You know how some books just need one sentence to grip you and never letting you go again?
Fahrenheit 451 is such a book. It has one of the best opening lines I’ve ever read and it goes like this: “It was a pleasure to burn.” So simple but yet so intriguing, isn’t it? What burns? Why is it a pleasure? Which colors do the flames eating at whatever have? Can you feel the warmth of them yet?
What is burnt gets clear only seconds afterwards. Fahrenheit 451 details a dystopian future in which a fireman’s sole job is to burn books. Guy Montag has never done anything else and thought he was happy with his existence in a society made up of people who are oblivious and manageable.
Then he meets Clarisse and starts looking at his life and the world he lives in with growing horror.
What did really fascinate me about the novel were two things: One was the magic and importance that Bradbury ascribed to books. The other thing was the importance of asking questions and questioning oneself from time to time.
It only took one question from Clarisse to get Montag thinking about himself and the society in general and it was a pretty simple but important question, which people today in our society don’t seem to ask a lot either: “Are you happy?”
Montag burying himself in work, behind technology and media did not ever ask himself that question. He simply didn’t have the time to think about anything. This reminded me a lot of our lives today and I took a moment trying to answer that question for myself.
I highly appreciate the lesson Bradbury thought me with this. Never stop questioning others and yourself. Never stop to think. Always take time to take a step back and observe the happenings around you. But don’t just watch and listen but make your own opinion of what you saw and heard.
I read Fahrenheit 451 for the third task of my Reading Challenge which was reading a book mentioned in one of your favorite TV shows. It was mentioned in Gilmore Girls which is a show I watched as a young girl, teenager and still enjoy today when I happen to find it on TV.
I am looking forward a lot to the revival of this show but let’s get back to Fahrenheit, shall we?
All in all I would rate Ray Bradburys Dystopia with 4 of 5 starts because it is a book with great message but the author’s style was hard to get into sometimes.
Did any of you read Fahrenheit 451?
Are there more important lessons to be found?
What did I miss?
Tell us in the comments!