Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 ofrece la historia de un sombrío y horroroso futuro. Montag, el protagonista, pertenece a una extraña brigada de bomberos cuya misión, paradójicamente, no es la de sofocar incendios sino la de provocarlos, para quemar libros. Porque en el país de Montag está terminantemente prohibido leer. Porque leer obliga a pensar, y en el país de Montag esta prohibido pe...

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Title:Fahrenheit 451
Author:Ray Bradbury
Rating:
Edition Language:Spanish

Fahrenheit 451 Reviews

  • She-Who-Reads

    Somehow, I have gotten through life as an English major, book geek,

    a science-fiction nerd without ever having read this book. I vaguely remember picking it up in high-school and not getting very far with it. It was an interesting premise, but far too depressing for my tastes at the time.

    Fast-forward 15 years later. I just bought a copy the other day to register at BookCrossing for their Banned Books Month release challenge. The ALA celebrates Banned Books Week in September, so one BXer chal

    Somehow, I have gotten through life as an English major, book geek,

    a science-fiction nerd without ever having read this book. I vaguely remember picking it up in high-school and not getting very far with it. It was an interesting premise, but far too depressing for my tastes at the time.

    Fast-forward 15 years later. I just bought a copy the other day to register at BookCrossing for their Banned Books Month release challenge. The ALA celebrates Banned Books Week in September, so one BXer challenged us to wild release books that had at one point or another been banned in this country during the entire month.

    fits the bill -- an irony that is not lost on anyone, I trust. (Everyone knows

    is about the evils of censorship and banning books, right? The title refers to the temperature at which paper burns.)

    I didn't intend to start reading it. I really didn't. Somehow it seduced me into it. I glanced at the first page and before I knew it, it was 1:00 in the morning and I was halfway through with the thing. It's really good! No wonder it's a modern classic. Montag's inner emotional and moral journey from a character who burns books gleefully and with a smile on his face to someone who is willing to risk his career, his marriage, his house, and eventually his life for the sake of books is extremely compelling. That this man, product of a culture that devalues reading and values easy, thoughtless entertainments designed to deaden the mind and prevent serious thought, could come to find literature so essential that he would kill for it...! Something about that really spoke to me.

    It raises the question: why? What is it about books, about poetry, about literature that is so essential to us? There is no doubt in my mind that it

    essential, if not for all individuals (although I find it hard to imagine life without books, I know there are some people who don't read for pleasure, bizarre as that seems to me), then for society. Why should that be? Books don't contain any hard-and-fast answers to all of life's questions. They might contain great philosophical Truths, but only subjectively so -- there will always be someone who will argue and disagree with whatever someone else says. In fact, as Captain Beatty, the evil fire chief, points out, no two books agree with each other. What one says, another contradicts. So what, then, is their allure? What is it that made Mildred's silly friend start to weep when Montag read the poem "Dover Beach" aloud to her? Where does the power of literature come from?

    I think the reason that books are so important to our lives and to the health of our society -- of any society -- is not because they give us answers, but because they make us ask the questions. Books -- good books, the books that stay with you for years after you read them, the books that change your view of the world or your way of thinking -- aren't easy. They aren't facile. They aren't about surface; they're about depth. They are, quite literally, thought-provoking. They require complexity of thought. They require effort on the part of the reader. You get out of a book what you put into the reading of it, and therefore books satisfy in a way that other types of entertainment do not.

    And they aren't mass-produced. They are individual, unique, gloriously singular. They are each an island, much-needed refuges from an increasingly homogeneous culture.

    I'm glad I read

    , even if the ending was rather bleak. It challenged me and made me think, stimulated me intellectually. We could all do with a bit of intellectual stimulation now and then; it makes life much more fulfilling.

  • Cecily

    Library as cathedral, as all libraries should be - John Rylands Library, Manchester.

    This is a book about the power of books that is itself steeped with references, both explicit and indirect, to the great works that permeate our culture so thoroughly that we do not always notice them - until they’re gone. Bradbury shows us the horror of a hedonistic but unhappy world where books and ideas are banned in the futile pursuit of the illusion of hap

    Library as cathedral, as all libraries should be - John Rylands Library, Manchester.

