Jump to content
Kell

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

How would you rate this book? (Dont forget to say why in the thread!)  

5 members have voted

  1. 1. How would you rate this book? (Dont forget to say why in the thread!)

    • 5/5 - Top-notch reading!
    • 4/5 - Excellent
    • 3/5 - Pretty good
    • 2/5 - OK, but nothing to write home about
    • 1/5 - Dull as ditchwater
      0
    • 0/5 - Utter dross!
      0


Recommended Posts

6. Why would society make "being a pedestrian" a crime? (Clarisse tells Montag that her uncle was once arrested for this.)

 

Seeing this from the artistic perspective, walking around is when you have ideas: you may hear a snatch of conversation that fires up your imagination, see someone who looks like they have a story to tell, feel the harmony of the universe collected in a single raindrop on a leaf. Hands in pockets, with no necessary aim, a pedestrian's mind can wander - freely, into subjects such as the meaning of life, life after death, right, wrong, beauty... dangerous concepts, as far as Fahrenheit's government is concerned.

7. ... Why would two people who seem to be so different from each other try to take their own lives? Why does suicide happen so frequently in Montag's society?

 

I don't think the two cases are that different: Montag's wife does not realise it, but she has a book[= imagination, feeling, freedom...]-shaped void inside her, and it is that void that sucks her in and consumes her; the woman who dies alongside her books is anticipating and reacting to the same void.

 

8. Captain Beatty quotes history, scripture, poetry, philosophy. He is obviously a well-read man. Why hasn't he been punished? And why does he view the books he's read with such contempt?

 

Beatty's case put me in mind of the protagonist's partner in Equilibrium, a film which brilliant though it is owes more than it admits to Fahrenheit. In it, the police officer commits 'suicide by cop': having realised the lie he's living in denying himself art and feelings, he goads the protagonist into shooting him while he deliberately reads poetry by Yeats. Like him, I think Beatty failed to believe in his ability to make a positive change; he's aware of the book-shaped void and sees death as the only answer, for he does not know how to begin to change life around him for the better.

 

Loved your responses BJ. I wish i could like this :blush:.

Edited by BookJumper
Fixed quote.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Canticle sounds brilliant, I might have to read me some of that!

 

And thank you Nightingale :blush: I do try.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick question if i may :blush:.

 

A couple of posters have noted that a few other books/films owe a small debt to F451.

 

I just wondered if F451 takes ideas from any books that pre-date it?

 

update: sorry, my previous quote should have said : i wish i could write like this :lol:.

Edited by nightingale
update

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Good question, Nightingale. Anyone have any answers?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One possibility I have unearthed is the short story "Earth's Holocaust" from Nathaniel Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse, that is about a society that burns everything that it finds offensive, including its literature. Other than that, which I'm sure Ray Bradbury was aware of due to his love of libraries and books, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of literary precedents. Ray Bradbury seems to have been influenced more by the Nazi book burnings for his inspiration for 'Fahrenheit 451'. This seems to be borne out the following statement made by Bradbury

 

"It follows then that when Hitler burned a book I felt it as keenly, please forgive me, as his killing a human, for in the long sum of history they are one and the same flesh."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Since we're on a roll, I thought I'd post another question:

2. One suicide and one near-suicide occur in this book. One woman, who shuns books but loves TV and driving fast in her car, anesthetizes herself,; "We get these cases nine or ten a night," says the medical technician. Another woman, who cherishes her books, sets herself on fire with them; "These fanatics always try suicide," says the fire captain. Why would two people who seem to be so different from each other try to take their own lives? Why does suicide happen so frequently in Montag's society?"

 

I agree with virtually all of the opinions that's all ready been posted for this question. There's isn't much for me to add :D.

 

I couldn't find the passage to re-read it, but wasn't there mention of a fireman who committed suicide by setting the mechanical hound on himself? Another fireman squirreling away books, perhaps and couldn't live with the hypocrisy?

 

And can someone clarify something for me please. When the woman set fire to herself and her books, she said, 'You can't ever have my books.' Was she saying this specifically to Montag because she saw him pocket one of her books? Or was she speaking generally?

