Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury- Second discussion (11/28/2016)

Blog post by Sera Lew:

Over the second quarter that I read, many events took place, and a lot of questions were answered. I do not want to simply summarize what happened over the course of my reading. What I do want to focus on is the main recurring symbol of a lily (or a flower). When Montag talks to an old English Professor named Faber about books and the society they lived in, Faber states, “‘We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality’” (Bradbury 79). I was taken aback by this quote not only by what it conveyed but the craftsmanship of the metaphor itself. What Bradbury presents to a reader is a metaphor that gives the reader something to ponder on and analyze. Faber was comparing the flowers growing atop of all the other flowers to the society that they are living in during their current time. The reader learns that the society lived in during the current time does not value education like we do now (the reader’s current time). In their society, books are burned as the government believed that too much controversy and two sided arguments occurred through literature. What the society wanted to accomplish is a biased free zone, only made up of facts, and nothing else. They never regarded or liked any historical characters as they too brought many conflicts and arguments among the people as many argued on what the person really did, or who was better. So, viewing back to this metaphor, I thought that Bradbury did an excellent job explaining the situation in a nutshell. The flowers growing on top of flowers represented that their society built off of the main base of the old society, yet they never looped back around to “cycle back to reality.” The society that they lived in was so high off the ground that the people soon forgot where they came from, and nor did they care what had happened in the past. Faber refers to the earth as some sort of a powerful figure, as it ties the world together, even in fireworks. However, when society is built atop of an old society without revisiting the past, they no longer grow off of the good “rain and black loam.” What is Ray Bradbury trying to convey? Well, the way I took it apart, I thought that the rain and the black loam (soil) represented the main roots to building a society. However, because the flower grew on top of the other flower instead of using the “rain and black loam” there comes a society that becomes unnatural, and something that doesn’t loop back into reality.

After analyzing this quote, this caused me to look back upon my reading to find more hidden messages that I didn’t catch before. It opened my eyes to see the expertise style of writing that Bradbury presented as each and every sentence written had a meaning. I often found that sometimes, when reading a book, I tended to not pay attention to much detail in scenes that seemed unimportant. However, from reading this book, it has opened my mind as a reader, and it has made me more aware of a lot of the small hidden details. So, when I looked back to the part where Montag is on the subway, trying to remember parts of the bible, he recites in fragments over a loud toothpaste commercial, “‘Consider the lilies of the field…They toil not, neither do they…’” (Bradbury 74-75). When I looked back on this scene, I realized the recurring flower/ lily symbol brought up once again. I found myself surprised after finally analyzing what Bradbury was trying to convey. I researched the full quote, and it stated, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” (Luke 12:27). Relating the meaning back to the story gave me an “Ah ha!” moment. (which is extremely awesome when the idea finally makes sense). As I slowly began to take apart the meaning of the quote from the bible, it connected to the symbolic meaning of flowers more and more. Here’s how I broke it down. Firstly, I defined that Bradbury uses the symbol of flowers to represent the society that Montag is living in. When taking apart the quote from the bible, I thought that the main message it was trying to convey was the idea that lilies do not need to go through extremely hard labor to turn out beautiful. I then related this quote to what Faber had said to Guy. Faber mentioned that their society that they were living in did not grow and cycle back down to the earth making it almost artificial (in a sense). I made the connection that their society is made up so artificially that it does in fact “toil and spin,” and it does not grow into a beautiful society. Because the community was so far from natural, not letting the good soil or rain help it grow, it grew from hard labor and became unnatural.

Maybe it’s too far of a reach, but let me know future commenters on what you think. I would rate this quarter a solid 9.5/10. This book is developing a well thought out story, and the metaphors that Bradbury uses are phenomenal.

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16 responses to “Fahrenheit 451- Ray Bradbury- Second discussion (11/28/2016)

  1. juliadragu

    I agree with Sera on the point that many questions have indeed been answered throughout this second quarter of the book, however I’m afraid I would not change my rating to a higher score. To me, the book remains on at an 8/10, not for the reason that it isn’t a genius, intellectual book, but for the fact that it is really quite boring. Perhaps it will get better later, but I find that a book really should have gotten interesting by the time the reader has reached the halfway point. The problem with this book is that Bradbury perhaps uses too many “hidden pieces” and parts that need analysis. It isn’t difficult to understand as the story progresses, it just simply isn’t very interesting. Unlike a mystery novel, as the reader is on the edge of their seat, waiting for new pieces of the puzzle to connect, this novel just doesn’t seem to have the same effect. The characters are much too eccentric, to the point that they’re almost boring. Guy questions way too much for it to seem realistic. He grew so much dynamically in so few pages, from completely believing everything about society to questioning everything. His wife, it seems, is much too big a character, for someone so seemingly useless. She served as an excellent example of the way people have become in that point in time the book takes place, however only a few chapters later, she seemed to have lost her purpose. However, that is to suggest that every character has issues. I found the character of Captain Beatty, the captain of the firemen, to be a very useful and important character. He added a lot of sense to the novel, explaining a lot of the way the world had developed, while still leaving mysteries for the reader to figure out all on their own.

