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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 (original 1953; edition 2001)

by Ray Bradbury

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31,41857325 (4.03)1 / 1021
In Bradbury leggiamo la denuncia sulla possibile negativa evoluzione della nostra società e purtroppo va detto che a distanza di cinquant’anni molto si è avverato. Nel mondo di Fahrenheit 451 non è stato un atto deliberato dello Stato, atto al controllo delle masse, che ha proibito l’uso del mezzo culturale. La società stessa si è posta quel tabù, cercando la semplificazione, la massificazione, nel tentativo di non creare individui infelici che si sentissero diversi, ha gradualmente abbandonato ogni forma di cultura. Lo Stato in questo scenario ha soltanto legittimato un dato di fatto, istituendo i corpi di vigili del fuoco, qui impegnati ad ardere e non a estinguere il fuoco. Si viene così a creare una dottrina dell’anti-cultura, esemplificata nella figura del capitano di Montag: i libri non vengono bruciati in quanto tali, ma per quello che contengono, riflessioni di uomini morti, storie di evasione, tutto l’universo che i libri rappresentano. Chi si avvicina alla lettura, dice il capitano in un delirio di semplificazione, si sente superiore a coloro che non leggono. Perciò la società di Fahrenheit 451 ha deciso di eliminare ogni fonte possibile di diversità, per lasciare i cittadini in una beata incoscienza, che non li rende informati neanche sull’apocalittica guerra che si svolge nelle pagine finali del romanzo.
Dall’altra parte, gli uomini-libro, coloro che hanno mandato a memoria i libri in una società che non permetteva loro di possederli, non si sentono affatto degli eletti. “Tu non sei importante” dice Granger, un uomo-libro, a Montag nelle pagine finali. Anche quando i libri esistevano, aggiunge, la gente li ha rifuggiti creando il sistema attuale. Però è importante che in qualche modo il messaggio che essi contengono venga preservato, lasciando la possibilità di essere scoperto. Quindi Fahreinheit 451 non è un mero inno all’importanza della lettura, ma un inno alla possibilità di scelta, alla libertà. ( )
  Zeruhur | May 26, 2012 |
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Impressed me when I was young and reading everything by Bradbury because I'd loved Dandelion Wine so much, and also impressed me when I read it because our library was promoting it as a community read. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
Yes, but Kindle.
  Xleptodactylous | Apr 7, 2015 |

Guy Montag is a fireman, but not like the firemen we know. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television.

This is a classic, and a great one to read and reread. Bradbury takes a believable world, and chooses a possible path to a future that no one should want to exist. It's a great example of why I love scifi books. It's the chance to look around and ask what if. Then, you can take that what if and run. Here, the idea of people watching more television and eventually stop reading changes how life is lived. We follow Montag who goes from unquestioning, no-thought living to wanting to read. He begins to look around and see the world he lives in to find things that are better than walls that are televisions. He learns to question things. It shows a very believable future that can still happen if tv's grow so large they take up entire walls (how far are we really from this already?), pop culture being more important that reading and learning (practically there), and thoughtful consideration being so discouraged it's illegal.
( )
  jessica_reads | Mar 24, 2015 |
An excellent read for a rainy day! A deep, thoughtful experience that leads you though the emotional journey that Mr. Montag experiences as the protagonist, and the development he receives through the book. Bradbury does an excellent job conveying the urgency and the feeling of the world spinning around the character as the reality of this dystopian future sets in his mind. In the surprisingly short time that Clarisse is in the book, we are emotionally connected from her from the start. The investment that Montag gives her is enough to make us care about what happens to her- (What did ever happen to her, anyways?) . The surrounding characters provide the grey washed out-ness that Bradbury is trying to convey about this future of bland, boring people, conformed into the same iron mold. The only thing I begrudge this book is that Beatty feels like a strange pawn to shout exposition. The quotes, while somewhat appropriate, seem to be more of a "tack out the quotes, shout more quotes; MORE QUOTES!!!!!! Are you confused yet? MORE QUOTES!" He does make for an interesting antagonist, though, and the interaction between Montag and Betty is intriguing. ( )
  Hide_The_Books | Mar 22, 2015 |
a brilliant novella that really stuck a deep chord in me. The idea of a society in which books are outlaws and new ideas wither and die is the kind of stff that keeps me up at night. Just an absolutely captivating read as we follow the journey of a 'fireman', who job is to seek out rogue book hoarders and scorch their trove to ashes. ( )
  nmg1 | Mar 20, 2015 |
Ear thimbles playing music constantly. Wall TV. Women starving themselves until they look like bacon strips. Actual police chases televised in living color. Kids tearing around in cars at insane speeds just for something to do. The country at war and nobody knows why. A total disconnect with the natural world. Does any of this sound even the least bit familiar? Bradbury's classic is a first-rate thriller that will never get old. ( )
1 vote JMlibrarian | Mar 3, 2015 |
Classic! It is just that simple! Classic! ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
Celebrate the 40th anniversary of this timeless classic with a special edition featuring a new foreword by the author and a message that is as relevant today as when it was first published. "Frightening in its implications...Mr. Bradbury's account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating." Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which book paper burns. Fahrenheit 45 is a short novel set in the (perhaps


