You’ll like this if you like: “What If” Stories, Thought-Provoking Books, or Reading. 😉
Favorite Profound Quote:
“Fiction is a lie that tells us true things, over and over.”
Favorite Descriptive Quote:
“He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out.”
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.
This book is about what happens when the world trades its thirst for wisdom, knowledge, and substance for entertainment, fun, and the path of least resistance. It’d be so much better to die still starving for wisdom than to live without experiencing that hunger at all.
In the introduction, Neil Gaiman said that this book is a future to the past, which I’ve found to be very true. There are a few things of the past surrounded by technology of the future. For example, people still smoke cigars, cars still use gas, and despite the wealth of technology, the authorities are unable to track when and where Montag uses electronic devices.
The world itself is both fascinating and dark. Attempted suicide is common-place, despite the fact—or maybe because of the fact—that everyone lives simply for pleasure. They avoid anything controversial or thought-provoking, because those cause pain and conflict. Their ultimate goals are fun and peace.
With the author’s style of prose, I didn’t understand everything described. His writing almost mimics the pattern of thoughts. He uses metaphors that are extremely descriptive, but sometimes I wasn’t sure what the metaphor was about or where visions/flashbacks/dreams ended and reality began. Even though it could be disorienting at times, his writing really transported me into Montag’s mind and the dark world he lived in.
Is our world one that seeks entertainment without substance? What would happen if anything controversial were banned, like in Farenheit 451?