Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

Summary

It was a pleasure to burn. Or at least, it was for Fireman Guy Montag, whose job it was to burn illegal books, until he met eye-opening Clarisse. She made him realize what his life was: a future where the US has become isolated from the world, with books banned completely and the only TV programs being reality TV "families," Montag's life is very empty. With Clarisse's death and the revelation that there are people who burn and die trying to protect their books, Montag starts to try and find ways to get people to read again...

Characters

There are not many unique characters at all in Fahrenheit 451. However, my favorite character out of anyone would be Clarisse by a landslide. Her curiosity is what opens Montag's eyes to the world around them, and her willingness to explore is what sets her apart from other characters.

Setting

Fahrenheit 451 presents us with a dystopian US. Nearly every house is the same, save for those that have been burned down to the ground, Think a future with no internet, computers, or books to speak of.

Reviews

"The basic premise behind Ray Bradbury's novel 'Fahrenheit 451' is compelling. In the future, fireman don't put out fires, they start them. It is their job to seek out books and put them to the flame, making sure that no one indulges in the 'crime' of reading one. But what makes this nightmare so interesting, and relevant, is that it was not forced upon the people by their government, but was decided upon by the people themselves. Minority groups, religions, and ethnicities, who were offended by the words of writers, simply made reading unpopular and convinced the world that books were, first, a waste of time, and then the root of all evil. A wonderful 'Negative Utopia' novel in the tradition of '1984' and 'Brave New World' Bradbury's novel differs in his writing style. His prose is difficult to follow and at times leaves the reader unimpressed. If you can you're not easily turned off by Bradbury's odd and difficult way of writing perhaps you'll enjoy the deeper message of this work." ~Coda Carlson, amazon.com


"Parents need to know that Fahrenheit 451 is a classic example of dystopian fiction, written by one of the most acclaimed authors of American science fiction and fantasy. It depicts a near-future America where books are prohibited and the populace is placated with cheap, shallow entertainment. Ironically, the novel's inclusion in schools and libraries is frequently opposed by various special-interest groups. There is some violence -- the main character deliberately burns one of his colleagues to death, one woman sets herself on fire and burns to death, another attempts suicide with pills, a mechanical hound goes after one man and kills another." ~Common Sense Media, commonsensemedia.org

About the Author

Born on August 22, 1920, Ray Bradbury began writing around the age of 12-13, planning to "live forever" through his fiction. While in Hollywood at the age of 14, he obtained his first pay for contributing a joke to the Burns & Allen Show. In 1983, Bradbury went to the library as a substitute for college, which he was unable to pay for at the time. "Libraries raised me," he later said. "I believe in libraries because most students don't have any money. When I graduated from high school, it was during the Depression, and we had no money. I couldn't go to college, so I went to the library three days a week for 10 years."

Bradbury had to support himself as he wrote, so he sold newspapers for a living. In 1983, he started publishing short stories to a fan magazine, some even to a fan magazine he made himself. The story "Pendulum", however, was his first professional story, and it was published in 1941. By 1943, he had become a full blown writer. In 1847, he married Maggie McClure, and had 4 children, Susan (1949), Ramona (1951), Bettina (1955) and Alexandra (1958).

His first major story came in 1950, and was titled "The Martian Chronicles". He published "Fahrenheit 451" in 1953, which is his most well-known work. Despite distastes towards television, Bradbury also wrote many screenplays, including a 1956 take on "Moby Dick".

In total, Bradbury wrote about 30 novels, 600 short stories, and countless other poems, essays, screenplays, and plays. His favorite award was being named "Ideas Consultant" due to the fact that he was happy that he was influencing lives.

He wrote well into the 90's, and died on June 12, 2012, at the age of 91. Bradbury's fascinating science-fiction works will be remembered for decades to come.

Would I recommend this book?

Fahrenheit 451, as much of a classic as it is, is not for everyone. There aren't many interesting characters to speak of, the book can easily get either too short or too boring to hold people's attention. I would recommend this book for people with special tastes. For a future "so close to our own", there are a lot of technologies today that surpass that of Fahrenheit 451, and its easy to lose the story if you happen to be bored or sleepy while reading the book. Fahrenheit 451 may not be the best thing around, but it's at least worth giving the first chapter a shot.