
“‘We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?’” – Montag.
Montag was bothered by the lack of creativity and individualism in his world. So, he rebelled against his fellow firemen. He read his books and memorized the words inside them.
This book hit me so hard and made me extremely sad. I love to think. I love to solve problems and think about philosophy. I love to read and create stories. A world without these thinks would be horrible, but is it really impossible? The majority of teenagers my age would rather be following the crowd and doing what’s “cool” than thinking on their own and building their mind. The saddest thing about this book is that Ray Bradbury’s dystopian America may not be so dystopian after all.
I really don’t want to spoil you, so I suggest you read this book. It moved me so much, and I think it’s a classic that everyone needs to read.
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.”
Have a great day, and never stop reading!