7 Jun 2015

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Goodreads Synopsis
The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.
This is one of my #TBRTakedown reads as hosted by Shannon.

I am very late to the game in reading this one. While most people read it in high school, this was not a required reading for me. (I did however become very intimate with The Bell Jar by Slyvia Plath in high school so not too much of a disappointment.)

I did enjoy this though I did think it was quite short. I was a bit disappointed with the book, mainly the flow, until I reached the end. It left me wondering "why" a lot. Why is this happening, why can this be happening, etc. because there wasn't much of an explanation. There was only the idea that we were supposed to know that literature was banned because it caused people to debate and be "unhappy". But it was never explained why some people had access to the knowledge, like Beatty the captain of the fire department, while others did not. I mean, I would understand if the government officials had access to it, but why the captain? And if the answer is because after reading, he would be determined to burn all the books, then why not have all the firefighters read? Especially since you could be subjective in what you got people to read. If you only gave them books that were poorly written (and a few come to mind here), they might be tempted to burn them all.

The best part to me was the comparison of the phoenix to humanity. The idea that humanity dies in flames only to be reborn from the remaining ashes to repeat their same mistakes is something that is now burned into my brain. (See what I did there) And afterward, I spent a lot of time thinking about how this is true -- and how a lot of dystopian novels look at this aspect now. 

While this wasn't the best written novel, it was still one that I think people should read and understand.

Overall: 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed this one, even though it wasn't my usual dystopian type of novel that I read.

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