Today, when libraries and schools are still "burning" certain books, Fahrenheit 451 is a work of even greater impact and timeliness. ( )
This review has been flagged by multiple users as abuse of the terms of service and is no longer displayed (show).
  Tutter | Feb 23, 2015 |
Written in the early 1950s, "Fahrenheit 451" is both a speculative work of the future while also a semi-prophetic piece by Ray Bradbury. A fireman of the future who burns down homes, instead of saving them, because they possess books begins to question his profession and society after he begins reading.

Guy Montag, a professional fireman, has been secretly hoarding books he's suppose to be burning when he meets Clarisee a young neighbor that asks a lot of Why? questions. Then after his wife's suicide attempt and Clarisee's sudden disappearance, Guy begins questioning his profession and society openly leading him to lose both his wife and home then being condemned as a public threat because of his love of books.

Bradbury wrote about a futuristic society that lived through television, or interactive media, a world only like our own. However, Bradbury's world has outlawed books because they make people feel bad or are contradictory or are lies or the actual truth; taking "political correctness" to a extreme and creating a society that indulges people's self-esteem. Bradbury then questioned what if one of the men charged with preserving that society leading to Guy Montag's challenging his society, in particular his wife and his boss.

Bradbury explores this speculative world and society through a narrative that reads both as a short story and a novella, but comes off as something in the middle. Overall the entire narrative is good, however it's not without it's flaws especially when it comes to the death of Clarisee, the introduction of Faber, the entity of the Hound, and the sudden ending of Montag's society through mutually assured destruction. But in balance the foolishness of Captain Beatty at taunting a man holding a flamethrower and Bradbury's correct assumption of the future entertainment value of the highway chase are strong additions.

"Fahrenheit 451" is both a speculative story of the future from time of it's first publication as well as important warning for us today about the over-protection of an individual's feelings. Bradbury worried that radio and television would be used to control people's opinions and lifestyle to their own determent, especially if there was nothing to compete with them like books. Although Bradbury doesn't say it, one has the feeling that just after World War II he thought that the idea that it was a small step between burning books to burning people was still something to fear because only the instruments had changed. ( )
  mattries37315 | Feb 17, 2015 |
I have discovered the beautiful Mr. Bradbury, embarrassingly late in life. In fact the day after he passed away, is when I got my first Bradbury book. This is one of those standout life-affirming books that fill up your mind. With his superlative ability to pull heart-wrenching metaphors out of his hat, his underlying sense of irony and idealism and his clearly passionate love for the human mind, Mr. Bradbury is one of those authors that you must read in order to complete your education.He manages to leave you with a sense of hope and desire to change the world even when he writes of dystopia. ( )
  swati.ravi | Feb 9, 2015 |
Might be the best book every written on the importance of books, reading, and freedom of expression. At the beginning there is a quote by Juan Ramon Jimenez: "If they give you ruled paper, write the other way." ( )
  unclebob53703 | Jan 25, 2015 |
One of my two favorite Bradbury books, somehow believable. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
One of my two favorite Bradbury books, somehow believable. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Probably my favorite Bradbury book. I've read it more than once, several decades apart. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Probably my favorite Bradbury book. I've read it more than once, several decades apart. ( )
  AntT | Jan 24, 2015 |
Before I began this, I was terrified that it would be as unreadable as _The Martian Chronicles_, which I've started three times and have never been able to finish. But in this one, there's a coherent plot to let Bradbury's luscious, dream-like, trance-inducing writing sail you along, and, especially in the second half, I found myself greatly impressed. Not that it's flawless: with some exceptions, these supposedly "bookless" people all talk and think like they've had eight years of liberal arts college; and there's a chunk of eye-rolling proselytization in the middle. But nevertheless, in sheer beauty of language if nothing else, there is mastery here. ( )
  emepps | Jan 23, 2015 |
Description: In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury's classic, frightening vision of the future, firemen don't put out fires--they start them in order to burn books. Bradbury's vividly painted society holds up the appearance of happiness as the highest goal--a place where trivial information is good, and knowledge and ideas are bad. Fire Captain Beatty explains it this way, "Give the people contests they win by remembering the words to more popular songs.... Don't give them slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy."

Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.

Thoughts: A little bit of personal history needs to be shared to understand my connection to this book. My dad has always been a reader, his favorite author is Hemingway and I think he owns everything ever written by or about him, but he isn't someone who talks about books or ever went out of his way to put books in front of me. I don't ever remember my mom reading until a few years ago and, now that she does read, we don't share book tastes at all. So, even from a young age, I was pretty much responsible for my own reading. For a long time that mostly meant reading whatever was assigned in school and the couple of books that would come my way from friends or family members.

When I was 13 or 14 I discovered the joys of the library. Of course, I'd been to the school library before, but it wasn't until then that I realized I could explore the library for exciting new books. So I started exploring. The first book that I found for myself was The Giver- talk about an education! I didn't know books could be so intriguing and thought-provoking and interesting. I needed more.

The next book I came across was Fahrenheit 451. This book just blew me away. Mostly it was the feeling that the plot of the book was close enough to be uncomfortable, but it was also Bradbury's prose and ideals that really spoke to me. The questioning of "modern society," the appeal of Clarisse who was so open and receptive, the book people who carried entire books in their heads... Reading Fahrenheit 451 opened me up to all the amazing books I would read after it, made me a sponge for literature.

I don't know if other people can pinpoint the specific moments in time when they became a different person, but I feel like I can. It started with The Giver but it blossomed with Fahrenheit 451 and I will forever be grateful to Ray Bradbury for that.

Here are some of my favorite bits:

"But everyone I know is either shouting or dancing around like wild or beating up one another. Do you notice how people hurt each other nowadays?"
"You sound so very old."
"Sometimes I'm ancient. I'm afraid of children my own age. They kill each other. Did it always use to be that way? My uncle says no. Six of my friends have been shot in the last year alone. Ten of them died in car wrecks. I'm afraid of them and they don't life me because I'm afraid. My uncle says his grandfather remembered when children didn't kill each other. But that was a long time ago when they had things different. They believed in responsibility, my uncles says."

"Once, books appealed to a few people, here, there, everywhere. They could afford to be different. The world was roomy. But then the world got full of eyes and elbows and mouths. Double, triple, quadruple population. Films and radios, magazines, books leveled down to a sort of pastepudding norm, do you follow me?...
Classics cut to fit fifteen-minute radio shows, then cut again to fill a two-minute book column, winding up at last as a ten- or twelve-line dictionary resume.... Do you see? Out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery; there's your intellectual pattern for the past five centuries or more...
School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work...
Now let's take up the minorities in our civilization, shall we?... The people in this book, this play, this TV serial are not meant to represent any actual painters, cartographers, mechanics anywhere... Authors, full of evil thoughts, lock up your typewriters. They did. Magazines became a nice blend of vanilla tapioca. Books, so the damned snobbish critics said, were dishwater. No wonder books stopped selling, the critics said. But the public, knowing what it wanted, spinning happily, let the comic book survive... There you have it, Montag. It didn't come from the Government down. There was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship, to start with, no! Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God. Today, thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time, you are allowed to read comics, the good old confessions, or trade journals."