    One thing that really shocked me, and that both explained so much, yet left so much to question was when Guy Montag showed up at the house of an old man named Faber, with the New Testament in his arms. Though what he said to the man may not seem so revolutionary to the plot of the book, and I admit, it wasn’t as if Bradbury went out of his way to conceal this fact, it was obvious in a way, but I still found it very interesting. “‘My wife’s dying'” (81). From the sleeping pills, to the machine with the eyes that see and suck out the parts of people need replacing, and put in new blood, to the strange conversations she always has, and the earpieces she always has in, it was quite plain that something was the matter. Admittedly, it has been revealed that many people of that society have trouble with all of the issues listed, though does that imply that many people in the society are dying? My main question is why is she dying? The most bothersome part of this book by far is that Bradbury tells us what, but never how or why. I can see how this is a technique, as Guy is figuring things out all the while the reader is, though at the point where it begins getting tiresome, especially in the middle of the book, where the reader expects to have become engaged, I would suggest a different approach. This of course, is simply my opinion, but I do feel as nonetheless, the plot itself could have used a little more thought.

    Addressing the part on the subway that Sera mentioned, I am glad she talked about it. I found that scene extremely confusing. The fact that she found a metaphor in the words, and linked it to earlier in the book was impressive, as I only got that Guy seemed to be freaking out over an, admittedly annoying, commercial. However, though I do the lilies as a symbol of the society, I would like to maybe explore the metaphor further. Lilies are often linked to the thought of funerals. Linking back to the earlier revelation that perhaps many people in the society are slowly dying, that may be the reason Bradbury had chosen to speak of lilies in particular, over any other flower.

    I look forward to learning more about Mildred Montag the very confusing dying wife, and getting more questions answered. Though this book certainly isn’t my favourite, it is not an overall awful book, and is an interesting read.

  2. seralew

    Wow, I really enjoyed your thorough breakdown of this novel. I absolutely loved your connection between lilies and death, for I wouldn’t have noticed it. I have to agree, I found that quote about his wife dying quite strange and interesting, and I really liked to connection between the lilies. I’ll keep that in mind as I continue reading further into the novel. Great response!

  3. I really wanted to talk about the world we’ve read about in this novel so far. It’s clearly a futuristic setting, and I believe this book is one of the very first dystopian novels. It’s kind of similar to the book we read back in sixth grade, The Giver. Seemingly, this world seems perfectly harmless, at least to the people living in it, but in reality it is oppressive or demeaning or worse than meets the eye.

    In Guy Montag’s world, everyone thinks that they are happy, and do not want to think that their world is anything less than perfect, when in reality, both the readers and Clarisse both see the flaws. This can be seen as a criticism of the society we live in today; how we choose to look away from the flaws and pretend that we are happy. Because although this world is different from ours, the happenings and feelings of people are similar to ours: we look away from and ridicule the outcasts: (clarisse) and many of us watch TV all day in several different rooms. If not criticism, it was an excellent prediction.

    The entertainment in this world is also reminiscent of the people. Guy talks to his wife, who tells him she wants another tv, and that the new “play” is very fun. The readers can clearly tell that the entertainment is very empty in this world-there is no freedom of interpretation, one of the reasons that books are important in the happenings of this world.

    In our world, books are constantly declining and we are favoring a more mind-draining source of entertainment like social media and television. However, I would argue that the media we tend to prefer have at least some interpretive parts: movies can allow people to think, televisions can teach people to feel more empathetic about characters, and social media allows us to meet and interact with new people all around the world. It’s not all doom and gloom in THIS dystopian world.

    I really enjoyed exploring this world and I look forward to exploring it further. It’s interesting to compare and contrast it with our own and I feel that Ray Bradbury did a good job developing it.

    Although I agree with Julia that it can be very boring at times, the want to know about the world keeps me reading, and it’s enjoying to read so far.

    • I agree, it is similar to The Giver! It’s interesting to compare how the different the characters react to realizing there are parts of the world that have been hidden from them.

  4. This third quarter was definitely very action-packed and dramatic. A lot was introduced, yet I found it simple enough to understand. From here, every new information and event was explained thoroughly enough that I could read with satisfaction and understanding, however there are still many questions that I have not been answered. The main points I would like to address of this particular quarter are Guy’s character development, the plan between Guy and Faber (including the seashell), the events at Guy’s house, and the incident with the fire.

    Guy seems to explode at Faber uncharacteristically. Throughout the book he has seemed to be a fairly level-headed man, who would not resort to violence. He was wracked with guilt at burning the old woman, though he screams to Faber while ripped apart a book “‘Who can stop me? I’m a fireman. I can burn you!'” (88). Though Guy does seem to get more passionate in his beliefs throughout the book, he seems to be lashing out in an odd way.

    Regarding the plan, I’m a little confused as to what it actually was. Now I don’t mean to complain so much about this novel, as it isn’t so bad as I make it out to be, but the faults simply bother me too much. However I must admit I’ve read ahead, and I promise I’ll have better things to say about the last quarter! Back to the post. So Faber gave Guy the seashell and sent him on his way, but I’m really not getting what the point of that was. There was no explanation as to what the point of the seashell was other than so Faber could listen in on who else may be “one of them” (i.e. who else finds books and literature fascinating). If anyone has any ideas, or perhaps your copy of the novel went into deeper detail about this, I’d be glad to hear it!

