by Ray Bradbury
Are we truly happy? The future is supposed to mean a great society with a supportive government and flying cars, right? In Ray Bradbury’s world depicted in Fahrenheit 451, it’s the opposite. Knowledge is considered absurd, all people do is watch TV, and owning a book is illegal. Reading is banned, books are burned. Is there even a single sane person in the city? With the lies and false promises blocking the citizens’ view, they must ask themselves, “Are we really happy?”.
Guy Montag is just an ordinary man, employed as a fireman who burns books for a living. He is married to Mildred who turns out to betray him. Guy meets an odd girl named Clarisse who actually questions things and asks why and ponders over thoughts with wonder. Clarisse befriends Guy and asks him, “Are you happy?”. Guy doesn’t even think that true happiness is even an option. For the first time in his life, he thinks for himself and decides that he wants more out of life.
Guy and his fellow firemen respond to an alarm and are sent to an elderly woman's house. She is in possession of illicit books which must be burned. The woman loves her books and refuses to leave her home. In an act of desperate defiance, she sets herself, her home and all of her beloved books ablaze. Before the fire engulfed everything, Guy secretly reads a line from one of her books and steals it.
Back home, Mildred and Guy argue over the book he stole. Mildred learns that Guy has a stash of contraband and has been hiding books all over her house! After the dispute, Guy seeks out an old friend named Faber, who was a former English professor and asks for his advice. Faber reveals to him that books were banned so people would not think or question society. He talks about the importance of books and the freedom to learn, read and grow. Mildred is scared that her husband is breaking the law and calls the firemen on him. Guy realizes he has no love for her...
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