On October 19th, 1953, Ray Bradbury published Fahrenheit 451 which is one of the best-known books he has ever written. It is a dystopian study of the society of the future where critical thoughts are outlawed. In this novel, reading books were illegal. The book’s title “Fahrenheit 451” came from the concept that firefighters would try to get rid of fires but instead they’re responsible for destroying books by lighting them on fire. To light a book on fire, the temperature needs to be 451 degrees so that is where this name came from. Bradbury is a famous author who mostly writes horror or fantasy books and he doesn’t believe he writes anything that is unreal or fantastical. I chose this book because Bradbury seems to have an open mind and a broad idea on what he perceived in society.
This novel had me thinking a lot about the society I live in, both the similarities and the differences. We live in a society where technology has taken over the world, sometimes kids even have cell phones, computers, PlayStation. One similarity I have noticed is the main character Guy Montag has witnessed his wife, Mildred, being super antisocial due to listening to the radio through seashells. “And in her ears, the little Seashells, the thimble radios tamped tight, and electronic ocean of sound.” Mildred listens to meaningless radio, ocean waves, and ultimately blocks out sound. This sounds a lot like what we have today… Earbuds. Bradbury tried symbolising that overtime technology is going to make us less social. He was somehow one step ahead of all of us.
Initially, our generation is consumed with technology glued to your fingers. The main point I got from this book is that Bradbury’s perspective on our future demonstrates things as simple as TVs and cars can destroy happiness and culture. His purpose was to get an understanding of the importance of books because people storm ideas through them and it gives a purpose to life. When people get so caught up with themselves, they don’t have time to slow things down and feel anything, which lacks emotional fulfillment. You can’t enjoy anything anymore unless you’re doing it with speed or pure laziness. He feared that literature would begin to be watered down and we all began to rush our everyday lives due to making things more convenient for us through social media instead of face to face.
In addition, I have learned to flourish by consuming knowledge. The more you know, life can go by much more smoothly. There is somewhat a happy ending when Montag realize the book might not be an issue in the first place. Bradbury has his own way of explaining that reading and remembering can help you survive. For example, think about if your car ran out of gas but your bike was to be missing a piece and you knew what you should do because you educated yourself prior. You read something to know what you could do to either fix, replace or add to continue using the bike. I have also learned to not be close-minded. In Fahrenheit 451, abortions being legal were only a dream. There is a scene where Montag rants against Mildred saying, “Go home and think of the dozen abortions you’ve had” trying to make her feel guilty. The dystopia is supposed to show that the right to choose to do anything cannot be pushed. I have realized that having the right as a woman is a big deal.
Overall, Ray Bradbury illustrates what the future would look like in a dystopian society. Throughout Fahrenheit 451, Montag struggles against the world he lives with having it be man vs society. This mindset changes throughout the book because of his neighbor and has realized he might not be as happy as he thought he was. Towards the end of the book, it becomes optimistic in a way because Montag thinks more of the future than the past even though mostly everybody is dead from a bomb that hit his city. He ends up wanting to help people and continued a healthier life with the knowledge he has gotten. I have learned that it is not always easy being on the same page as other people but that should stop you from doing good. Everybody should have the right to choose how they want to live their life.
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