    This is a book about the power of books that is itself steeped with references, both explicit and indirect, to the great works that permeate our culture so thoroughly that we do not always notice them - until they’re gone. Bradbury shows us the horror of a hedonistic but unhappy world where books and ideas are banned in the futile pursuit of the illusion of happiness. As with

    (see my review

    ), there is a constant tension between the deliciously poetic language and the horrors of the setting.

    The intended message of this 62-year-old novel is different: a prescient warning about the addictive power of continuous, passive imbibing from the virtual worlds and interactive screens that are our constant companions. I guess Bradbury was so infused in bookish culture himself that he didn’t realise how loudly the literary message shouts from every page, almost drowning out everything else: read me, love me, touch me, treasure me.

    See this excellent article (thanks, Apatt!) for Bradbury's views on the persistent misinterpretation of his book:

    .

    Nevertheless, the balance of themes is shifting: smartphones and the Internet of Things mean we’re catching up with Bradbury’s vision. Certainly, I was more aware of his technological warning than on previous readings - but it’s still the insatiable thirst for what is

    and from books (ideas, discussion, and knowledge) that stokes my passion for this novel:

    As Henry Cowles

    recently, “Screens are not just a part of life today: they

    our lives.”

    The weak characterisation, cruelly caricatured Mildred, and the rationale and details of the totalitarian state’s oppression, censorship (sadly apt after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris in January 2015), and warmongering are secondary - just the canvas on which Bradbury delicately paints his nightmare, by moonlight, to the pitter-patter of raindrops and the whisper of falling leaves.

    The plot is well-known: It is set in the near future, where all books are banned because they are elitist and hence cause unhappiness and division. Instead, the population is fed continuous inane soap operas to lull their minds into soporific approximation of non-unhappiness. TV really does rot their brains, or at least sap their ability to think for themselves. Firemen no longer put out fires, but instead burn houses where books are found.

    Montag is a fireman, so part of the regime. But he is tempted by the unknown promise of what he destroys, takes greater and greater risks, and ends up a fugitive, living rough with other rebels, each of whom has memorised a book so that when things change, they can be rewritten. (Ironically, these people also destroy books - just the physical ones, after they have memorised them.)

    There are three parts:

    1. “It Was a Pleasure to Burn” shows the restrictions of Montag’s world, and his growing, but unfocused, dissatisfaction with it, contrasted with beautiful imagery of the natural world, especially moonlight and trees - and fire.

    2. “The Sieve and the Sand” is about confrontation: with self and others - with truth.

    3. Finally, in “Burning Bright”, revelation leads to liberation, danger, and the possibility of freedom. But at what cost?

    I had forgotten (or maybe never noticed!) how wonderful the language is. This review is even more focused on quotes than usual, so I never forget.

    • "The trees overhead made a great sound of letting down their

    .”

    • “They walked in the

    blowing night on the silvered pavement.”

    • “He felt his body divide itself into a

    , a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a not trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other.”

    • “He was moving from an unreality that was frightening into a

    because it was new.”

    • “The Mechanical Hound

    , lived but did not live.”

    This thing, this high-tech version of the most atavistic, omnipotent monsters that plague our dreams from infancy, is where Bradbury’s hybrid of beauty and horror reaches its peak:

    • “The moonlight… touched here and there on the brass and the copper and the steel of the faintly trembling beast. Light flickered on bits of ruby glass and on sensitive capillary hairs in the nylon-brushed nostrils of the creature that quivered gently, gently, gently, its eight legs spidered under it on rubber-padded paws.”

    • “Out of the helicopter glided something that was not machine, not animal, not dead, not alive, glowing with a pale green luminosity.”

    • “He could feel the Hound, like autumn, come cold and dry and swift, like a wind that didn't stir grass… The Hound did not touch the world. It carried its silence with it.”

    • “Laughter blew across the moon-colored lawn.”

    • “The moonlight distilled in each eye to form a silver cataract.”

