Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 is such a classic, and sadly, I had never read it. Now that I have, I can see why it's a classic and can see why it will always remain one and remain relevant. This was a very powerful book. Picture a world engaged in war, a world full of censorship, a world where there is no speed limit, a world where people do not engage with each other, but rather engage with the walls. This is the world that Ray Bradbury has created in Fahrenheit 451.

451 is the number that the firemen wear on their uniforms. The jobs of the firemen are not to put out fires, but rather, start them. Books are banned in Bradbury's world. Books are seen as not real, silly, impersonal, influential, propaganda and will not be tolerated by the government. So it is that the job of the firemen is to burn every book in existence and to imprison the owner of the books. Quite a scary thing. One of the firemen, Montag (the central character) has kept some books of his own. Upon reading them, he finds that books should exist, and you can see the dilemma that this could cause. That's all I'll say so as not to ruin the story for those who have never read this.

This is also my first Bradbury work, and I'm very happy that I've finally discovered him. He is Orson Scott Card's favorite author, so I figured he had to be a pretty damn good writer...and he is! I look forward to reading more of his work. I have Something Wicked This Way Comes sitting on my shelf, so that'll be the next Bradbury. I also have a short story by the name of The Homecoming illustrated by Dave McKean.

This was book 3 for me in the Banned Books Challenge. It's very ironic that this book has been banned seeing as the book is about books being banned and censorship. My thoughts on why it may be banned is because of Montag's challenge of authority. This is shown as a good thing in this book and he is the hero, and it's generally not well taken in our society when one goes up against the government or any form of authority. I think it's ridiculous to ban this book though. This book speaks volumes about power in the wrong hands, ignorance, and many other themes that I could go on forever about. Bottom line is that this is a wonderful book and although it has been banned in some places, I'm glad to see that it is required reading in so many other places.

Other Reviews:



Literacy-chic said...

I'm curious about the ban, too. I wonder if it had to do with the author's politics rather than the content of the book? It's definitely a classic of dystopian literature. Have you read Brave New World? Of course, both are right up my alley with literacy.

Carl V. said...

I'm proud of you for getting in there and reading this. It is always on my tbr pile but I never seem to get around to picking it up and reading it!

jenclair said...

Great book! I've read it more than once, but it has been a while. F 451 is one of those books referenced so frequently that it has become part of popular culture and for that reason alone is worth reading-- but the message still stands as vividly now as when Bradbury wrote it.

Chris said...

N - I'm sure it had alot to do with his politics. I haven't read Brave New World yet, but it is next up for the Banned Books Challenge. Looking forward to it.

Carl - I'm really glad I read this book too. I tend to stray from classics for some reason, but this one was truly a great read. He's a wonderful writer!

Jen - That's one of the reasons I wanted to read it...it's referenced all the time! Quite a powerful book.

Literacy-chic said...

It is a really great book, and Bradbury is a master, but I have to say that much of the ground for F451 is laid in Brave New World and sooo much more! I can't wait to see what you think of it. I think the reason people either love BNW or hate it is because of the ending, and because they read it too young. Reactions to F451 are less ambiguous. Fun stuff!!

Bookfool said...

I'm so glad to finally see a positive review of this book! I really enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 when I read it - probably about 15 years ago - and it's become my 22-year-old's favorite book. Several friends have read it recently and were not so thrilled. I agree with you; I thought it had an excellent theme and is even more relevant in a time when such a thing as Sims games exists - creating your own little family? Just like the people on the walls? Wow.

Chris said...

How can people not like this book?! It was a great story, powerful story, and written perfectly. I guess everyone just has their own tastes.