    Guy eventually makes his way back home and eats some supper, when some of Mildred’s friends come into the parlor. Interested, Guy joins them in the parlor, to find them greeting each other, sipping on orange juice. Then on the parlor walls, which I have deduced to be some sort of television; a means of insight into the outside world, some images appear. It seems to be a series of short programs, each only lasting a few seconds. This is a way of showing how short the attention span of the people in the society of the book seems to be, that every form of media should only keep one’s attention for a short amount of time. Next, the ladies begin talking about a war that their husbands, besides Guy, seem to be involved in. At the moment, it was very confusing as to what war they were talking about. One of the ladies asks when the others suppose the war will start, to which another one of the ladies, Mrs. Phelps replies, “‘…the Army called Pete yesterday. He’ll be back next week. The Army said so. Quick War. Forty-eight hours, they said, and everyone home'” and someone else later says “‘It’s always someone else’s husband dies, they say'” (94). This seems to be the most aware topic any of the other characters have engaged in. It seems surprising that this society would continue to have wars. However the most interesting part is it seems as if these wars are scheduled; as if they’re a part of life that is part of a day to day itinerary, just as a morning jog, or a Sunday family dinner at seven would be. And the fact that people still die in these wars surprises me. The faults of this society are painfully obvious, yet it seems odd to have people die if the war is happening for no obvious reason. The topic of war raises another dozen questions, to the long list that have yet to be answered. While the parlor is admittedly a bit less of a mystery, Ray Bradbury still does not exactly provide any background information, nor will he later in the book about nearly anything. This makes me wonder if perhaps there are other books based on this society.

    What happens next is quite possibly the oddest event throughout the entire book. Despite the bewilderment of Mildred and her company, and Faber’s desperate pleas through the seashell, Guy gives away nearly everything that makes him a criminal. He tells that he has been reading, and that he’s been reading poetry. He even shares a piece with them, which affects Mrs. Phelps greatly, and reduces her to sobbing. In short, chaos takes over, and Mildred sets the alarm off purposely, and not much later, Guy Montag is called to burn a house with Beatty and the rest of the firemen, only to find that it is his house he must burn. Now I must slow down for a moment, because what happens next is an action that seems wildly uncharacteristic for Montag.
    And then he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling gibbering mannikin, no longer human or known, all writing flame on the lawn as Montag shot one continuous pulse of liquid fire on him….Montag shut his eyes, shouted and shouted, and fought to get his hands at this ears to clamp and to cut away the sound. Beatty flopped over and over and over, and at last twisted in on himself like a charred wax doll and lay silent. (119).
    First of all, I apologize for the improper formatting of the quote, but it won’t let me properly format it. But it confuses me so much to see Montag go from the man that couldn’t bear burning an old lady, a stranger, even though he couldn’t see her body burning, to murdering a man only a few feet away from him. This way of murder was horrifying to read, and left me rethinking who Guy Montag really is.

    I’ll post my final review later in the break, and I’m excited to see what you guys have to say about the third quarter of the book!

  5. seralew

    I completely agree as to what Julia was saying about the novel. I was thoroughly intrigued on what you had to say, and agreed on a lot of the points that you discussed. To address the question that you had asked earlier in your response, I was a bit confused in that area as well, and I am reassured to hear that I wasn’t the only one who was confused on this part. In terms of my understanding of the situation, I think Faber gave the ear piece to Montag so he can hear in on the events at hand and let him know advice on how to handle the situation. As Montag had stated, he said “I can…hear and analyze the firemen’s world, find its weaknesses, without danger” (Bradbury 87). I think that the main point of the ear piece was to aid the situation at hand without actually being hurt, but I found nothing more than just that. As far as their final plan, I believe it was to collect money and contact a person who would be willing to mass produce and copy banned books. That’s all I got in terms of your question.

    I also thought it was interesting that you mentioned the sudden change in Montag’s reaction. I have to agree that I too was caught off guard by such a rather dramatic change in his way of interacting with people. However, I think that even though his reaction may seemingly be out of character for Montag to do, it is certainly not unrealistic from both the story’s standpoint as well as Bradbury’s standpoint.

    What I mean by this is that I think it is rather reasonable for Montag to react to the situations at hand the way he did seeing how much he had been through in only a span of one or two days. There is also so much change happening around Montag in his world, and often times, I think that some people deal with their stress through anger. I also think that Montag’s reactions may not be unrealistic in terms of Bradbury’s standpoint as well. What I mean by this is that Bradbury purposefully wanted Montag to overreact in an irrational way in the events later on in the book so he could state one clear message: Montag was done with the world that he lived in. He was so angry to the point where he could no longer contain himself. For instance, during the scene when he yells at his wife and her friends at the Parlor, in anger, as Julia explained, rips out one of his hidden books and forcefully shoves banned literature at the innocent women who have, keep in mind, never been exposed to such a thing. Montag does it in the name of his anger, and nothing else. Montag knows that he is being irrational, but the author implements these types of reactions to help further develop Montag’s changing character. In a sense, Bradbury uses juxtaposition to make a point of Montag’s fast pace, changing character.