    • “They read the long afternoon through while the cold November rain fell from the sky in the quiet house. They sat in the hall because the parlour was so empty and gray-looking without its walls lite with orange and yellow confetti.”

    • “You could feel the war getting ready in the sky that night. The way the clouds moved aside and came back, and the way the stars looked, a million of them swimming between the clouds… and the feeling that the sky might fall upon the city and turn it to chalk dust, and the moon go up in red fire.”

    • “The river was mild and leisurely, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapours for supper.”

    • “The more he breathed the land in, the more he was filled up with all the details of the land. He was not empty.”

    • “The flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch.”

    • “They fell like slaughtered birds and the woman stood below, like a small girl, among the bodies.”

    • “The books lay like great mounds of fishes left to dry.”

    • “Their covers torn off and spilled out like swan-feathers.”

    • “The books leapt and danced like roasted birds, their wings ablaze with red and yellow feathers.”

    • “Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly.”

    • “The floor littered with swarms of black moths that had died in a single storm.”

    If BuzzFeed is to believed (a medium-sized "if", imo), its original title was not "Fahrenheit 451", but "The Fireman". He and his publishers thought it a boring title, so they called a local fire station and asked what temperature paper burned at. The firemen put Bradbury on hold while they burned a book, then reported back the temperature, and the rest is history.

    • The opening sentence: “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and

    . with this brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.”

    • “The books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.”

    • “Those who do not build must burn.” (Do they ignite the fire, or are they consumed by it?)

    • “It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.”

    • “A bloom of fire, a single wondrous blossom that curled in petals of yellow and blue and orange.”

    • A bonfire, “was not burning; it was

    ... He hadn’t known fire could look this way. He had never thought… it could give as well as take.”

    The descriptions of fire are also the best feature of Bradbury's short story

    which I reviewed

    .

    Many of the reasons given could just as easily apply to TV shows; Faber says as much to Montag, “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books” and that those same things could be in the TV shows, but aren’t. Instead, the TV shows are specially designed to numb minds to all except vague pleasure.

    • “Books aren’t people… my family [soap stars] is people”.

    • “None of these books agree with each other… The people in those books never lived.”

    • “It didn’t come from the government down… Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick… Today… you can stay happy all the time” because only comics, confessions and trade journals are permitted.

    • “The firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord.”

    • “We must all be alike. Not everyone was born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone

    equal… Then all are happy”, protected from the “rightful dread of being inferior”.

    • “Our civilization is so vast that we can’t have our minorities upset and stirred”, so everything that might upset anyone is destroyed.

    • Filled with facts, people “feel they’re thinking… they’ll be happy because facts of that sort don’t change.”

    • “All the silly things the words mean, all the false promises, and all the second hand notions and time-worn philosophies.”

    There is bitter irony in a “living room” where the only “living” is that of fictitious people, passively observed on the huge screens on the walls.

    • Entering the bedroom “was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon had set.”

    • “Her eyes fixed to the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable. And in her ears the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and an electronic ocean of sound… coming in on the shore of her unsleeping mind. The room was indeed empty.”

    • “People don’t talk about anything… They name a lot of cars or clothes or swimming-pools and say how swell.”

    • Brainwashing: “It’s always someone else’s husband dies.” and “Nothing will ever happen to me.”

    • Clarice’s face had “a kind of gentle hunger that touched over everything with tireless curiosity”.

    • “He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out. Darkness.”

    • A stomach pump: “looking for all the old water and old time gathered there… Did it drink of the darkness?... The impersonal operation… could gaze into the soul of the person whom he was pumping out.”

    • “The world had melted down and sprung up in a new and colorless formation.”

    • “He slapped her face with amazing objectivity.” (It is not being condoned.)

    • “She made the empty rooms roar with accusation and shake down a fine dust of guilt that was sucked into their nostrils and they plunged about.” That’s why owners shouldn’t be present.

    • “Time has fallen asleep in the afternoon sunshine.” A line from a poem by Alexander Smith that Montag glimpses, “but it blazed in his mind for the next minutes as if stamped there with fiery steel.”

