Fahrenheit 451 // Ray Bradbury
Overview: Set in a bleak, dystopian, American society, Fahrenheit 451 is a third-person narrative that follows the character Guy Montag. In this society, books have been outlawed and the term 'intellectual' has practically become a swear word. In order to ensure that all books are destroyed firemen -- like Montag -- create fires rather than put them out. Instead of reading books the citizens of this society primarily rely on technology for entertainment which has caused even his wife to become distant, selfish, and "empty" as Montag describes her. It isn't until Guy meets a peculiar seventeen-year-old girl named Clarisse, who enjoys long walks, nature, and observing others, that he begins to realize how unhappy he is with his life. Believing that books hold the key to his happiness, Montag quickly engages in stealing/reading books, and other rebellious acts against society ultimately putting his life in danger.
My Thoughts: Although I recently read Fahrenheit 451, it's not the first encounter I've had with this book. If I remember correctly, the first time I read Fahrenheit 451 was during my freshman year of high school for Honor's English; and if I'm speaking honestly, I didn't enjoy it at all. Despite that I was in a higher-level English class, the deep concepts and hidden themes in the novel were too complex for my fifteen or sixteen-year-old brain to comprehend, which made it difficult to understand. However, now that my brain has had four more years to develop, I have finally begun to understand Bradbury's intentions, and it was much easier to make sense of and draw connections between the speculative fiction society of Fahrenheit 451 and today's modern societies. Many of the ideas, concepts, and intentions of this novel are too complex to be adequately analyzed in a short blog post, which is why I believe this is definitely the kind of novel that needs to read more than once. In my opinion, this novel isn't a good pick for young adult readers whose minds don't quite understand how to critically analyze text. If you're like me, and you've read the book when you were very young, then I would definitely suggest rereading it because I believe that reading this novel as an adult is an opportunity for self-reflection. Disclaimer, the book does contain language that for some may be considered inappropriate or vulgar which has led to it being banned in many high schools; however, I believe that the messages contained within this novel are too powerful to be overshadowed by a handful of taboo words.