"It's not the books you need, it's some of the things that once were in books... No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us...
After all, when we had all the books we needed, we still insisted on finding the highest cliff to jump off. But we do need a breather. We do need knowledge. And perhaps in a thousand years we might pick smaller cliffs to jump off. The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They're Caesar's praetorian gaurd, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, 'Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.' Most of us can't rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book."

http://www.librarything.com/topic/138183#3448465 ( )
  leahbird | Jan 13, 2015 |
I'm not entirely sure what to say about this short, but not quite sweet look at a future in which books and knowledge are the enemy and people are slaves to the television screen.

I'll be honest, I found it a little unsettling to read about people being completely hooked to mindless entertainment, knowing that our current reality isn't vastly different. At present, at least people are somewhat self-aware about the extent to which we are reliant on technology as opposed to face to face conversation. I think what disturbs me most is knowing that this is what Bradbury envisioned the future to be, back in the 1950's. Knowing that he wasn't as wrong as we would like to think is eery as hell.

As I was reading, I wondered, did Guy and Millie used to live in harmony or were they always that unhappy, and Guy had simply awoken to that fact?
Was Clarisse even real? And what really happened to her?

I was struck by how simple the novel was to read, but it fit. Making a novel about censorship convoluted and difficult to read would be counterintuitive to its entire message.

I hugely enjoyed this nightmarish vision of a world in which knowledge is the enemy and ignorance reigns strong. It might not be pleasant to read, but it definitely gives us some food for thought. ( )
  katie1802 | Dec 30, 2014 |
I can't help but think that it is presumptuous of me--li'l, nobody ol' me--attempting a review of Fahrenheit 451 (1953), the rare science fiction book to achieve crossover "classic" status. And if a review of the book is unnecessary, given its age and fame, and even if I have nothing original to add to the conversation, well, this is my blog, isn't it? It's my corner of the 24 hour media cycle, and this space is devoted to my encounters with the books I read. And isn't it better to write about good SFF than it is bad speculative fiction?

Fahrenheit 451 is, of course, the temperature at which paper combusts, and the novel opens with book burning. "It was," says Bradbury of his firemen, who, counterintuitively, start fires, "a pleasure to burn." Thus Bradbury introduces the reader to a future of enforced censorship, in which the harboring of books is a crime against the state, resulting in the burning of one's property, and, occasionally, the "disappearance" of the criminal. Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 clearly recalls what was at the time the recent history of the Nazi and Soviet regimes, as well as the American context of Joe McCarthy's communist witch hunt.

Guy Montag, a fireman, is our hero, an everyman who is provoked into questioning his way of life by a chance encounter with his teenage neighbor, Clarisse McClellan. Clarisse is a dreamy wisp of a thing. Unlike her peers (and, indeed, her elders), Clarisse is interested in conversation, and nature, and why things happen the way they do. Montag is at first affronted and confused by his conversations with Clarisse, but his encounters cause him, too, to ask "why." Montag is reminded of the books he has, illegally, hidden in his home--and at which he will soon begin to look.

Fahrenheit 451 is commonly interpreted as a screed against censorship, and this is undoubtedly true. Bradbury predicts a future in which the state controls media, banning certain types--books--while cultivating others, particularly television. Consider, for instance, Montag's wife's "family," a living room-size, multi-walled television that projects people "conversing" (read: yelling, mumbling, etc.) incoherently all the time, in order to provide viewers company. News broadcasts periodically warn of impending war, but society takes no notice.

But Bradbury is pointing at more than censorship. Dave Itzkoff, in his review of the recent audiobook version of Fahrenheit 451, quotes Bradbury saying that the book "is less about Big Brother and more about Little Sister." Itzkoff takes Bradbury to mean technology, particularly television. Perhaps Itzkoff is right, but it goes deeper than that. Bradbury repeatedly references the speed and preoccupation of society. Cars travel everywhere in excess of one hundred miles per hour. People are constantly tuned into some sort of media. Near the end of the narrative, one of Bradbury's hobos--who are all former college professors--reveals himself to be an expert on Jose Ortega y Gasset, author of The Revolt of the Masses. “There are, above all," Gasset says, "times in which the human reality, always mobile, accelerates, and bursts into vertiginous speeds. Our time is such a one, for it is made of descent and fall." Ultimately, this is central theme of Fahrenheit 451, the allure and danger of pursuing pleasure in our attempts to flee the essential hollowness of life.