    • “His hand had been infected [by picking up a book], and soon it would be his arms. He could feel the poison working up… His hands were ravenous. And his eyes were beginning to feel hunger, as if they must look at something, anything, everything.”

    • “I don’t talk

    … I talk the

    of things.”

    • “If you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve.”

    • “The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.”

    • “They were like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes, he saw their Cheshire Cat smiles burning through the walls.”

    • "There was a crash like falling parts of a dream fashioned out of warped glass, mirrors, and crystal prisms."

    • “We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” From Boswell’s The Life of Samuel Johnson.

    • A buzzing helicopter “like butterflies puzzled by autumn”.

    • A ten-lane highway: “A boatless river frozen there in the raw light of the high white arc-lamps; you could drown trying to cross it.”

    • “His nose was suddenly good enough to sense the path he had made in the air of the room.”

    I choose to inhale and absorb the atmosphere of the book, without stopping every few sentences to investigate each possible reference and quote, but those who enjoy literary detective work will find plenty of material here.

    The other mystery is Captain Beatty: he is remarkably well-versed in the classics of literature, philosophy and history. “I was using the very books you clung to, to rebut you… What traitors books can be.” But is that explanation enough?

    The obvious question is, if you were going to become a book and memorise it for posterity, what would you choose? Would it be cheating to pick "Fahrenheit 451"? Should it be for personal comfort or something that will be useful in rebuilding society?

    The hardest questions is, would you give up everything for literature?

    “All we can do is keep the knowledge… We’re no more than dust jackets for books, of no significance otherwise… You’re not important. You’re not anything. Some day the load we’re carrying with us may help someone.” When people ask what we do, “We’re remembering”.

    I love the fact that this book is a paean to the power of the written word: that people will live and die for it, and will wither without the transformative power of fictional worlds and the insights of others. The lure and love of literature is irrepressible.

    ."

    Related to this - and to 1984 - Derek (Guilty of thoughtcrime) wrote in a group discussion:

    "There's a distinct echo in both books of the Garden of Eden story, with Eve tempting Adam to eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. And in each case, it's a denial of the dogma that this is the original sin."

    Truffaut's 1966 version is visually stunning and broadly faithful to the book. See details on imdb

    .

    See Megan Dunn’s brilliant first book,

    , which I reviewed

    . She intended to rewrite 451 from the point of view of the female characters, but ended up equally fascinated by Truffaut's adaptation - the very process of adapting the book. The result is a fascinating, personal, and funny exploration of her attempts to adapt someone else’s work. It also includes many fascinating and sometimes surprising details about the film, such as Truffaut hand-picking the books that were burned in the opening scene.

    Adapting a book for screen can excuse or require changes. But the 2018 one was a travesty that exacerbates the common misunderstanding of Bradbury's intended message AND adds a ludicrous new plot in its place. There is nothing at all about the addictive and mind-numbing allure of superficial soap operas (Montag doesn't even have a wife), but there is a weird sciency thing about books being encoded in the DNA of a bird, so they'll live for ever! It wasn't even well acted or written (I presume it didn't improve in the second half). See details on imdb

    .

  • Brian

    I am in 6th grade. My Language Arts teacher assigns us a book report; tells us we can choose the book but that our grade will be based on the maturity of the novel the report is based upon.

    My mother and I are in K-mart. I've mentioned to her about this book report to be done, and so before we leave with a basket filled with clothes I know I will be embarrassed to wear, we stop by the rack of books. She selects a few pulp paperback titles, throws them into the cart.

    A few days later she hands me

    I am in 6th grade. My Language Arts teacher assigns us a book report; tells us we can choose the book but that our grade will be based on the maturity of the novel the report is based upon.

    My mother and I are in K-mart. I've mentioned to her about this book report to be done, and so before we leave with a basket filled with clothes I know I will be embarrassed to wear, we stop by the rack of books. She selects a few pulp paperback titles, throws them into the cart.

    A few days later she hands me

    . "I've read those books I purchased," she says. "I think this is the best of the bunch. You should like it."

