Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.
Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television ‘family’. But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people did not live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.
When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This was a reread for me, having read the book in High School, and recently again for Dulce Candy’s book club. It was just as intriguing and confusing the second time around. I would recommend it to anyone who would enjoy learning about the societal implications of extreme censorship and the consequence of having too much governmental control over one’s personal life. This book takes some patience to read though.
As far as content is concerned, I did like reading about the overall idea. I felt that the premise was definitely still pertinent to today and that is what I enjoyed the most. The hound I believe was supposed to represent the government which cleverly sought out the programmed injustices of book hiding with ruthless vigor to a seemingly exaggerated, yet highly achievable extent. The unavoidable indoctrination of government agenda blasting through the television and severe consequence for disagreement was not a far off concept when this book was written in the early 1950s and the concept is still relevant to today.
I wasn’t too fond Ray Bradbury’s writing style, was a bit squirrelly for me. I found myself rereading parts of it. The overuse of adjectives and word salad, ugh, all I kept thinking was “Is this prose or has this now turned into poetry?” Yet I didn’t find it consistent with characters or circumstances like Shakespeare’s writing style so it was really confusing to me.
I couldn’t understand the patterns of behavior of the other characters though. Montag and the girl at the beginning- was it supposed to be a romantic relationship or symbolize something else? And his relationship with his wife was wishy-washy. They were emotionally detached and I couldn’t understand how the rift developed between them. It was coupled with a lack of sympathy for each other and I wasn’t convinced that either character had it in the first place so I didn’t really know how to feel.
At any rate, it’s scary to imagine a life without books, the results would be societal and personal devastation and this book does a good job illustrating that.