Burning Books and Destroying Society, a book review on Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Monika Nguyen
Image result for fahrenheit 451
            In 1953, American writer Ray Bradbury published
Fahrenheit 451. This novel is set in a dystopian, futuristic society where all books are banned by Guy Montag, a fireman who feels torn by his job of violently burning books. We follow him as he embarks on an action packed journey to save his oblivious society by bringing back the sources of literature known as books.

Fahrenheit 451 is an interesting story that includes everything from emotion to action. My favourite part of the story is Mildred Montag’s (the protagonist’s wife) emotional connection to technology. In the novel, there is a futuristic piece of technology known as the Parlour Families. The Parlour Families are interactive videos of people, that are televised onto the walls of living rooms. Mildred refers to the people in these videos as her real family. It is evident that she is attached to them on an emotional level. This is the most fascinating part of the novel because it strongly reflects modern society’s deep indulgence in their phones, social media, and other pieces of modern technology. On the other hand, my least favourite part of the novel is how we are left in the dark in terms of Faber and his fate. In the second part of Fahrenheit 451, the Sieve and the Sand, we are introduced to Faber, who takes on the role of the wise, old man. Even though he plays a significant role in the novel, Bradbury fails to inform us about Faber’s fate, a character who readers come to love. In the same sense, the ending of the novel is not satisfactory because it leaves readers in the dark as well. There is no clear ending nor resolution to the story. Instead we are given the hint that a war will start, but we are not made aware of what the results will be. The major conflict of the story, which is that a dystopian society is created without books/knowledge, is very believable. It is something that could happen to society today, thanks to the decrease of indulgence in literature and the increase in technology. The plot is similar to Lois Lowry’s The Giver, another book based on a dystopian, futuristic society with a controlling government.

The character who I liked the most is Clarrise McClellan. In both the society in which the novel is set, and our real world society, it is refreshing to read about a person does not indulge in the common habits that everyone else has. Clarisse strays far from the inauthentic world of technology, social gatherings, and so on. Instead, she goes for walks, enjoys nature, and has a wise mind. On the other hand, my least favourite character in this novel is Mildred--a snobby, unloyal, and oblivious character. She reflects all the bad in society today by allowing herself to be compelled and controlled by technology, and conforming with society. All the characters seem to lack a sense of humour. In terms of character development, the only person who shows any evidence of this is Guy Montag. His character positively changes from being a violent fireman to a righteous hero. Ultimately, the characters make the readers feel informed and awakened by precisely reflecting us as a society, and what we will end up like if we continue down such a path.

  The themes in this novel are important to this day, even though the novel was published six and a half decades ago. Some of the many themes in this book include good versus evil, abuse of power, and government censorship. However, the main lesson learned is that you should not take books for granted. This lesson is very important, especially for teenagers as they often dread and complain about having to read books. Some younger people no longer read for pleasure. Instead, they spend their leisure time staring at LCD screens. As a result, books are becoming less important. If teenagers continue this way, they are headed down an unpleasant path to ignorance, like the characters in the novel.

Fahrenheit 451 is a book that you will not regret reading. This novel definitely has an impact on readers, whether it is good or bad. This book strongly captures our society today and warns us of what is to come within 158 pages of well-composed literature. It is a revealing book that has and will continue to open up discussions all over the world thanks to its evoking many insightful themes. Ultimately, Fahrenheit 451 is considered a classic because people often reread it, it captures themes from our modern culture, it provokes discussion, and it is not an indifferent experience. Overall, I recommend this enlightening novel to everyone who is looking for a good read.