    I am skeptical. When does a 12 year-old boy like anything that his mother does? I admit to myself that the cover looks really awesome - a black suited, menacing man shooting flames over something that looks like books. I give it a go.

    Tearing through the pages, the chapters, the three sections, I finish it over a weekend and am in awe. A fireman that starts fires? Books are outlawed? I look at the small library that I've had since childhood; a shelf of about 30 books. They now look to my 12 year old eyes as books of a child.

    is the book that launched me from childhood, my first book dealing with the adult world.

    I ask my mother to box up my old books and put them in the attic. I am proud to start a new library with this novel as my first edition. I carefully, lovingly, sign my name on the inside cover. Let the firemen come, I think, I am proud to be a book-reader.

    I continue to read this book again and again through the years. I enroll in a college course at Penn State my freshman year, simply because this book is on the course materials. I memorized the entire poem

    because it is the selection Bradbury chose to have Montag read aloud to his wife and her friends. As the years roll by, and I age through my 20s and 30s, I noticed that fewer and fewer of the people I know read any books. Even my avid reading friends from childhood moved on to their careers, their marriages, their children. In the late 1990s a friend invited me to his house to show off a proud new purchase - a television screen the size of one of his walls. I mention how frightening this was, that he was basically mainlining Bradbury's foreshadowing. He handed me a beer and fired up

    ; told me to relax. I watched the movie and felt like a traitor.

    The last time I read F451 was about 10 years ago - I think I was afraid that if I were to pick it up again that it would diminish in its importance to me - much like

    and

    . But on this first day in May I have a day-trip to Socal for business and I bring this book with me. And I love it, all over again, as if reading it for the first time. Until

    came along, this was my favorite book. I remember why.

    I joined Goodreads in 2009 with low expectations. I am not a social media person. I've given up twice on Facebook; the last time for good. But there was something I found here that reminded me of Montag's joining the campfire of fellow readers. We may all be from different walks of life from places all around the world, but we come here often and with excitement - because we love books. They are some of the most important things to us and our lives would be ruined without them.

    So to you, my fellow Goodreaders, tonight I raise a glass to each of you, and I want to say thank you thank you thank you for making my life better, for exposing me to authors I would have never known, and for reminding me that although I'll never get to all of the books I want to read in this life, I can stand on the shoulders of you giants and witness more of the wonders of the written word.

  • Justin

    You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to know...

    This is one of the best books ever written. This is one of my favorite books of all time. ALL TIME. This is the third time I've read it. I audiobooked it this time.

    Every line of Fahrenheit 451 is beautifully written. Poetic. Metaphoric. Transcendent. Awesome. The beginning, middle, and ending... all amazing.

    If you consider yourself a fan of science fiction or dystopian novels o

    You can check out thousands of better reviews here and across the internet, but here is all you really need to know...

    This is one of the best books ever written. This is one of my favorite books of all time. ALL TIME. This is the third time I've read it. I audiobooked it this time.

    Every line of Fahrenheit 451 is beautifully written. Poetic. Metaphoric. Transcendent. Awesome. The beginning, middle, and ending... all amazing.

    If you consider yourself a fan of science fiction or dystopian novels or classic literature or banned books or books high-schoolers read or thought-provoking books, and you have not read this book... wow... just stop whatever you are doing right now, which is reading this review, I guess...

    Stop reading this review. Put down your laptop, your phone, your iPad, your mouse and keyboard, your floppy disk drive, your PlayStation 4, your Smart TV remote, whatever. Just stop. Grab your car keys, hop on a bus, walk... run to your nearest bookstore. Dash frantically through the aisles, locate the fiction section, maybe science fiction. Maybe just ask someone who works there. Find a copy of this book. It's written by Ray Bradbury, but my God, if you don't know that by now...

    Demand a copy of this book from the bookstore, happily open up your purse or wallet and pay whatever price they make you pay for a copy of this book. Don't ask any questions. Don't have them put it in a bag for you. Don't get a copy of your receipt. Just hand over the money and get the hell out of there. Dump all of your spare change you've collected onto the counter. Tap into your 401k if you need to.

