Everyone praises Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and after reading it, I do see the appeal. Read our book review and see whether or not this classic novel is for you and what the hype is all about.
Fahrenheit 451 Summary
Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books that are outlawed as well as the house that harbors them. But a conversation with his new neighbor 16-year-old Clarisse McClennan changes his life. Her free-thinking ideas take root in Guy’s head and make him have doubts about his life and whether or not he is happy.
When Guy returns home, he finds his wife has overdosed on sleeping pills again. As the EMT treats her and fills her up with new blood, Guy heads out of his house and hears his neighbors talk about how things are in the illiterate society they live in.
Guy internally debates about what Clarisse has said and his wife’s life-threatening overdose. Over the next few days, Guy meets with Clarisse and learns more about her and her odd ways that society frowns upon. As Guy heads to meet with her again, she is missing and Guy realizes something has gone wrong.
A few days later on a job, Guy steals a book from the house that is being burned down by the firemen. He hides it from his coworkers and his wife and hides it under his pillow. Guy fears that the 8-legged robotic-dog like creature that specialized in finding hidden books will discover his stolen book. Will Guy be found out and do they contain the answers that Guy has been searching for?
What makes the book a classic is the general topic of the story and the message. The book went on to win the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature along with a bunch of other awards. It also has a bunch of movies and radio adaptations that were well received.
Bradbury has said that he wrote the book because of his concerns of threats of book burning during the McCarthy era (the era where if you were accused of communism, your whole career would be destroyed even if there was no evidence). Later on, Bradbury said he wrote the book because he believed mass media reduced interest in reading. Technology always scares people and makes them think of the worst scenario like a whole society not reading anymore and books being banned.
I enjoyed the novel but it didn’t have the impact that I thought it would have. It is heralded a classic because of its subject but even then it seems a bit too drastic to be believable. There are a lot of good ideas though and it’s an okay book so I would recommend it if you are a fan of the classics.