Fahrenheit 451 – when books burn
The book Fahrenheit 451 is written by Ray Bradbury and is about a futuristic community which does not tolerate books. In this community, the firemen are sent out to burn buildings that are believed to contain books. Guy Montag’s understanding of fire changes throughout the novel. At first, it is a pleasure to burn; a pleasure to see things blackened and changed, but it becomes a comforting symbol of warmth.
“It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (p.1). The book starts with these words. Guy Montag is a fireman; his job is to burn all books and the houses they were found in, after someone put in an alarm. Montag describes fire as a destructive force. He lives in a futuristic society, a dystopia. In this world, firemen start fire rather than putting them out. In fact, people believe that it is a myth that firemen once used to put out fires. Instead of reading books, going outside and enjoy nature, spending time by themselves, think independently, the citizens in this society drive very fast, watch excessive amounts of television on wall-size TVs, they need nonstop entertainment to believe they are happy. People, who are different, like the young Clarisse, have to be silenced or killed. They are considered to be a danger for the society and its people by believing they make the people unhappy due to too much thinking. The fire is destructive. It symbolizes cleanliness, ending in brutal purges, consuming consequences and responsibility. This consuming, the burning finally gets recognized by Montag as a fundamental principle, already starting with the burning of the sun, which symbolizes the unstoppable progress of time.
The pleasure to burn changes. In the second part of the book, Montag tries to rebel. However, he is confused, it seems like his conscience refuses nonconformity. Montag never deviated from the norm. He never questioned the morality of his...
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