    Rush home and instantly sit down in your easy chair or whatever it is you like to sit, lay, or stand on while reading. The bathtub perhaps. A recliner. A porch swing. It really doesn't matter. Pour a glass of wine or grab a beer. Pour a glass of wine AND grab a beer. Take two shots of whiskey then pour a glass of wine and grab THREE beers.

    Then, in one sitting just plow the hell right through this book. Just breathe it all in like the cool, salty ocean air. Let it sink down deep into the depths of who you are as a person living as a human being in the world right here on Earth. Let it just smack you right in the mouth with how awesome it is. Let it punch you right in the jaw with how mind-blowing it is. Let it leave you lying on the floor with your mouth wide open trying to figure out what in God's name just happened to you. Let it elevate itself high above pretty much every other book you've ever read, maybe all the way to the top of that damned prestigious mountain, and let it hoist its flag into the soil of your mind and proclaim to every other book ever written that it is king of literature. Other books can bow down and bring burnt offerings to it. It shall reign forevermore.

    Don't wait to get it from the library. Don't even think about ordering it on Amazon, and I don't even give a damn if you have Prime and woohoo look at me I can get it shipped in two days. One day shipping if I pay a few bucks! No. Run. Get a physical copy of the book. Don't settle for reading text on your Kindle or whatever it is you digitize books into. Get up now. I don't care if it's late and the bookstore is closed. Go wait outside like it's Black Freaking Friday. I don't care if you're the only one out there all night. Are you a reader or not? Do you care about books? How have you not read this yet? What's the matter with you? Why are you still reading this? Why haven't you left yet? God...

    I love Fahrenheit 451. And I love you enough to demand that you read it. Reread it. Yes! This is wonderful! This is going to be one of the best days of your life. Maybe the best day of your life! Are you ready? Can you handle it?

    Have fun.

  • Huda Yahya
  • Fabian

    "We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain & black loam." [111]

    What outstanding prose--prophetic, which is by far the most rare and inspiring of attributes a work of literature can ever possess. And Ray "I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk The Meaning Of Things" Bradbury is here at his absolute best. I cannot decide whether this or "Martian Chronicles" is my favorite... they are definitely my favorite of his, the best possible in scifi a

    "We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain & black loam." [111]

    What outstanding prose--prophetic, which is by far the most rare and inspiring of attributes a work of literature can ever possess. And Ray "I Don't Talk Things, Sir. I Talk The Meaning Of Things" Bradbury is here at his absolute best. I cannot decide whether this or "Martian Chronicles" is my favorite... they are definitely my favorite of his, the best possible in scifi adventure.

    This is "The Giver" for adults. Here, another example of overpraised books that shockingly do live up to the hype. It's a resplendent petition for life, beauty, & literature; an AMEN for The Book's very core of existence... THE BOOK that actually worships other BOOKS (like The Bible does with God). Personal events and not the battlefields of Tolkien-sized scope (I mean small occurrences such as breakdowns, unpleasant jobs, below-par relationships...) tightens the razor-sharp string of terror; a severe lack of details is a tenacious and masterful way to portray this post-apocalyptic nightmare in the most disconcerting way. (If you are a lover of books, this seems like some Dantean form of poetic retribution!)

    "451" is an example of when planets aligned just right and gave the writer a light for him to share. This, a writer's "capacity for collecting metaphors" is absolutely enthralling. I am amazed!

    A PLUS: read the edition with the 3 introductions by the inspiring Bradbury (there are 451 printings or so of this novel after all) & save a couple bucks in a creative writing class. His writing tips are genuinely far-out!

  • J.G. Keely

    Farenheit 451 has been analyzed and reinterpreted by every successive generation to change its meaning. This is chiefly because the book is full of assumptions and vague symbolism which can be taken many ways, and rarely does anyone come away from the book with the conclusion the author intended, which would suggest that it is a failed attempt.

    There are grounds to contend that even the title is inaccurate, since contemporary sources suggest paper

    , which in Farenhe

    Farenheit 451 has been analyzed and reinterpreted by every successive generation to change its meaning. This is chiefly because the book is full of assumptions and vague symbolism which can be taken many ways, and rarely does anyone come away from the book with the conclusion the author intended, which would suggest that it is a failed attempt.