    At times, I felt that Bradbury moved very fast in his novel in terms of not only story line, but also character development. However, the way Bradbury writes, I think, puts the reader into the moment with the character. Montag lives in a fast moving world, so realistically, there is fast movement in character changes. So many events happen in one day that it would be more unrealistic to have a slow character change rather than a fast one. Though it may catch readers, like Julia and me, off guard, I do certainly want to point out that it puts the reader more in the moment with the character. It made me realize how fast Montag’s life was changing in just over a course of 1-2 days. I think that the pace in the story as well as the abrupt character change adds to the entire feel of the story.

    I wanted to address one character, however, and that is Beatty. He is quite an intriguing character; he is the type of the character that really makes you think. During the scene where Montag burns Beatty (as Julia had explained in her comment), there was a realization that Montag had made that I want to point out. It was that “Beatty wanted to die… He had just stood there, not really trying to save himself, just stood there, joking, needling…” (Bradbury 116). When I got to this point of the novel, all I could think was “Why? Why? Why?” This caused me to revisit the last few pages I read and I discovered this quote where Beatty taunts Montag saying, “‘Why don’t you belch Shakespeare at me, you fumbling snob? ‘There is no terror, Cassius, in your threats, for I am arm’d so strong in honesty that they pass me as an idle wind, which I respect not!’ How’s that? Go ahead now you second-hand literature, pull the trigger” (Bradbury 112). How did Beatty know all this literature? Where all the sudden does he know all those quotes, all of that information from banned books?
    Where does Beatty’s anger come from?
    This truly had me thinking… What if, just like Montag, Beatty had suffered through the same sort of anger? What if just like Montag, Beatty was angry with the world as well, but his story ended up to where he was so beaten down by the community, he collapsed and never tried again? Maybe Beatty tried at one point in his life to set the community straight once again, but ended up closing up to the world, losing faith in change.

    Maybe it is a far reach? What do you think about Beatty? Tell me what you think!

    • First of all, I really enjoyed reading both of you guy’s comments. It was really insightful and it was so much fun hearing your theories. Especially the one about Beatty; I never looked too much into his character, but what you said, Sera was really cool and definately worth looking further into.

      As for the uncharacteristic actions from Montag, I agree with Sera when she says that although it may have been uncharacteristic, it wasn’t unreasonable. When you think abou the things that Montag has gone through over that past few days, like losing Clarisse, discovering that he is unhappy, that he doesn’t feel love, it would be enough to drive someone mad. Although I definitely was taken aback at his actions.

      Speaking of Clarisse, what happened to her? I understand that it’s been established that she is dead, but why? We got to know her, and love her, and understand her, and so did Guy, but as soon as he knew what he needed to know for the story, she died, with no further explanation. Did the government get rid of her for being a freak? Did she actually get run over by a car? I feel like there was so much to discover about her, and we never got to.

      I believe Clarisse is what is formally called a “Manic Pixie Dream Girl”: I learned this term from the novel, “I am Not Your Manic Pixie Dream Girl” (A really good book, I really recommend it) This term was coined by a film critic, and was explained as “that bubbly, shallow cinematic creature that exists solely in the fevered imaginations of sensitive writer-directors to teach broodingly soulful young men to embrace life and its infinite mysteries and adventures.” according to Wikipedia, “MPDGs are said to help their men without pursuing their own happiness, and such characters never grow up; thus, their men never grow up.” Basically, ‘Manic Pixie Dream Girls’ are women characters that are created solely for the bettering and deepening of another male charater, without developing herself. She isn’t explored by the writer, and is only used as a way to help the main male character grow further.

      One can see the obvious problems with these types of characters, and I think Clarisse falls under this category. We never got deeper with Clarisse the way that we did with Montag (after he met Clarisse) and she died immediately after she served her purpose. So, one of my main critisisms of this work of literature is the lack of female characters that go in-depth or have any actual character of their own. The prominence of “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” versus the strong, complex, human being.

      Also, while we were commenting on the second quarter of the novel, I said that I really enjoyed getting to know the world, and I did. But I feel like I never stopped. We are 3/4ths of the way finished with this book and yet we still keep learning more and more about it. Like the War that seems to come out of nowhere. (unless it was referenced previously that I forgot about in which case, sorry!) I feel like the world should have been finished developing a long time ago so that the readers can go on with the story. The setting should be the canvas for the plot, but instead we are taken aback everytime and get pulled away from the story.

      I had more problems recently than my other posts, and that may be because the third quarter is the weakest so far, or because I’ve gotten more critical. However, I still haven’t given up on the story; there’s still plenty of times where I’m having fun while reading.

      What do you guys think about the Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing? Please let me know!

