Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

FF451Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brick on extinction, firemen starts fires rather then put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses they are hidden.

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

When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarrise 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.

I get encouraged to read this book when I read the synopsis on its back. It is interesting. Really, really interesting. People in another world burning books? My mom always taught me to never tear, step, burn, or vandalize any book. Because she thinks the books should to be respected as it had given us education and freedom of thinking. Without books, we cannot learn. But in comparison to my mother’s opinion, it turns out that books are in the bottom line of the word ‘respect’.

Fahrenheit 451‘s setting is hundred years ahead of my time, the 24th century. Guy Montag is a fireman, takes pleasure to burn illegally owned books and the homes of their owners. However, Montag soon starts to think over the value of his profession and of course, his life.  Throughout the story, Montag went far from destroying the book to dedicating himself to rebuild a literature and cultural society. At the end, he’s burning his own house. It’s a symbolism that Montag was erasing his old times and running away.

I understand why people think books are dangerous and worthless, therefore they need to be burn. But for me, books are imaginative, informative, entertaining, and the most important, they are the source of knowledge. I don’t agree with censorship because the freedom of thinking is destroyed. The society will be in fear to tell their own thoughts. This kind of situation is leading to a chaos.

What I don’t understand why most people I know (my friends included) rarely (and never) talk about literature. My only source of literature comes from my mom. Unlike my mom, most people probably think that literature is boring. But I couldn’t agree with them. I am the kind of person who thinks that literature is exciting. That is why I read many fictions, including Fahrenheit 451. So, a credit to you, mom.

Why is this book called Fahrenheit 451? It is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns. The author, Ray Bradbury died on June 5, 2012; at the age of 91. He’s a celebrated American writer in 20th century, best known for his Fahrenheit 451 and other science fiction stories. His headstone read ‘Author of Fahrenheit 451’. The New York Time once stated that Bradbury was “the writer most responsible for bringing modern science fiction into the literary mainstream.”

Fahrenheit 451 won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature and the Commonwealth Club of California Gold Medal. It also won the Prometheus “Hall of Fame” Award in 1984, a 1954 “Retro” Hugo Award, one of only three Best Novel Retro Hugos ever given, in 2004. Bradbury was honored with a Spoken Word Grammy nomination for his 1976 audiobook version.

I like this book so much. The book is my starting point to imagine a world without books. Whew! That really sucks.


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