For a book written nearly 60 years ago, some of its concepts are eerily familiar; Seashell buds worn to listen to music are now the common iPod and the wall length televisions are now huge flat screen televisions. Bradbury certainly sent out warnings regarding censorship, nuclear weapons, social isolation, etc., but unfortunately, no one listened.
It is well into the future following two nuclear wars and firemen now ignite, rather than extinguish fires. The primary culprit being books and the temperature at which their pages burn is 451 degrees fahrenheit. No one seems to recall when things were otherwise as they numb themselves with excessive television viewing, sleeping pills and very little conversation. This is not a world I’d ever want to live in.
The main character, Guy Montag, a futuristic fireman, begins to question his life and those around him after encountering a teenage girl on his way home from work. The girl’s positive, yet non-conforming outlook on life affects Guy so strongly that it alters the life he’s never before questioned. I always root for the man who marches to his own drummer and Guy was certainly no exception.
Wife to the rebel fireman, Mildred Montag spends her time watching television or listening to her seashell and avoids conversation at all costs. Her refusal to discuss her own failed suicide attempt with her husband shows evidence of her true emotional health yet she continues as if everything is peachy keen. One very troubled woman.
Fire Captain Beatty is an enigmatic man, reciting poetry and other great written works while disparaging anyone even considering having a book in their home. While never quite fully understood, Guy seems to believe his captain wants to die rather than remain a part of the world they now know.
Professor Faber assists Guy after books are found at the Montag home and apologizes for not intervening years before when books were first being burned. An admitted coward, he gains some courage and ultimately saves Guy’s life by sending him out to the country where other rebels are living.
Where would I begin with such a prolific writer? I’d love to ask Mr. Bradbury how he stayed so diligent in his writing for so many years. Perhaps we could discuss his practices (quietly) at a public library as we both admire them. Perhaps he’d even perform some magic tricks.
My rating for Fahrenheit 451 is an 8 out of 10.
Please share your own reviews or comments by using the link below.