  6. seralew

    You introduce a very intriguing idea that made me ponder a bit and rethink the whole entire significance of the character Clarisse. At first, I was hopeful into thinking that later on in the story, Bradbury would solve all of the problems, tying everything together. Answering all the unknown questions, putting the reader through a lot of Ah-ha moments, things like that, you know? But now that you mention this, it opened my mind to a new way of thinking. When reading your response, I found myself thinking back to the beginning of the story, and I realized that this entire story, this entire conflict all started with Clarisse. In the beginning, I think that we all though as Clarisse to be a huge character in the story. Possibly someone to reveal a large secret, but now thinking about it, in reality, Clarisse may have only been used to introduce the problem and to get the reader to think. Every time she spoke, all her lines were in question, almost addressing the audience as well. It got me thinking as the reader, it got me to start thinking in the point of view of Montag’s world. But now? Now we don’t even hear one word about Clarisse, and my hopes to Bradbury closing with all the problems solved is slowly diminishing.

    This also had me thinking about the time that Bradbury wrote this novel in which I think would further more add to the validity of your theory. Bradbury wrote this book during the early fifties. Women then were most definitely not as respected as they are now, and this may affect the importance of women in novels. Though they could vote, they still were not close to respected equally as to men.

    I really enjoyed reading your breakdown of the novel, and I look forward to see if our predictions are proven true or false. Tell me what you think! 🙂

    • Wow. So many emotions.

      I definitely do think that this last quarter of the book is the strongest one by far.

      Before I gush, I wanted to address the whole Manic Pixie Dream Girl thing and the issues with the female characters.

      In this last quarter, Clarisse comes back, but not in the way we all hoped to see her. We do get a more in depth explanation of her death, but even that is unclear because of Montag’s emotional state at that moment. I don’t know about you guys, but I really didn’t trust Guy’s judgement at that point. He was in the midst of his run, and scared, and angry, and just unstable.

      So not only do we get a not so satisfying answer about Clarisse’s death, but another realization hit me while reading as well. All the female characters in this novel are HORRIBLE! They are all, with the exception of Clarissw, apathetic, empty minded, TV watching, one sided, and horribly flat uncompleted characters. On the contrary, all the male characters are really interesting: all the professors and intellectuals at the end, along with Faber, are male, and even Beatty, who is absolutely one of the main villains of the story, is complex and interesting. And let’s face it, everyone hates Millie, or Mildred and all her friends.

      I absolutely agree with you Sera, when you said that it was written in the fifties and that definitely would affect the way that the book is written. I just thought the flaws of the women characters was really interesting to think about.

      OK, now about the actual quarter. Like I said, I thoroughly enjoyed this one and thought it was the strongest by far, although at first it was hard for me to pinpoint why.

      One of the first points I thought of was the insightful-ness of Montag and everyone else and the writing overall. One of my favorite characters by far was Faber, and his guilt about the way he has lived has always intrigued me. He says, “God, isn’t it funny?” said the old man. “It seems so remote because we have our own troubles.”

      Boom.

      That line hit me at how wise it was. It wasn’t a statement, yet it said so much about both Montag’s world and our own. Both our world’s are too wrapped up in our own troubles that we ignore the wars happening in our world. It reminded me of why this book is so famous. It’s brilliant in its commentary through a world that seems so different from ours and yet so similar.

      The ending also made me happy, to know that there was a small organization all about memorizing books and intellectuals made me feel like it was worth reading this entire book and that Montag’s journey was worth it.

      Overall, the last part of this book was all that I liked about this book so far crammed into one small section. It was action packed, emotion packed, and character packed. I loved it!

  7. juliadragu

    Amy, I completely agree with your post, the last quarter was certainly much better than the rest of the book, and I too enjoyed it!

    When Montag was running away and crossing the street, I was confused. I didn’t know why the car was speeding up. That confusion made the realization all the more shocking, as it became known the people in the car was a group of teenagers, laughing. It was shocking that they wanted to run Montag down and kill him. I couldn’t believe that a society could evolve to so completely disregard lives like that. The fact that Montag linked that to the way Clarisse had died really did suddenly make me root for Montag, despite the crimes he had committed himself. I really started wanting him to go against this hideously disfigured society.

    Though in my copy of the novel, no such Manic Pixie Dream Girl was mentioned. Is that Clarisse? I do agree with you Amy about the female characters. They were all just there and seemed to only complain and be emotional, while nearly every one of the men had an important role in the novel. It really would have improved the novel to at least have Clarisse make more of an impact, or just to add one powerful detail about her.

    Back to the review of the novel, the part where the voice was counting down for all the residents of the area to look out their windows was a particularly good part in my opinion, perhaps even my favorite scene in the entire book. I was on the edge of my seat there. That’s when I was locked in the book for sure. A feeling of relief washed over me when Montag reached the river. From the part where he visits Faber for the last time to the ending, I found everything was very well written.

    One thing that did confuse me however was when Montag reached the forest. All sorts of smells begin to be described, and at first I thought it was the Hound smelling all of it, as no human being could possibly make out every single individual scent in the way that it was described, but not much later, it became apparent that it was Montag who could smell everything.
    A deer. He smelled the heavy musk like perfume mingled with blood and the gummed exhalation of the animal’s breath, all cardamom and moss and ragweed odor in this huge night where the trees ran at him….And the other smells! There was a smell like a cut potato from the land, raw and cold and white from having the moon on it most of the night. There was a smell like pickles from a bottle and a smell like parsley on the table at home…He put down his hand and felt a weed rise up like a child brushing him. His fingers smelled of licorice. (144).
    This is all very poetic, and I love all the descriptions, specifically the one of the weed rising in a way that felt like a child brushing against him. All these descriptions gave off a calming feeling, after all the confusion and defiance. It reminded me a little of when Jonas from The Giver made it down the hill on the sled to find a house, decorated for Christmas, with festive music radiating from the lit up cabin. But it was confusing how he was able to smell all of this. However at this point, I had given trying to make sense of Montag’s world, and decided to simply enjoy the peaceful words, as I didn’t expect it would last very long, for it couldn’t remain so happy when I still had multiple pages left to read.