    There are grounds to contend that even the title is inaccurate, since contemporary sources suggest paper

    , which in Farenheit would be more than 800 degrees. The truth is, paper combustion is gradual and dependent on many factors; even if some paper might combust at 451F, his title is at best an oversimplification, but Bradbury was more interested in a punchy message than in constructing a thoughtful and well-supported argument.

    It's not a book about book censorship, but a book about how TV will rot your brain. Bradbury himself has stated this again and again, as evidenced in

    which quotes Bradbury and in

    from Bradbury's own website--indeed, in an interview, he stated he was inspired to write it because he was horrified

    while walking her dog. Not only does he patronizingly assume that she's listening to a soap opera, instead of news, or appreciating classical music, but it's a strangely anti-technology pose for a sci fi writer to take--does it really matter whether we get our art and knowledge from compressed tree pulp, or from radio transmissions?

    This book falls somewhat short of its satirical mark based on this cranky lawn-loving neighbor's message. Then again, it was written in the course of a few days in one long, uninterrupted slurry (mercifully edited by his publishers, but now available utterly restored). It contains archetypes, misconceptions, and an author surrogate, but can still be seen as a slighting view of authority and power, and of the way people are always willing to deceive themselves.

    Unfortunately, Bradbury did not seem to recognize that reading has always been the province of a minority and that television would do little to kill it. More books are written, published, and read today than at any other point in history. Most of them are just redundant filler, but so is 90% of any mass creative output, books, art, movies, or TV, as Sturgeon

    . And there's nothing new about that, either: cheap, trashy novels have been a joke since the Victorian.

    Television is a different medium than books, and has its own strengths and weaknesses. Bradbury's critique of TV--that it will get larger, more pervasive, and become an escape for small minds--is just as true of books. As for television damaging social interaction, who is less culturally aware: the slack-jawed boy watching television or the slack-jawed boy reading one uninspired relic of genre fiction after another? I read a lot of books as a kid and watched a lot of TV, and each medium provided something different. Neither one displaced the other, since reading and watching aren't the same experience.

    There is an egalitarian obsession that people are all capable of being informed and intelligent. We now send everyone to college, despite the fact that for many people, college is not a viable or useful route. The same elitism that values degrees values being 'well-read', and since this is the elitism of the current power structure, it is idealized by the less fortunate subcultures. Bradbury became informed not because he read, but by what he read. He could have read a schlocky pop novel every day for life and still been as dull as the vidscreen zombies he condemns.

    He has mistaken the medium for the message, and his is a doubly mixed message, coming from a man who had

    .

  • Emily May

    As I write this review, the year is 2012. We do not live in a perfect world; in fact, in many ways we don't even live in a good world. But one thing I believe with all my heart is that we live in a world which, on the whole, is better than it was fifty years ago. Now, I know I'm writing with limited perspective and that progression and development hasn't been the same all over the globe and even the definition of those words can change depending on what part of the world you live in. But here's

    As I write this review, the year is 2012. We do not live in a perfect world; in fact, in many ways we don't even live in a good world. But one thing I believe with all my heart is that we live in a world which, on the whole, is better than it was fifty years ago. Now, I know I'm writing with limited perspective and that progression and development hasn't been the same all over the globe and even the definition of those words can change depending on what part of the world you live in. But here's what I do know: the average world life expectancy is higher, the infant mortality rate is lower, access to education is greater and the amount of countries that hold regular, fair elections has increased.

    On average, people today are smarter than they were fifty years ago. And I know this is where older generations throw up their hands in indignation and start yelling about how exams were much harder in "their day" and they really had to work for it. I am not disputing this, I have no idea if it's true or not. But what is true is that more people today than ever before are going on to further education after high school, the barriers that once stopped the working class from being as smart as society's more privileged members are slowly starting to break down bit by bit. Literacy rates have been on the rise the whole world over:

    It's true. We have entered the age of computers and electronics, social networking and personal media players... and the world has not ended, the robots haven't taken over and people haven't become so stupid that they feel the need to rage a war against books. And this is the main reason why I think Bradbury's dystopian tale is out of date and ineffective. The author was writing at a time when technology was really starting to get funky, the digital age was still decades away but people were doing all kinds of crazy things like listening to music with little cones plugged into their ears. Bizarre.

