Welcome back to the What Are You Reading? Series! If you have no idea what’s going on feel free to take a look at the introductory post. If you just want to catch up, here is last month’s post! Don’t forget at the end of the post to let me know your own thoughts and interpretations of the book. [Please note that if you haven’t commented before I recommend reading the Commenting Guidelines.]
Disclaimer: This post does contain an affiliate link for the book recommended. This means if you click on the link and purchase the book, then I will receive a small commission without any cost to you.
And today’s book is……. *Drum roll*
Author: Ray Bradbury
Genre: Speculative/Dystopian Fiction
Originally Published: 1953
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Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a time where America is constantly at war (possibly a new World War) and the possession of books has become illegal. Firemen, once the saviors of many, have now perverted their title as they now begin the fires they once were meant to put out. One of the Firemen, Guy Montag, begins to gain a new perspective, though an illegal one, after he meets his neighbor. This young girl and her family’s “unusual” interactions, begin a change in Guy that set him on a path of rebellion. We find that he has been hoarding books for years, and is suspected of such by those around him.
My First Impression:
I can’t stop reading this!
My Full Analysis:
I can see why a lot of people firmly believe this is about censorship. The thing is that it isn’t really just that. When I was reading through this, I saw it more as how fear and power can really warp society. Think about it for a minute. During times of war in the US, often the perception with information changes. In this story, the perception towards literature has become radicalized to a point where written literature is illegal and more than likely literacy in general is frowned upon. But it’s strange how when it came to the Fire Chief, he knew a variety of literature quotes. In the end, he uses them as a way to mock Guy and attempts to warp them into a weapon. In the same manner Firemen are warped into being Bradbury’s version of the Thought Police from 1984 but particularly focused on literature itself.
On top of that society has become dulled, or more along the lines of sedated. People rely on the wall screens for entertainment, interaction, and relationships to the point where human connection is practically non-existent. Then the one person we meet who is open about the enjoyment of human interaction ‘vanishes’ (probably assassinated). Her disappearance urges Guy to seek more of it in others, but is shunned by his wife and suspicious to his co-workers.
On a side note, it may not be literature that is seen as radical or rebellious, but really the interpretations we take when reading. Unless it is straight forward information, the book gets burned. So we may see instruction manuals being available, but not something like Aristotle’s philosophic works.
What do you think? What were the themes you see pop up when you were reading through this? Let me know in the comments below!