    Though before everything went wrong once again, I did find the bit where Montag finds the people gathered around the fire interesting. “That small motion, the white and red color, a strange fire because it meant a different thing to him. It was not burning. It was warming (warming was in italics)” (144). I don’t really have a deep connection to make about this quote, I just really liked it and wanted to share it. I loved how Montag was able to see the wonderful ways the things he had thought of as destructive could be used.

    Now to a less cheerful mood. Wow, I was so shocked to read the part with the Hound killing that innocent man. Though at that point I had already known that the society doesn’t really value human life, it still shocked me that they would kill a man just to trick the regular people into thinking that they had indeed caught Montag; that they weren’t failures. Suddenly it didn’t seem so odd for Montag to suddenly kill Beatty in that way.

    Regarding the Granger character, I found him to be an interesting man, and he really helped the story move along in my opinion. Something he said to Montag about his deceased grandfather interested me.
    And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did….He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did….Often I think what wonderful carvings never came to birth because he died. How many jokes are missing from the world, and how many homing pigeons untouched by his hands. (155-156).
    I thought this was interesting, and it certainly helped the plot and Montag’s purpose in the book, but I didn’t really know what to think about the fact that he didn’t cry for his grandfather himself. Surely he loved his grandpa? I’m not sure if it’s because of the way the society has evolved or not, but my belief was that people are loved and missed for their personalities, the warmth they give off, their smiles, the way they laugh. In short, the company of the person, not the ideas and objects they have given. I enjoyed reading this passage nonetheless. It was insightful to read about the way people like Montag think.

    Another point where the reader got a glimpse of how Montag thinks is on page 160, where the sentences alternate between the usual third person to first person as we read Montag’s thoughts.
    I remember. Montag clung to the earth. I remember. Chicago. Chicago a long time ago. Millie and I. That’s where we met! I remember now….Montag, lying there…now thought again, I remember, I remember, I remember something else. What is it? Yes, yes, part of Ecclesiastes.
    I wonder what could have made Montag suddenly start remembering his life. What first came to mind was perhaps being free from the city in which he had lived in had done it. That they had been given drugs to not remember, similar to the dystopian books Divergent and The Giver, how the governments had used drugs to control the citizens. Unfortunately, no answers were given, though that was to be expected.

    All in all, this book wasn’t the best I’ve ever read, but it was an alright read. I don’t regret reading this book, but my imagination has been left whirling in a frustrated manner as I try to answer some of the many questions I was left with to ponder. For the confusion of the book, I would have to give it an 8/10. Despite that, the writing itself was excellent, filled with descriptions that produced emotions fitting to the scene every time. I would recommend this book for all ages from middle school to adults. It’s a book for those with imagination.

  8. juliadragu

    Hey so guys social media has informed me of something (yes, yes social media has proven to be useful!) I know what a manic pixie dream girl is now! Additionally, I thought the review was mixed in along with the last blog post, but I’m not completely sure anymore. Are we supposed to have two different blog posts for the fourth quarter and the review?

    • juliadragu

      Final Review:
      8/10

      I started out reading Fahrenheit 451 thinking it was too confusing a book to be any good. I appreciated the space the Ray Bradbury had given me to figure things out on my own accord, with my imagination, though I felt it could have given more background information. And I still do. Though my opinion of the short novel has been raised, I do believe it could have been written in a way that I begin to understand the world at an earlier point in the book, rather than nearly three quarters of the way in.

      A good number of the characters were decent, and believable enough for me to be able to follow the story, but as Amy mentioned earlier there were a few problems with the female characters. Millie was an alright person at times, despicable at others. And that’s fine, but she was never likeable. I sympathized with her maybe once, but I had never come close to liking her. Her friends were no better. When they could have been likeable and strong characters, they were made out to be emotional and annoying. Clarisse on the other hand made me think. She made the beginning of the book decent, and I enjoyed hearing what she had to say. If only she had lived a bit longer, had a more meaningful death, or at the very least was mentioned a little bit more, then the book would have improved drastically.

      Regarding the setting of the book, I found it alright. Everything was terribly confusing in the beginning, but there was just enough information to be able to form a picture in my mind of how everything looked. The setting in the ending however, seemed very rushed. I really had no idea what was going on, and though the ending wasn’t terrible, it could have been better. When all the new characters were introduced, it was alright, but the book would have fared a lot better in my opinion, if the reader had been given more opportunity to get adjusted to this new area. There doesn’t have to be even an entire extra chapter, just enough to fill in the space I felt the ending missed.

