Fahrenheit 451 By Ray Bradbury(4) Essay, Research Paper
Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451, the temperature at which book-paper catches fire, and burns. A goodwarning for aspiring librarians! In Ray Bradbury’s futuristic fiction Fahrenheit 451, we are facedwith the issues of book burning and censorship, also with the problems that the ignorance causedby these two things creates. The story is of Guy Montag, a fireman. A man who loves to burn books, or so he thinks.In his generation, the world has gone to pot. Idiocy and bliss run wild through the television setsof future day America. His wife is hooked on the “tube”, and they have been breed to believe thatbooks are evil things. However, just as in all situations of this kind real or fictional, there is acertain spark misssing in life. We see it in George Orwell’s 1984 and we also see it in theliterature, motion pictures and art of the 20th century Chinese civil war. He lacks the bit ofunderstanding in his environment, that makes his life hollow. Then we are introduced to ClarisseMcClellan, a young woman who opens his mind, teaches him to walk in the rain and rubdandelions under his chin. More and more he drifts from where he should be to stay alive in acomfortable way, and heads toward a realization of the lacking in his life. As he examines hisworld he finds that the only thing he really knows is missing from his life are the books, the booksthat he burns as an occupation. To find out whether or not this is it, he steals books as hedestroys them and eventually is caught by his fire chief, Beatty. Beatty plays an important part inthis tale as he serves to show him the flip side of realization. Beatty realized his lack in life andalso read the books, but he was not strong enough to step away from the conforming mold of theflock of mankind. He uses his knowledge to confound Montag, although he is very lenient aboutthe situation. However, the story moves on with Montag running away from his life, his job. He meetsa man named Faber, who was a professor at Cambridge before the big Ban. Faber helps him, hepoints him in the right direction but does not entirely show him the right path. However,Montag’s wife calls the station and reports Montag for possessing books. When they show upand Montag realizes whos house it is, as his wife speeds away, he snaps. He wants no more of
his life. He takes his flame thrower and destroys everything that reminds him of who he used tobe, including the fire chief and some of the other fire men. There is a big hunt, an electronichound is brought out by the authorities to destroy Montag, but Montag eludes the hound. Hetakes refuge with old homeless professors, living like Hobo’s out on the rails. As the book ends,America goes off to war with an unstated opponent, retaliation brings destruction to most ofAmerica, along with the television sets that replace the walls in Bradbury’s book, and the radiostations that pump useless garbage into the ears of futuistic citizens. The men stand up and walkinto the city, and their task of re-educating the populace, if the populace will have them, begins. If I had been placed in this situation, I imagine myself doing the same as Montag. Icherish my intellect an awareness of things above all else and would like to imagine that if theywere absent, I should feel the absence in my life and would fight for it should I discover it’sexistence. This novel sets itself for a somewhat hazy/dreamlike setting in the minds of its readers,you can feel the conflict occuring and you can almost feel the hesitation and thoughtfulness of thecharacters in the excellent wording that Bradbury uses. As he tells to watch ourselves, cherishour knowledge and never stop asking why, as the novel slowly ends, you can almost feel yourselfwaking up to a world of realizations that the novel can give. Not new realiztions, not like that,but old realizations. The novel helps to reaffirm them and prove how valid they are. One of theunderlying realiztions that is shown throughout the book and especialy in the resolution, stickshard in my mind. It is simply that we all must help each other to not forget, to ask why in life, andshould someone forget intellect, and suffering, or awareness and realization, we must be there tohelp them stand back up. If we all sit down, no on will be able to see the top of anything everagain, and if no one can, no one can describe it to anyone else, and a vast segment of knowledgeis destroyed. I liked this novel a lot. I would recommend it to everyone. It is not very long, about 150pages, but it contains more in those 150 pages then a lot of the books with 500 or more pagesthat I have read.