Fahrenheit 451 | Teen Ink

Fahrenheit 451 MAG

June 7, 2019
By Amehja PLATINUM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Amehja PLATINUM, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
22 articles 4 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—'tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning." ~ Mark Twain

When I read Fahrenheit 451, I wasn’t really reading a book. I was living Guy Montag’s life, I was inside his head – witnessing and experiencing his thoughts and feelings as he did. That is exactly why I couldn’t stop “reading.” I was there and I was alive and I was trying to get my wife to speak with me but she just kept lying there with those stupid little earbuds in her ears – floating farther and farther away from me. My brain was buzzing yet I couldn’t move. I couldn’t get up for a sip of water, I was no longer in my bedroom, I was in a world where books were a pleasure to burn. I was so immersed – engulfed – I completed half of Fahrenheit 451 in one afternoon. Kudos to Amazon Kindle for keeping track of my progress.

Written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953, it is no surprise that this book brought up some contentious issues. Consider the social and political climate of the time-frame: the Cold War, the Red Scare, the massive rise of television, all of which are explicit themes of Fahrenheit 451. The saddest thing is that this book is considered one of Ray Bradbury’s most brilliant works. Luckily, since the 1950s, the controversy over the book has been somewhat mitigated. In fact, a remake of the original “Fahrenheit 451” film has recently been released.

However, it wasn’t only the themes that made the novel widely disputed. It wasn’t what Ray Bradbury wrote, it was how he wrote it. Fahrenheit 451 follows the story of a man named Guy Montag, a “firefighter” who begins to question his conviction in his work after he meets a bright, peculiar teenager named Clarisse. Being a firefighter is such an honorable and dignified occupation, though, even if in this dystopia, the firefighters make the fires instead of putting them out. Guy should be happy. He is happy. Isn’t he? He is happy when he comes home to a lonely and silent house. He is happy when he lies down next to a woman every night that barely recognizes his existence. He is happy when he is invisible. Isn’t he? Well, if he is invisible, if his one-dimensional boss and co-workers see straight through him, then what does it matter if he breaks the law? What does it matter if he reads a book?

Fahrenheit 451 seems to have everything: a powerful plot, raw and intense characters, and thought-provoking themes. But still, those elements are incomplete without one powerful addition: the dialogue and the figurative language. The detail and dialogue in this book gives me chills to this day. The thing that is the most astonishing is how the scenes build themselves. They start from an abstract, confused, obscure foundation, which is something that adds verisimilitude to the novel. In real life, people talk over each other, people have individual motives when they speak. And no one ever completely listens to what the other person is saying because they are simultaneously attempting to construct a response based on their own opinions and biases.

When it comes to reading an impeccable, dystopian novel such as Fahrenheit 451, you aren’t just reading; you’re traveling to an alternate universe or experiencing a lucid dream. Although the book was widely disputed during the early years of its publication, that doesn’t diminish the brilliant and sublime writing of Bradbury. With his use of figurative language, detail, and immersive dialogue, the reader is able to mentally and emotionally connect with the characters in a way I haven’t experienced before. Bradbury mirrors human behavior so well, while developing a complex and riveting plot. I’d certainly give this novel 5 stars.

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