    Readers often choose to view Bradbury's story as one about censorship instead of technology because that allows a more modern reader to connect with the world portrayed. But taken as it was intended, I just don't share the author's sentiments. Not all technology is good, but I'm of the opinion that the good outweighs the bad: medical advancements, entertainment, access to information via the internet... I'm the very opposite of a technophobe because, in my opinion, forward is the way to go. And I'm sure it's because of the age I was born into, but I cannot relate to the apprehension that Bradbury feels when he tells of this true story (note: this is not in the book):

    I know many still think today that we are becoming a completely unsociable species because of mobile/cell phones, social networking sites, etc. but I have made friends from all over the world thanks to technology. I have talked to people that fifty years ago I would never have known, I have learned about different cultures and ways of life because I have access to most areas of the world through the web. So, no, I'm not scared of this so-called technological threat that is somehow going to turn our brains to mush and create a society where we cannot concentrate long enough to read a book. And here is where I (finally) get on to details of this novel.

    What I am supposed to believe in here is that - because of technology - humanity has become so stupid that they couldn't concentrate on books. So books were simplified at first for easier understanding, then banned, then burnt. Why? I am okay with the realistic aspect of "people have short attention spans because of technology so they don't want to read books", but why burn books? I don't see why this would need to happen and why it would become a criminal offense to have books in your home. This is where I understand why so many people prefer to apply this novel's message to censorship, because it works so much better that way. The argument for the technological side of it is weak - even for the time in question.

    The best thing about this whole book is the discussion about the phoenix and the comparisons made between the legendary bird and humanity: in the same way that the bird dies in flames only to be reborn again from the ashes, humanity constantly repeats mistakes made throughout history and never seems to learn from them. Secondly, to give credit where it's due, the writing is suitably creepy for a dystopian society and I understand why people who do actually share Bradbury's concerns would be caught up in the novel's atmosphere. But, overall, this wasn't a great dystopian work for me, I didn't agree with the point it was trying to sell me and I don't think it made a very successful case for it. Furthermore, I had some problems with the pacing. The book is split into three parts and the first two are much slower and uneventful than the last one - which seems to explode with a fast sequence of events in a short amount of time and pages. Disappointing.

  • Tyler

    Few appreciate irony as much as I do, so understand that I understand this review. The message of this book is decent: knowledge should not be censored. However, the rest of the book is utter shit. I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot. It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone! In other words, an English teacher's dream. In addition, the story was about the

    Few appreciate irony as much as I do, so understand that I understand this review. The message of this book is decent: knowledge should not be censored. However, the rest of the book is utter shit. I found myself actually screaming at several points as Bradbury spent minutes and dozens of metaphors and allusions referring to one insignificant detail of the plot. It is too damn flowery to be understandable by anyone! In other words, an English teacher's dream. In addition, the story was about the message not the story in and of itself. Those of you who know me understand that this is that I detest most about classics, tied with how everyone reveres them without reading them.

    The Coda and Afterword just add to the confuse making me confused on whether Bradbury is a very hateful man or just a hypocrite. The main plot of the novel itself is that the majority rule canceled out intellectualism while in the Coda (maybe Afterword, I don't remember which was which) Bradbury blasts minorities (all, including racial, religious, etc.) for creating an overly sensitive society. Oddly enough, his heroes are the minority. Ha. Furthermore, the Coda is a hefty "Fuck you" to anyone that wants to critique his work in any way not positive. Therefore, I feel obliged to respond in turn: "Fuck you, Ray Bradbury. Your writing style is shit and I won't force it on my worst enemy." Harsh, I know, but true. If you do need to read this book, I suggest a Cliff Notes version as long as you can appreciate that irony.

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