Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

First Quarter:

8/10

Fahrenheit 451, though a relatively short book, is certainly a long read. The wording can be confusing at times, and the author mentions many things that only pertain to the world his novel takes place, with no background information as to what he’s talking about, leaving the reader perplexed. That is the main issue with the novel: the lack of clarification and background on the world he has created.

Every single character, though unbelievably quirky, are somewhat relatable and realistic characters. However, the fact that they are not completely like humans today does help the plot, further exaggerating the difference between the future dystopian society from ours today. The main character, Guy Montag, is a firefighter, though he is not the sort of firefighter one would think of today. Instead of putting out fires, he makes them. As it seems, whenever someone is found out to be hiding away books, which are not allowed in the society as they have been deemed “useless”, he and his team of firefighters must go to the house in which the books are being held and burn the books, along with the house. All is going well, until one day. Guy and his team reach this house in which an old lady has an entire library of books, and she refuses to leave them. Despite their pleads for her to exit the house, she refuses, demanding to stay in the house. Curious as to why on earth she’d rather die than leave her books, Guy takes one home with him, along with the guilt of burning that old woman alive.

When he arrives home, the reader gets to know his wife and house better. His wife is so very odd, and a rude woman as well. She spends all of his money, and is a very unlikable character, the opposite from Clarisse McClellan: an unfortunate girl who Guy had taken a liking to in the beginning of the novel. Clarisse died as she was supposedly hit by a truck, however it became known that the government had been watching her due to her odd sense of mentality. But the oddest and most confusing part of the novel would most likely be the house. From the screaming “relatives” in the parlour, to the fourth wall that his wife, Mildred, simply must have.

There’s an eery mood to this book, as so many things are left unknown and confusing, even to the main character himself. He has no memory of how he met his wife, and he can’t help but feel as if the history of the world that he had been taught is not quite correct. Though the book can get frustrating at times with such little information, it does keep the reader on the edge of their seat, desperate for more.

Advertisements

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

3 responses to “Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

  1. I completely agree with Julia’s standpoint on this novel. The tone set to this book is rather eerie and mysterious. There are many moments in the novel that caused me to stop and think about what they were trying to convey, what exactly was going on, and how it related to the novel. There were often moments where I had to go back and reread a few pages at a time to grasp at what they were saying. It has nothing to do with weird wording, or phrasing that came across as strange, it was more because of the lack of knowledge that I, the reader, had while reading the novel… In other words, there was a lot of interpreting. As Julia said, the main character Guy, is a fireman who sets books on fire to eliminate specific novels that they’re trying to erase in history. At first, Guy thinks nothing of it, but then a girl named Clarisse McClellan, his new neighbor, causes him to question the world around them. Why do people get arrested when driving too slow to actually see the world around them? Why do people burn these books? Why are people so forbidden to explore their surroundings? Clarisse opens Guy’s mind as the novel progresses. This causes Guy to question what he is really burning. The night of the fire when the woman chose to stay in her house to burn with her books sparked a question in Guy’s head. He quotes “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing’” (Bradbury 48). Guy takes a book and hides it until morning due to this nagging question. This reminded me very much of the novel The Book Thief as one, the book burning was to accomplish the same goal: To erase history, and two because of the similarities in the motives that Guy and Liesel had while stealing the book: curiosity. But what in history are the people and the government trying to cover up? What time era does this book take place? The time era is unknown but it is undoubtedly in the future. Seeing that the book was published in 1953, this seems to be the imagined future that Ray Bradbury thought there would be. This might in a sense add to the odd feel of the book since we might be in the era that Bradbury intended it to take place, but right now, that is only a guess. As far as their motives, throughout the book there are many quotes that caught my attention. For instance, when Guy was asking his chief Beatty about what firemen used to do, he states “once upon a time” because he caught the phrase from a book by accident while burning it. Beatty reacts with, “‘What kind of talk is that?” (Bradbury 31). This got me thinking… Was the government erasing fairy tales and anything that had to do with imagination? What exactly were they trying to ban? Then there came another quote that further caught my attention. When Beatty tries to convince the woman out of her house (the event that Julia elaborated on) he states, “‘Where’s your common sense? None of those books agree with each other… The people in those books never lived” (Bradbury 35). Does that mean that they don’t believe in the past historic figures, or does this mean they began to ban fairy tales. It is small quotes like these that kind of hint towards a bigger picture.

    Another thing that I picked up was the sense of eeriness that Julia spoke of. I kind of think that the author purposely left the reader with questions and lack of background to put them in the shoes of Guy. Guy doesn’t really know what’s going on with the community either. Though at times, there are certain things about his past that he knows but the reader doesn’t. There are small quotes and small incidents where he keeps looking upon a vent in his house and remembering an event that happened two years back. He mentions an old man that told him something, but he never elaborates. It seems that Guy is suspicious for keeping a secret in his vent maybe… I don’t know yet, but I feel it’s a rather big event that’s being foreshadowed in these few quotes.

    There was also another point in the novel that I couldn’t seem to find the significance to: when Guy’s wife overdosed on sleeping pills and those men came buy to empty out her old blood and replace it with someone else’s. My thought is that it was to show the lack of knowledge that Guy had on what was happening. He seemed so clueless and oblivious to anything they were doing. Was that the significance though? Was there something bigger that I’m missing? Let me know to the readers that haven’t posted!

    • seralew

      Wait sorry were we supposed to put a rating? If we were, I’d give it a solid 9/10 because of the creative ways and descriptions the author implemented throughout the novel. It is a fascinating piece of literature.

  2. From the very first sentence of the novel, Fahrenheit 451 was a gripping read. The enthralled man excited by the fire was captivating and the imagery was powerful. I agree with Julia that the characters are very interesting, and I found Clarisse McClellan especially interesting. She was different from the rest of the world, or at least the rest of the characters introduced to us. She forces the main character, Guy Montag, to reconsider his life and how truly happy he is. I disagree with Julia, however, about the characters being relatable. The dystopian setting of this novel gave a feeling of distance, and the quirky-out-of-this-world characters further enforced the idea in my head that this was only a story. Referencing Sera’s response, I too, thought about the societal rules in this world, how they were banned from looking around slowly, to read, to enjoy life. It may have been a commentary from the author about the increasingly repressive society. Dystopian novels are often reflective of the worst parts of society.

    The world-building of this novel was really incredible. Right off the bat, the readers learn that firemen does not insinuate the taking out of fires, but the lighting of them onto books. It is also stated that it is in the future, because they think that homes being non-fireproof is either in the past or never happened. This novel can be considered the first dystopian novel-it is set in a world that is seemingly perfect to the characters but is clearly repressive and harmful. It’s one of its kind and I think the world is what draws me into the novel the most.

    The character, as mentioned before, Clarisse McClellan was very different, and drew me out of the doom and gloom of the setting of the world. Her constant questioning of the world is against. She asks if Guy ever reads the books, and she asks if firemen actually used to put out fires. In a world where people are banned from reading and exploring, this could be seen as blasphemous. I want to learn more about Clarisse McClellan; although she is very open, she is still a mystery.

    These questions can lead to Guy questioning the motives of his own life. Guy, the man who claimed that kerosene was his perfume, went home and laid in his bed, wondering if he was truly happy.

    Overall, I really like the book so far and I give it a 9.5/10 and I’m really excited to find out what would come next.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s