Monday, August 1, 2011

"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

"The system was simple. Everyone understood it. Books were for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden.
Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires. And he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs or the joy of watching pages consumed by flames, never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid. Then Guy met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do..."-goodreads


Sure, largely thanks to The Hunger Games, dystopian novels are the craze right now. However, there were many novels that depicted dystopian/utopian societies long before Suzanne Collins put her (albeit brilliant) trilogy out into the world.  Classic literature such as "1984" by George Orwell, "A Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley, and this one, "Fahrenheit 451" were some of the original books with that sort of theme. I enjoy classic literature and I dig dystopias so I knew I should try these out.


Fahrenheit 451 was a great book. It was a little hard to get into at first, at the beginning of the book, you're kind of plunged into the story with no warning and you just have to get used to the odd developments and practices of the Bradbury's world as you go on. Once you start getting accustomed to his writing style and the unusual and grim future world, it's excellent. Guy Montag is an average (almost to the point of dull) seeming character but as it goes on he gets more complex, as he questions his job as a fireman and whether books are so bad (or are they even good, possibly important!?). His relationship with his wife is peculiar and unfortunate, as is their relationship with their 'family' aka, characters on a some kind of high-tech television screen that interacts in their everyday lives as though they're living in the house. Clarisse was an interesting character.. and then, you know, if you've read the book: the way her character disappeared from the story was... sudden. I wasn't a fan of that. It just didn't seem... right. I mean, obviously it didn't seem right, but it just seemed unfitting, so I guess I had a problem with that. Regardless, as the story develops, the plot twists in interesting and unexpecting ways, with an end I didn't particularly see coming. A lot of times there's more obvious-see-it-from-a-mile-away sort of foreshadowing in classic novels but that wasn't necessarily the case. 

Bottom line: An important book that should be on your reading list (and probably is on your required list if you're in school) that's more complex than it seems at first and well-worth the read.

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