Edited by Kell
fixed quote code. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I couldn't find the passage to re-read it, but wasn't there mention of a fireman who committed suicide by setting the mechanical hound on himself? Another fireman squirreling away books, perhaps and couldn't live with the hypocrisy?

 

And can someone clarify something for me please. When the woman set fire to herself and her books, she said, 'You can't ever have my books.' Was she saying this specifically to Montag because she saw him pocket one of her books? Or was she speaking generally?

 

yes there is mention of one fireman who set the hound on himself, though its not clear why. Your conjecture that he was squirreling away books sounds likely.

 

i think the woman was speaking generally, but might have been addressing Montag directly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One possibility I have unearthed is the short story "Earth's Holocaust" from Nathaniel Hawthorne's Mosses from an Old Manse, that is about a society that burns everything that it finds offensive, including its literature. Other than that, which I'm sure Ray Bradbury was aware of due to his love of libraries and books, there doesn't seem to be much in the way of literary precedents. Ray Bradbury seems to have been influenced more by the Nazi book burnings for his inspiration for 'Fahrenheit 451'. This seems to be borne out the following statement made by Bradbury

 

"It follows then that when Hitler burned a book I felt it as keenly, please forgive me, as his killing a human, for in the long sum of history they are one and the same flesh."

 

Interesting, thanks for the information, Sirinrob. I'll have a look into that book you mentioned. That quote from him is very sad. Must have been awful for someone who loves books as much as him to have witnessed such a thing.

 

The more i read this book, the more i'm drawn to Beatty :D! For some reason i feel for him. He's not my fave character, but i'm drawn to him.

 

In relation to question 3. Captain Beatty quotes history, scripture, poetry, philosophy. He is obviously a well-read man. Why hasn't he been punished? And why does he view the books he's read with such contempt?,

 

This has already been answered brilliantly by other posters, but here goes :hug:. To be that well read and intelligent but not be able to use that intelligence in a way that full-fills an individual must be very frustrating. The other characters in the book know deep-down they are unhappy and depressive but they don't know the cause of it. So they do various activities to convince themselves they are happy. Beatty's turmoil is worse than theirs (maybe?) because he knows the 'truth' about books but believes he can't do anything about it. This, plus having to live a double-life causes alot of mental anguish for him which is punishment in itself.

 

Not sure if i've explained myself clearly here :smile2:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I thought you expressed yourself very clearly and made some valid points :D when you enjoy reading and studying there's nothing you want more than to apply or share your newfound knowledge, and the fact that not only he's not allowed to do this, but is in fact forced to enforce the status quo which forbids him from doing so must make him feel so helpess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Why would society make "being a pedestrian" a crime? (Clarisse tells Montag that her uncle was once arrested for this.) The crime would be that you could walk where you wanted, choose wheteher to walk on a path or street, in a wood, alongside a river, and maybe even walking along a rail track. A society that seeks control couldn't have that. As nightingale has said, there is also the matter of who you may encounter on your travels. If you are driving on the road to your job or place of recreation, you are driving alongside like minded and like intended people, doing similar jobs, and undertaking similar recreational pursuits. Each person reinforces the existence of other, of how they live and behave.

 

2. One suicide and one near-suicide occur in this book. Why would two people who seem to be so different from each other try to take their own lives? Why does suicide happen so frequently in Montag's society?" Suicide for Millie was a subconcious realisation of the meaningless of her existence. I did not feel it was boredom, because I don't believe her character could recognise boredom anymore. She had no recollection of having tried to die becuse it wasn't her dulled conscious mind that had made her take too many pills.

