Fahrenheit 451

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"You must understand that our civilization is so vast that we can't have our minorities upset and stirred. Ask yourself, What do we want in this country, above all? People want to be happy, isn't that right? .... Well, aren't they? Don't we keep them moving, don't we give them fun? That's all we live for, isn't it? .... Colored people don't like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don't feel good about Uncle Tom's Cabin. Burn it."

That is exactly the firemen's job in this futuristic, sci-fi book--starting fire to burn books, instead of putting out fire. In that society, reading and owning books is a crime. You could get arrested for simply being a pedestrian. Front porches and rocking chairs were removed so people wouldn't be able to sit and talk. But, spending time with your technological parlor wall "family" is encouraged. The people were ignorant of knowledge, creativity, world issues, nature, etc, and were wrapped up in their bubble of shallowness and blindness of the rest of the world. This is the vision in the frightening future that Bradbury portrays.

Guy Montag, the protagonist, is a firemen, and he loves his work, thinking that he is actually doing good to his society. His perspective completely changes as he meets new people, like the innocent 17-year-old girl Clarisse. She teaches Montag to slow down and observe, to pay attention. To think.

"I sometimes think drivers don't know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly," she said. "If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he'd say, that's grass! A pink blur? That's a rose-garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He drove forty miles an hour and they jailed him for two days. Isn't that funny, and sad, too?"

"Have you seen the two-hundred-foot-long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long? But cars started rushing by so quickly they had to stretch the advertising out so it would last."

"Bet I know something else you don't. There's dew on the grass in the morning."

"And if you look"-she nodded at the sky-"there's a man in the moon."

"Are you happy?" she said.

And, all of a sudden, Montag realizes the wrongdoing of burning books, and his life becomes in danger.

Chilling. Disturbing. Amazing. This book makes you think about life today, and wonder if we may be closer than we think to that grim future in Fahrenheit 451.





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Electricity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 4, 2009 at 8:15 pm
I read that book too.... it made me very angry, because I'm all about my rights and I love books.
 
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