Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is one of those “I can’t believe I haven’t read this!” books. I decided it was the perfect choice to pick up for Banned Books Week. Since it was first published back in the 50s, it has been frequently challenged. The ALA included it at #69 on their most banned of the 2000-2010 decade for questionable themes and offensive language.
Y’all, I have to admit something. I actually agree with the notion that Fahrenheit 451 contains “questionable themes.” Of course, what I mean by that is that the book is full of wonderful food for thought. You know, themes that deserve to be questioned and discussed. Like in a classroom. So someone could actually learn something. Does it really make sense to try to censor a book about censorship?
This was all he wanted now. Some sign that the immense world would accept him and give him the long time needed to think all the things that must be thought.
We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal…A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.
Basically, people in Guy Montag’s dystopian society have this weird mixture of actual hostility towards books and a feeling of general disinterest toward the thought of reading. Ray Bradbury illustrates all the stimuli and mindless entertainment these people are hypnotized by. The characters all seem brainwashed into being the same: and they are all basically useless. Everyone seems to just accept ignorance as preferable. IT MADE ME WANT TO HUG ALL MY BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS BOOKS, YOU GUYS. I won’t even make fun of people that have only read 50 Shades of Grey anymore (much). This is a scary place, and not one I want to visit.
Although Guy Montag’s spirit quest (or whatever you want to call it) was a little odd, it was great to see one of these bizarro pod people actually wake up and start questioning reality. This isn’t a perfect book – there were some slow points, some weird points, some plot devices I could do without (Clarisse. Ahem.) Overall, I think I got a lot more out of the questions Fahrenheit 451 caused me to consider than the actual story itself. I don’t mean that in a bad way – I think Ray Bradbury would take that as an immense compliment.
In a week celebrating our ability to fight censorship – reading a book about censorship seems a very appropriate thing to do. I’m glad I picked it up! If you haven’t read it, you definitely should.
To Sum It Up:
- HUG YOUR BOOKS. This book, appropriately enough, makes me want to celebrate our ability to fight censorship. Banned Books Week FTW.
- Watching Guy Montag wake up and start to question his role in society – and that society itself – is a very thought-provoking journey.
- You can watch John Green analyze the story on YouTube if you so desire: Part 1 / Part 2