 

3. Captain Beatty quotes history, scripture, poetry, philosophy. He is obviously a well-read man. Why hasn't he been punished? And why does he view the books he's read with such contempt? Society would need some lead people to know what they were 'fighting' by burning the books, and therefore would require well read individuals who would be able to counter all and any arguments against book burning. I wanted to believe that Beatty had hit a wall where his knowledge, twisted to make reading and books anti societal, anti happiness was showing him that happiness and a just and productive society come from thinkers and doers. But I don't think that was the case. He must have known that giving Montag the flamethrower was risky. By handing it over and making Montag get physically close to what he was burning would either bring him back to the way of thinking that would keep them all safe, or that Montag would try and escape by any means necessary.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On the Millie suicide point Chrissy, I beg to differ , she was either in the parlor with the wall or had the seashells in her ears ( recollect how the morning after she had them in) . I believe subliminal messages that somehow dulled the memory affected her and /or a drug administered during her 'resuscitation'. For me Mildred represents the non-thinking , conformist types in society. I see that type everyday, all aping each other and talking he same banal rubbish.

 

ETA

 

As you all might have gathered I have strong views on the issues raised in the novel.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi, Im new here but just finished the book. thought provoking for sure. Could anyone offer their opinion on Captain Beatty, I am confused by the character. He is so well read, and quite obviously a "thinker" so why is he so contemptuous of books? i thought he was envious of Montag in one way. Is he part of an elite educated faction of an informed government who, to be able to control the masses, have to be programmed themselves to think certain ways or is he a free thinker with a personality disorder or psychotic? any thoughts pls?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and welcome saxpastil :lol: yours is a very good question, so much so that it is one of the issues we've been exploring in this thread; if you look back through the pages you'll find people's opinions on the subject, hope you find them interesting/helpful!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something I've noticed, is a lack of young people in the city. Other than Clarissa, the short mention of school and the cafes and the joyriders, the society seems to be 'sterile'. Mildred certainly doesn't want children and Mrs Phelps has apparently had several abortions. It strikes me as an odd facet of the society - almost an aversion to children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it's a reflection of their society's lack of creativity. They aren't creative at all - even down to not creating children. A non-creative society is one that is dying.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, children themselves are the epitomy of creativity - you can't curb a child's imagination; he'll draw, paint, build, and if you don't let him, he'll do all of the above in his head. Children are natural storytellers, and therefore the natural enemies of such a state.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This may be a bit on the late side, but the Francois Truffaut film version of this book in on ITV1 at 2:05, just over an hour from now!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's another question for you all:

 

4. Why do you think the firemen's rulebook credited Benjamin Franklin-- writer, publisher, political leader, inventor, ambassador--as being the first fireman?

 

This one's a bit of a toughie for me as I don't actually know anything about Benjamin Franklin, so I'm going to go off and do a little research and then come back to this one.

 

Does anyone know much about BF and have any ideas?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've just been looking on Wikipedia about Benjamin Franklin and one of the first sentences that jumped out at me was:

 

He formed both the first public lending library in America and the first fire department in Pennsylvania.

 

I guess that in F451's "universe", the two could be run together.....

 

---------------------

 

On a separate note, I was thinking about another little bit of the book - when Mildred has taken all the pills and the paramedics use a machine to suck out all her blood and then replace it with new blood, after which she is better. It brought to mind lots of vampire books - the blood is sucked out, the vampire then gives blood back to the person and they are "resurrected". As she's in pretty much a somnambulant state much of the time, with no real "life" about her, she seems almost like one of the undead...

Edited by Kell

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that Bradbury invoked Benjamin Franklin as the first fireman for the reasons you've unearthed. Irony is playing a part too, since BF was a writer and so wrote books to be read and kept, not banned and burnt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Time for another question:

 

Since the government is so opposed to readers, thinkers, walkers, and slow drivers, why does it allow the procession of men along the railroad tracks to exist?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the government is so opposed to readers, thinkers, walkers, and slow drivers, why does it allow the procession of men along the railroad tracks to exist?

I would say because they would know that there are always those in society who exist outside of it's norms. By allowing the railroad track walkers to exist they are keeping them seperate from the rest of compliant society without any effort or cost.

 

The government would have little to fear from the walkers as they would remain apart from the mainstream through choice, thus diminishing any chance of infecting society.

 

Governments have a tendency to consider things mainly in the short term, therefore their thinking or planning would not take into consideration the rail walkers eventual purpose of relaying and replication of books to be a valid exercise. It would be seen as neither attainable nor threatening.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now



×