My last book review did pretty well so I thought I might try that again. If I keep this up long enough, I may be able to review one of Tobias Hrothgar’s books. Today’s topic is a certain dystopian novel from the ’50s called Fahrenheit 451.
Warning: Some Minor Spoilers Follow
Fahrenheit 451 is set in a world where books are illegal, firemen start fires rather than stop them, and people have grown blind to the world. Our protagonist is a certain fireman named Guy Montag. He’s been starting fires as a career for his whole life, a job which he has always enjoyed. Or so he thought.
Montag began to think after he met a girl named Clarisse. She would point out things he had never paid attention to before, such as the moon and the flowers. He’d never slowed down to understand and observe the little things. Everything was a rush, getting from one thing to another with no distractions.
To get Montag thinking more, his wife, Mildred, nearly died and he realized he didn’t even really care. He hardly knew her because she was constantly staring at the television, listening to the radio, or hanging out with the relatives, a virtual family that argued constantly over nothing at all. Mildred was lost to the technology and she lived only for it.
Guy Montag realized that he was not a happy man, that his life was wretched and depressing. He began wondering about such things as the idea that firemen didn’t use to start fires, and he was curious as to what was inside books. He even went so far as to steal a book and read it for himself. He began to see all the knowledge that was held inside, and what it could do for people. After his fellow firemen burned down his house, Guy was on the run.
Ray Bradbury made an amazingly accurate prediction of the future with this novel. The people are enslaved by devices and they grow to be offended by all opinions that they disagree with. We are becoming weak-minded people and we are heading toward a world where opinions are illegal. This is a matter that is better explained by Karl Bickerstaff in his post: “We Need To Be Really Bothered”. Go check it out.
Fahrenheit 451 is a book I’d suggest for ages 13 and up. There’s some mild language as well as some disturbing moments, but the main challenge would depend on the reader’s advancement.