While Bradbury's vision of a media-saturated, accelerated future was prescient, it is, also, inherently conservative and elitist. Culture, such as it is, remains the province of a small band of persecuted (or, perhaps, forgotten) resistors, who preserve humanity's heritage by memorization and transmission. The common man can only be expected to continue to pursue pleasure. Montag's dissent is spurred less by any choices on his part than it is his selection by Faber, an unemployed professor, to receive an illegal book. Female characters are particularly attracted to media, and teenagers, such as they are present, are mostly portrayed as murderous, perhaps a reflection of postwar America's infatuation with "juvenile delinquents." For all that Bradbury remains insightful, then, he also fears things that seem constant, or, perhaps, endemic to every generation.

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic not only of science fiction, but also of American literature. Bradbury's prose is tense and tightly wound, and exhibits the tight control of language readers expect of him. Sci-fi lovers who have not read Fahrenheit 451 are advised to do so; those who read it previously, but not for some time, might consider reading it again soon. Recommended, required reading. ( )
  LancasterWays | Dec 30, 2014 |
A classic is a book that has never finished saying what it has to say.

I can't remember where I heard that but it popped in my brain when I sat down to share my reaction to Fahrenheit 451. This was my first read (gasp, shock, I know), and I took away what I believe Bradbury intended. But I'm beginning to see that Bradbury held a much more optimistic view of man than I do.

"But that's the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing (p. 153)."

Uh, to me, man seems to keep making the same mistakes over and over and over again, the vast majority NOT learning from them for the betterment of society as a whole, repeating them, thinking up more technologically advanced ways to repeat them, and on and on and on.

"We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we'll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember every generation (p. 163)."

Yeah, that's what I was just saying. We (over)populate the world by about 80 million more people each year (current+births-deaths), so I guess as long as we're gaining "a few more people" - looking back, thinking, learning, growing - it'll all balance out...right? Well, we can certainly hope.

Like I said, these are my initial thoughts and that's all I have to say about that, for now.

4 stars ( )
  flying_monkeys | Dec 29, 2014 |
Another one of those books that I should have read a long time ago but I'm glad that I finally did.
Wow...talk about a man ahead of his time. This was amazing...I was completely hooked after the first 20 pages and it just kept getting better. Do kids you think that kids today might understand the concepts in here better than we did when we were in school? So much is so close to what was imagined here...makes you truly think about where we are and where we are going. ( )
  gopfolk | Dec 18, 2014 |
This chapter book involves a society in which all books are prohibited. The main character, Ray, rejects the government ban on books. His rejection of the government lands him in serious danger.

Students wil learn of the value of books and their powerful nature. I loved reading this interesting perspective.
  mollybeaver | Dec 18, 2014 |
I think what got to me the most about this novel was how certain similarities could be drawn to our own time. I think I could actually write an English lit class-worthy paper on the topic, but I will not. Just trust me on this thought -- there is still much to be learned from the lessons in this book. ( )
  ladypembroke | Nov 22, 2014 |
Fahrenheit 451 was my favorite novel to teach back when I was still a teacher. It was before I turned full-time writer, and I enjoyed 6 years of teaching this novel. Mostly I loved teaching it because it forced students to think and to question, to really analyze what freedom is and what our government really does for us. Fahrenheit 451 does a great job of kicking at people’s cognitive dissonance.

While the book’s main focus is the dangers of reading (which leads to having actual thoughts and possibly protesting against wrongs), there are warnings woven into the pages. Important warnings I think everyone should take note of.

Definitely one of the best in SF/F.

Read the rest of the review here: www.ravenoak.net. ( )
  kaonevar | Nov 12, 2014 |
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