Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury

Books bombarded his shoulders, his arms, his upturned face. A book lit, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering. In the dim, wavering light, a page hung open and it was like a snowy feather, the word delicately painted thereon. In all the rush an fervor, Montag had only an instant to read a line, but it blazed in his mind for the next minute as if stamped there with fiery steel.


Montag's hand closed like a mouth, crushed the book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest. Montag had done nothing. His hand had done it all, his hand, with a brain of its own, with a conscience and curiosity in each trembling finger, had turned thief.

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Summary

In a not so distant future, books are regarded as wicked tools used to miserably distort the mind. Simpler forms of entertainment replace thoughts and relationships, and the possession of a book is a worthy cause for execution. Firefighters in the future have a fundamentally distinct motive than we are familiar with, in which they incinerate houses known to contain illegal literature.


Guy Montag, a firefighter, forms an unlikely friendship with Clarisse McClellan, his neighbor. Her innocent, yet profound conversations cause him to doubt the universally accepted societal norm that he works so diligently to protect. The long upheld illusion of happiness he forced on himself quickly dissolved into a struggle to find meaning in his life. Montag hopes to discover the passion that he lacks captured in the text of the forbidden books.




Guy Montag

Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a third generation firefighter. He is often impulsive and naive, but he also searches for a more meaningful purpose in humanity. His actions can be described as rash and irresponsible, but his benevolent intentions are admirable.


Mildred Montag

Mildred Montag is the wife of Guy Montag. She is a product of the superficial society that they live in. With an eerie detachment of reality, she buries her emotional turbulence under an artificial pretense of contentment.


Clarisse McClellan

Clarisse McClellan lives next door to the Montags. She is a seventeen year old girl with an unique and increasingly rare perspective, preferring to indulge in conversation rather than the media. Her youthful innocence emphasizes the simple pleasures in life.


Captian Beatty

Beatty is the captain of the firefighting troupe. A seemingly simple man, he is adamant about his belief in the danger of books. As he describes the history of firefighters and how their society came to form, he displays his contradictory knowledge of literary works, hinting to the complexity of his character.


Review

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It expresses the power of words though the meanings we give to them. In the book, Faber says, "Books are only a receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we would forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only what the books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe into one garment for us." Clarisse reveals the truth to this with her brief encounters with Montag. The idle conversations they share dramatically change Montag's frame of mind, causing him to betray everything he has ever known. Unwittingly, she altered the course of his life simply through the words she spoke and the emotions he related to them.


My favorite passage from the book is printed at the top of the page. I found this passage to be particularly profound due the reference to his hands stealing the book. I think this is representative to the subconscious demand for knowledge, and Ray Bradbury communicates this idea beautifully with colorful similes and personification.

Fahrenheit 451 - Trailer

Bibliography

"The Burning Platform." The Burning Platform. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.<http://www.theburningplatform.com/>.


IMDb. IMDb.com, Web. 07 Nov. 2013.<http://www.imdb.com/media/rm74356736/ch0018295>.


"Characters - Fahrenheit 451." Fahrenheit 451. Web. 07 Nov. 2013<http://451fahrenheit.weebly.com/characters.html>.


"Captain Beatty." Magick, Wicca, Paganism and Other Esoteric Knowledge. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.<http://www.realmagick.com/captain-beatty/>


IMDb. IMDb.com, Web. 07 Nov. 2013<http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0077871/?ref_=tt_cl_t1>


Fahrenheit 451 - Trailer." YouTube. YouTube, 22 Dec. 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMBu6RUMJg0>