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Fahrenheit 451

Oct 08, 1999 688 Words
Fahrenheit 451
451 degrees Fahrenheit is the temperature at which paper, more specifically books, burn. As a fireman living in a futuristic city, it is Guy Montag's job to see that that is exactly what happens. Ray Bradbury predicts in his novel Fahrenheit 451 that the future is without literature -- everything from newspapers to novels to the Bible. Anyone caught with books hidden in their home is forced out of it while the firemen force their way in. Then, the firemen turn the house into an inferno. With pride, Montag carries out just that...Until one day he meets a young girl of seventeen who changes his mind about everything. Clarisse McClellan knows many things that Montag has never considered. For instance, she recites poetry, the ideas of great philosophers, and most importantly, facts about the world's history. When she first speaks to Montag of these illicit things, he is taken aback and begins to question all that he has been told. Not trusting his current knowledge and cursed with a burning curiosity, Montag begins collecting books from the fires. One by one he reads the books, but they make no sense to him and he looks to others for help. Unfortunately, Clarisse mysteriously disappeared and is later reported dead. But, Montag did not give up. He soon remembers an old retired English professor, Faber, he met one year earlier. Faber jumps at the chance to help Montag and together they venture into the unwelcoming world to try to show others the importance of knowing their past. In light of these facts, one theme of this story, it is not necessarily the eldest, who is the wisest, can be found in the relationship between Clarisse and Montag. The relationship that they have is somewhat difficult to figure out completely; they are so far apart in age, yet they seem as if they are in love with each other, or at least with what the other has to offer. For example, Montag is astounded by the information and opinions that Clarisse has to offer while Clarisse is interested in Montag's experiences as a fireman. Another theme could be Anne Bradstreet's quote "If we had not sometimes the taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome", meaning that unless one has bad experiences, the good ones can be taken for granted. This quote proves to be true in Fahrenheit 451 because Montag's knowledge of the past is lacking and what he does know is inaccurate. When he encounters the truth, it is like an entirely different world being opened up to him. Obviously, this newfound knowledge would not be as awesome if he had known it all along. This, along with other aspects of the book, made this novel truly enjoyable. The plot was incredibly original and ironic. To create a story in which the setting does not permit such a book is pure genius on Bradbury's behalf. The setting, a large metropolis area, also added to the novel by emphasizing the isolation of its citizens from the rest of the world, both physically and in their concerns. This was symbolized by the way the city limits immediately turned into unoccupied forests. The only thing that I felt needed improvement in Fahrenheit 451 was the role of Clarisse. She deserved a longer role in the book instead of disappearing in the beginning. Other than that, I thought the novel and its plot were intriguing and well laid out. Based on these reasons, I would recommend this book to anyone who does not like to read. It makes the reader realize the importance of books and all the information, experiences and advice they have on their pages. I would also recommend Fahrenheit 451 to anyone who likes a novel, which predicts how things could be in the future. After reading this book, I realized that I could not imagine a world without literature or free speech. Fahrenheit 451 is undoubtedly a four star book. Needless to say, it is the first book that I have had trouble putting down in a long time.

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