Friday, June 7, 2013

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451

Today, I'm going to do something very simple to ease back into posting, and so I'm going to give a short book review. For school (which, by the way, I have now graduated! Hoorah!) I had to read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradubury. Often I don't care for the books I'm made to read in school, but this was one of those rare exceptions. I'd heard a lot of good reviews on the book and was interested in seeing if I would end up liking it myself. If you have not read the book, let me give you a little teaser and show you what I saw when I opened to the first chapter...

(Taken from Fahrenheit 451, Chapter One: The Heart and the Salamander)

It was a pleasure to burn.
It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python splitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the ignitor and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black.

Guy Montag lives in the futuristic world. He is a fireman, but in this world, firefighters no longer extinguish the flames - they start them. Books are banned and modern technology has taken over the sensible minds of men, but when a mysterious young woman starts putting ideas of the old ways of world, back when books weren't banned and time was taken slowly, into his mind, Guy begins to wonder if the fires he creates are really that sacred.

This book was short and an easy read but incredibly thought-provoking. Though I may not agree with all of the author's ideas, I was reminded of the quote by Albert Einstein which says, "I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots." This is exactly what has happened in this book. Cars speed so fast no one has time to see the scenery, and no one cares if they end up running someone over; children are in school "8" days a week, and real families have been replaced by "TV families." There is no true interaction among people, there is no love between husbands and wives. You live for immediate happiness. Bradbury shows the corruptness of this thinking, and perhaps he is no longer so far from the truth.

I would recommend this book to everyone. It is an enjoyable read, if not a little disturbing at times just because of the despicable mindsets of these people, and it truly makes you stop and think of the world around you and your own life. (If you're someone who is sensitive to this, there is language in the book that gets worse towards the middle/end). I highly recommend this book.

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