Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Fahrenheit 451...random thoughts
Fahrenheit 451. While this is only my third book by Mr. Bradbury, I just have to say that his writing is just the most exquisite I've ever read. And yes, I do love his stories, but its his writing that really blows me away.
"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 spitting 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 the blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history...."
Thus begins Fahrenheit 451. I could spend years trying, and still never be able to put words together in such an amazing way. But now, having said all that, I have to admit that, for the most part, I wasn't quite as captivated by the writing in this book as I was by that in either Something Wicked This Way Comes or The Halloween Tree. The reason for that may be, though I'm not sure, that this story was just more thought-provoking. While Something Wicked This Way Comes is wonderfully sinister in its own way, Fahrenheit 451 was even more terrifying because of its utter plausibility.
Guy Montag is a fireman. But the profession of fireman in this novel is far different from what it is today. Firemen in Fahrenheit 451 destroy, as opposed to preserve. And what they destroy is books. And homes that hide books. And sometimes even the people who own these books.
In the space of just a single week, Guy Montag's world is turned upside down. Though really, the seeds of this tumultuous turn-around were sown long before. Montag just hadn't realized this before meeting Clarisse, a seventeen-year-old girl who still found wonder and beauty in the world. And because she did find wonder and beauty in the world, she was considered crazy. Montag's brief talks with Clarisse awaken something inside him. Later in this life-altering week, Montag witnesses a woman choose to burn with her books as opposed to living without them. From here, his world begins spinning out of control...
As I said earlier, this book was all the more terrifying because of its plausibility. The censorship of books in this tale did not begin with the government, though it did eventually become illegal to read books. It began with apathy. With people choosing to give up books on their own. With people choosing to spend their time in rooms comprised of wall-sized screens. Do I really see this book as a prophecy of what's to come? No. I'd like to believe it couldn't really happen. But then there's a lot happening in this world that seems unfathomable.
This is Annie's and my next literature selection for school, and it should make for some interesting conversations. But as for me, I'm anxious to now dive into another book for Once Upon a Time II.