Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

So does civilization.

Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.

Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

Comments

  1. #1 Brainstorms
    February 15, 2017

    “His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden.”

    I don’t recall this from the book, but in the 1966 Francois Truffaut based on the book, the job of the firemen was to merely burn the books — not the houses as well.

    In cases where the house is a virtual library, or is suspected of harboring additional books squirreled away in the walls or hidden coves, they would burn the structure, but that was not the norm.

    We might note that Mildred’s favorite TV shows were –yes, you guessed it– reality TV.

    The cinematography, sets/production design, etc., and the 1960’s styles add to the reasons to see this film.

    Trivia: This was Truffaut’s only English language film. And he and Oskar Werner (Montag) fought quite a bit during the filming, culminating with Werner cutting his hair in an attempt to sabotage the film (this is reflected in the last act at the Book People’s camp).

  2. #2 MikeN
    February 15, 2017

    Yet liberals keep complaining about Citizens United, all the way to the Presidential candidates. In arguing this case before the court, Obama’s Solicitor General took the position that the government had the power to ban books, as long as they were published by a corporation.

  3. #3 Brainstorms
    February 15, 2017

    Corporations are not people. Period.

  4. #4 MikeN
    February 15, 2017

    Should the government have the power to ban books that speak about a presidential candidate?

  5. #5 Wow
    February 16, 2017

    Yet libertarians don’t want to accept reality.

  6. #6 Peter Johnson
    Superior, Wisconsin
    April 2, 2017

    During the last four or five decades while the GOP kept organizing its efforts to take control of the political process by doing not much more than telling lies and preying on fears to win elections, ALEC, has come to represent the banning of books simply by attacking the value of truth and the value of factual knowledge by distorting facts, making them up, or crusading to establish “alternate truths.” It has also taken the role of 1984’s Big Brother, by simply hiding behind the 1st amendment and telling blatant lies—all in order to control our national dialogue about what is moral, Logical, and even about what reality is? Manipulative conservatives are dispensing gross obfuscations of climate science, public education, “freedom to work for less, ” anti-union dogma, and by keeping the upper classes in control of all the wealth and power that their little hearts could ever desire—all made possible by hiding behind the first amendment their the thin political veneer that conceals their true intentions. I wish that weren’t true, but it is!

    However, If we can’t count on an objective and uncensored, free press, then we cannot possibly know what is truly happening, how our freedoms are being affected, and/or who is pulling the puppet’s strings behind the curtain!

    When I read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” in the 1960s I considered it as witty science fiction portraying an exaggerated threat which could never really happen in America. Now I see that repression and political control, like that in the novel, has become shockingly real and immanently threatening. We are really getting too damn close to saying things like, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”

    I’m not normally one to panic, cry wolf, or to frequently react with a sour grapes attitude about things that I will most likely never have anyway. But the sad fact is that we should all become very concerned about what is happening in Science and religion, as well as in political obstruction, voter suppression, weakening of equal rights, and religious oppression. Fiction is unreal until the unreal becomes real (or at least) is portrayed as factual by those who try to gain the world and loose their souls. Unfortunately, the delusions of those in power, are being forced on all of us, and we are so complacent with our relative safety and prosperity, that most of us just don’t give a damn what happens while we’d rather tune into “keeping up With the Kardashians!”