      All that said, the book was excellently written in terms of the writing itself. While the plot seemed odd at times, the wording and descriptions did always keep me reading. The emotions showed through the tone of voice used by Bradbury and fit every point of the book perfectly. There was never a sudden wave of emotion that really bothered me and didn’t seem to fit. Looking back, the drama added did improve the book and worked well. Bradbury’s writing style was excellent, and I would definitely pick up one of his books again.

  9. Wonderful breakdown of the novel to both Julia and Amy.
    To clarify, this is my fourth response, not the overall review of the book.

    I can see what you’re saying Julia, the emotions in the book can be rather conflicting and confusing. I liked the connection to both the novels Divergent and The Giver, and I too can see many traits that these books all share.

    As for Amy, I can totally relate to you’re reaction as well. The book portrays the women characters in the novel to be very weak and useless (besides Clarisse) which is quite aggravating. Bradbury portrays them to be very monotone and not very interesting people. I loved both of your insightful responses.

    As for me, I have to say, I had a great time reading the last part of this novel. The ending, yes, for sure could have been improved as some areas were left weak and unanswered, but overall, I really liked the ending to this novel. It didn’t leave me disappointed, that’s for sure. What I found extremely interesting though, is that there are a lot of points in the novel that connect to the metaphor with the lilies and flowers that I had mentioned in I believe my second response. To recap, I basically said that the lilies in the passage that Montag memorized was analogous to the unnaturalness to their current society. I visited the idea that their society was basically flowers panted on top of flowers; in other words, their society never made it back to the earth, creating something unnatural and artificial. I connected this metaphor to when Montag and Granger were speaking to each other. When Montag prompts a question as to how to make people within the society to change and to listen, Granger responds,

    “…you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up under them. It can’t last… (then later expands saying,)…”we might have to do the whole damn thing over again. But that’s the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing” (Bradbury 146-147).

    I thought that this part of the novel really developed the overall idea that their society was long overdue for some sort of “renewal.” To add on the idea, I think Granger brings in another good point that making the society back to something more “natural” and something that loops back into the earth, cannot be solved by yet something even more unnatural (like forcing change). I also think that he brings in a very good point in saying that they might even have to do the “whole damn thing over again.” I think that this in itself strengthens the bond between the metaphor of a lily to their society as well. Granger brings it to Montag’s attention that the death of a community is all natural and that it is bound to happen just as a death of a lily is JUST as natural. I really enjoyed how quotes like these popped up throughout the conclusion as it really closed the loop as to the entire conflict. It literally closed the loop to the cycle, creating a full circle of life and death of society in general.

    Another thing that I wanted to point out was something that really struck me as well it did for Julia as well. It was the quote where Montag states when seeing the fire, “That small motion, the white and red color, a strange fire because it meant a different thing to him. It was not burning. It was warming… he hadn’t known fire could look this way… Even its smell was different” (139). I felt that this quote really resonated with me as it hit created a wave of emotions when reading this passage. I really liked this passage as it really focused on the different perspectives in life; positive and negative. The fire to begin with was never bad or good for Montag or Granger, but it was what they made of it that made it bad for Montag and warming for Granger. I saw this passage in a metaphorical sense as it brought the idea that there’s still warmth in the things that we think are the harshest in life. That there are bright sides to all dark sides, that there is hope even in a sad situation. It’s all about perspective and how we see things.

    Overall, I have to say, this was a fantastic read. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is in need of a book to read.

  10. Final review of Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury:
    Sera Lew
    9/10

    First, I want to start off by saying that I had a fantastic experience while reading this book. It takes you on an overall thrilling adventure along with the main character Guy Montag. It was a fun read and I would definitely recommend this novel to my peers.

    Guy Montag, a middle aged man, is considered to be a “firefighter,” or so they called it during their time period. The book takes place during the future, but no specific time is set. As a firefighter, Guy’s job is to burn forbidden books, almost like what they did in “The Book Thief” with their main goal being: to erase history. The reader slowly learns about the norms of their society and the values that they hold. The world that Montag lives in is an overall fast moving community, cars moving at hundreds of miles an hour, wars lasting for only a few days or even hours, high tech screens built upon walls… Montag lives in a world where they no longer have time for books, and education is built upon an entirely different structure. Graduates from Ivy league colleges are thrown out of the community, almost forgotten. Montag lives in the time where questions are forgotten and happiness and satisfaction of the citizens is all that matters. As his chief explained to him, “You ask Why to a lot of things and you wind up unhappy indeed…” (Bradbury 58). With no room for question, as the result come very hollow people. Those who begin to think more out of the box, collecting the books they can, learning literature, and philosophical subjects, are burned to the ground.

    Fahrenheit 451 follows a character whose mind is opened from a curious girl named Clarisse who is later killed by a car. With Montag’s newly opened mind, it causes him to steal books from burning sites, keeping them for himself out of his curiosity. Realizing the beauty of books, he contacts a retired professor in attempts to change his world. Starting a revolution along with Faber, the professor, Montag takes on a risky task of trying to mass produce books and spread the word of the things kept from the community. When Montag returns to work, he is confronted by his chief, and is sent to go burn down his house along with all the books he had collected. Fighting back, Montag murders the chief and runs for his life. A mechanical hound is sent out to go look for him, and Montag stumbled his way to a nearby river to confuse his scent. Getting away from the Hound, he finally arrives in the countryside where he finds a new group of people, and entire new community that have memorized the books and plan to slowly wait for the right moment to integrate books back in the system when the community is ready.

