Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Here comes another book that I would have liked to read in school.

That this book is one of the many dystopian stories I have read is of no matter, it was unique in that it focused on a specific aspect of dystopian life, the struggle of consuming forbidden information. It’s very interesting to think of a society choosing ignorance over knowledge because in other stories like this it is a select group of leaders that make the decision and deprive the society of information without giving the people any option. In those stories it seems unfair for the general population to be living in ignorance because they don’t know that there is anything else, but in this book the population demonizes knowledge and they knowingly keep themselves in the dark. True, they don’t know the good things they are choosing to be rid of, but they know that they would rather be in the dark than risk learning something bad or that makes them upset. Very strange.

This book got me thinking about what else would be different in this society. For instance: How would being homosexual work? Yes people collectively decided to stop reading books but a decision was made somewhere along the lines to make it officially illegal to own or read books. Well, what if a person were gay? That doesn’t fit into the society’s perfect ‘everybody is happy and equal’ world so would they be hiding from society just as the book keepers hide? Since this was written in the early fifties would Bradbury even think of this, as homosexuality was such a hushed up topic back then?

Random thought: In thinking of this book, it’s odd that matches come from a book–a matchbook– because I know that the last thing I want to do is burn books.

Another random thought: This book is set sometime after 2022 (the only clue to setting is: “we’ve started and won two atomic wars since 2022”) and this is the only piece of pop culture that I’ve seen with a realistic image of future life. A lot of movie and books imagine the world as a shiny silver place with flying cars and etcetera, but this is a regular world with a few added bits of technology. There are TV screens for walls that are interactive, seashell radios you slip inside your ear and sleep or walk around with,  and sliding automatic doors in residential homes, all things that could actually happen in the next few years. Good work Bradbury.

Book Stats!

Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
Published in: 1951
Where it came from: Chapters for book club!
Reading challenge category: a book set in the future
Page count: 158
Other categories it could have filled: a book by an author I’ve never read, a book with a number in the title, a book I can finish in a day, and a book set in a different country
Favourite character: Faber
Favourite line: “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of  things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”


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