Fahrenheit 451 was another classic on my To Read list. I think I read this one in high school, but I can't say for sure since it would've been at least nine years ago. I do remember reading and thoroughly enjoying his short story collection, The October Country, in college.
Some minor spoilers are below.
Ray Bradbury’s classic dystopian novel, Fahrenheit 451, is set in a future where books are burned and people have stopped thinking for themselves. The fireman Guy Montag questions his place in the world, even as he follows the rules and burns books. When he meets a strange young girl and realizes his marriage is lost, he turns to the written word to understand his life.
With its warnings against censorship and technology, Fahrenheit 451 has been heralded as a novel that will stand the test of time.
It’s oddly fun to picture a future where the world as we know it has ceased to exist. Just look at Hollywood and the million movies with barren cityscapes and zombies. This novel has mechanical hounds and giant TVs instead, but the dystopian factor of Fahrenheit 451 still emphasizes the message against technology. Most people focus on the censorship part when analyzing this book, I believe, because we’ve realized in recent decades that technology isn’t inherently evil.
That being said, the parts where Montag’s wife stares at her giant screens and can barely focus on anything else is a little scary. I plan to never become that person. Sleep, eat, tv, repeat. Some people may be content with that life, but how can you grow like that? How do you develop your mind and work on your passions? Books are my biggest passion. I couldn’t read if I spent every minute of the day staring at a screen as Mrs. Montag did. For that reason, Fahrenheit 451 serves as a great reminder to turn the tv off and pick up a book! Look outside!
As far as censorship goes, I think the majority of the world agrees that it’s a bad thing. Censorship occurs in many forms, not just books, but in this novel books were the focus. This is partially because of when Bradbury wrote it, but also, I think, because of just how powerful the written word is. It's the reason society exists as we know it and I appreciated Bradbury's emphasis on that.
I enjoyed the characters in the story, but I was a little disappointed with how it ended. Not because it was bad - I liked the mechanical hound chase. But I would've been interested in what happens after the escape; Montag's trials were only getting started.
Fahrenheit 451 is a quick, easy read but it’s not quite my favorite classic of all time so I rate it 4 out of 5. You really can't go wrong picking this one up!