    I think that there were a few interesting attributes I found about this novel. One, I found this book to be relatively short compared to all the other books that I have read. With only 158 pages to build up conflict, to reach a climax, and a good resolution is a hard thing to do. I think that Bradbury did an excellent job of executing the idea of his story in such a short time. Still creating an overall phenomenal story line. However, at times, I did feel like the overall story was rushed, and a lot of my smaller, but still relatively important questions went unanswered. However, despite these small drawbacks, I felt that the overall story was still full with events and had an overall great story line.

    Though the story was short, I found this book to be full with meaning. Bradbury has a very different way of writing. He hides a lot of little hidden messages between the lines, leaving the book filled with its secrets. What I mean by this, is that Bradbury uses a great amount of metaphorical images and events that I particularly enjoyed breaking down. What I liked specifically about Bradbury’s metaphors is that it was opened to much interpretation and there wasn’t just one answer. For instance, the metaphor with the lilies could’ve been broken down way differently by someone else rather than me. Not only this, I also enjoyed the fact that the metaphorical lessons could be so relatable. For me, the lessons Bradbury attempts to convey through his book really resonated with me. But even that, I think, could also, again, just represent the beauty of his metaphors. Maybe his metaphors were so relatable because of the fact that they were so open ended for interpretation. But in the end, either way, from metaphors like the fire taught me a lot. The fire, to me, represented how something is good and bad all based on how we see things (I elaborated about that a little more in my fourth response).

    Another thing about Bradbury’s writing style that truly amazed me was his way of connecting the reader to the main character. Bradbury launches the reader right off the start confused and disoriented. Though some might find this as a poor trait to have as a book, I think it represented a lot of how Montag, the main character, felt. Bradbury’s craftsmanship of this beautiful book makes the audience really feel the emotion along with the character. I loved this experience, but some may not have enjoyed it as much.

    But in the end, I think that this book had an overall great storyline and fantastic craftsmanship. I would strongly recommend this book to my fellow peers who particularly like books in the genres sci-fi to dystopian society. I thoroughly enjoyed breaking down each section of the book with you guys, Julia and Amy! Fun reading!

  11. amypark0815

    My Final Review!
    8/10

    Gosh, I really liked reading this book! I’m kind of sad I’m done reading it :/

    Guy Montag, the main protagonist of our novel, is a “fireman” in a dystopian future. In his world, a “fireman” is a man you lights things on fire, or more specifically, books. You see, in this world, books are illegal. Anything that can be viewed as introspective or thoughtful is looked down upon as wastes of time. Entertainment is “walls” or giant televisions and in-ear radios. In this fast-paced world, everyone is preoccupied with empty things, like burning books and watching TV.

    Guy, a person most incorporated in this society, being the person who burns books, comes home from work one day. He meets a girl named Clarisse, who shifts his viewpoint on the world he lives in and makes him question his life choices, like his love for his life. The questioning of his purpose and the supposed disgrace of books elevates further and further until he kills another fireman who was taunting him and he’s forced to go on the run. With a help from a professor, he is able to read a few books before he goes into hiding. After running for a while and hiding in the woods, Guy meets a club of people, book enthusiasts, in hiding, like him.

    There were so many parts to this book that interested me. Mainly for me was the world that Guy lived in; it seemed so different from ours, but also so similar. Although the technology was made up by someone a long time ago, it almost scarily lines up with the technology we have today. We have huge televisions in every room, we have listening devices we put in our ears, and many people are preoccupied with them. That, however, by no means mean that we are doomed to become Guy’s world. I think it was a warning from the author to us. To never lose our wanting to learn and to be insightful and to be educated.

    also interesting to me was the whole female characters and Manic Pixie Dream Girl concept. to those reading just this, Manic Pixie Dream Girl is a type of character that is created to better the male character rather than herself and goes away as soon as she serves her purpose. This correlates with the problem of lack of good females in literature, like how the other women characters in the book were very shallow and undeveloped.

    Ray Bradbury uses repetition and short, quick, phrases really often. This is a really cool way of writing, i.e, ““Speed up the film, Montag, quick. Click, Pic, Look, Eye, Now, Flick, Here, There, Swift, Pace, Up, Down, In, Out, Why, How, Who, What, Where, Eh? Uh! Bang! Smack! Wallop, Bing, Bong, Boom! Digest-digests, digest-digest-digests. Politics? One column, two sentences, a headline! Then, in mid-air, all vanishes! Whirl man’s mind around about so fast under the pumping hands of publishers, exploiters, broadcasters that the centrifuge flings off all unnecessary, time-wasting thought!” this way of writing really quickens and builds up the narrative, and it’s also reminiscent of how quick paced the world is. Using quick language is like how everything else is done really quickly.

    I think fans of dystopian novels or people that like the world aspect of novels would really enjoy this book. I really recommend it!

    Thank you for reading!
    ~Amy Park

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