“That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.“Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451
It’s eerie how accurate so much of this novel is to our modern world.
In the dystopian world of Fahrenheit 451, firemen are meant to burn books, one of the most illegal possessions one could have. Guy Montag is a fireman, and he thoroughly loves his job. He never questions the morality of his work and continues on in his repetitive and boring life, going to work everyday and returning home to his TV-addicted wife Mildred. However, Montag would never have been able to foresee the extent to which one encounter with an eccentric neighbor would change his entire life.
This book honestly… was a journey. I can’t summarize it better with any other word. This novel, Fahrenheit 451, is all about a journey. Containing not one dull moment, it follows our protagonist Guy Montag on his journey of awareness and realization. The more and more he learns of the very thing he makes a living out of destroying, the more the thought of his job repulses him. Desperate for social change, he seeks out like-minded souls who help him in devising a plan to bring literature back to the world.
The social problems presented in this novel are, as I mentioned, eerily similar to our present condition. They’re so close, that I would readily entertain the idea of Ray Bradbury being a time traveler.
Constantly needing stimulation, something to keep us preoccupied, we tend to get lost in our own little worlds. As this novel does such a beautiful job of illustrating, superficial activities and remedies can only keep us satiated for so long. True happiness becomes lost in our desperate attempts at running away from the very conflicts that shape who we are as individuals. This whole concept can be exemplified by one character, and in this case, it is Mildred, Montag’s wife. For that matter, any societal issue displayed in this novel can be exemplified by a given character, and that is what I find so amazing about Fahrenheit 451.
Although about the importance of literature and centering around societal issues, there is never a dull moment in this novel. I loved being able to be in Montag’s head and know not only his thoughts, but feel his emotions as well. The grief and desperation felt by this character sent chills down my spine at times, especially paired with the extreme and high-stress situations he was put in constantly. Getting used to imagining the Parlor Walls, Seashells, and such might have been the only thing that bothered me slightly at the start. However, by the time I was able to imagine everything, the story had jumped to life and I was swept up in the excitement of it all.
Containing an important message, I feel that this novel is definitely an important read. It’s also good to note that despite having an important message, this book never slowed down and was always engaging. I am extremely glad that I read this beautifully written book, and it’s definitely going on my “favorite books” bookshelf.