By Ray Bradbury
Fahrenheit 451 was written by Ray Bradbury and first published in 1953. Bradbury projects a futuristic world in which TV replaces family and human interaction, a world in which childish wonder and curiosity is frowned upon, replaced with superficiality. The story line follows a fire fighter, Guy Montag, whose job it is to set fires. In this reality, all homes and buildings have been made fireproof, so the need for firefighters to put out fires had been removed. Their job was to keep society “happy”, keep them ignorant, and burn all written material, mostly literature. The book follows Montag’s efforts to question society, to break from the force that is gripping the world, he’s trying to break away and accept human wonder and the desire to understand.
When I initially read this book sophomore year, I wasn’t really impressed. I thought it was a pretty straightforward read and I enjoyed some of the story line. But having the opportunity to re-read it my senior year, I have come to see a new love for this book. The writing is really amazing, the way Bradbury sells this reality is impeccable. At the beginning of the book Montag is our reference point, he seems very sincere, and almost a little naïve. But we meet Clarisse, whom I just love, and we see and take a fondness to her innocence and purity as a child. When we start meeting the other characters that have bought into the world of superficiality, we take a dislike for them, because they are so one-dimensional, because they have no initiative to learn or to wonder or to even want to think. The book really made me question society and today’s culture, where we are starting to move further and further away from human interaction due to increased technology. Bradbury may not have literally projected today’s society, but the overall idea of superficiality and lack of desire to explore and question has definitely evolved in the way that Bradbury suggested.
Why is this book “dangerous?”:
This book has not been widely banned, at least not at the state or national level, but it raised controversy in a Mississippi school district in 1999. One would think that the book would raise controversy because of the ideas it puts forth, but in this case, a parent discredited the book based upon the words “God damn” used in the text. I believe that this book itself is “dangerous” because it proposes this world in which it would be physically dangerous.