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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


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Like you Kell im not 100% sure about Clarissa's motives. The idea that the powers that be arrange relationships and blur peoples memory is a good point, because Montag doesn't remember where he met Millie till he leaves the city. Maybe the TV wall was used to send subliminal messages, which dulled peoples memory and capacity to think for themselves. i noticed that when Montag shut the wall down in the parlour when Millie and the other women were there, they didn't know how to react, they seemed dazed.

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That's a distinct possibility - subliminal messages through constant TV. Such things as subliminal advertising have already been experimented with with varying degrees of success. THe idea that our brains could be contantly being bombarded with images to dull out thoughts and memories is a terrifying one.

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Clarisse is everything which Mildred is not, and that is something which Montag's hangs onto it, he is feeling isolated and then he meets Clarisse who is outgoing, friendly, etc, she is also questions everything, something that we know Montag is starting to do too.

 

I don't think she is a spy because it would be difficult to continue while being so open, unless that is a ruse to take away from the fact that she is in fact ~ a spy, as I said, I don't think she is a spy, I think she is a positive focus for Montag because she makes me think and become aware.

 

Its just a pity that she had to died.

 

With regards to the TV wall, I thought whilst reading there was subliminal messages, at one point the wall had something to do with Mildred's attempted suicide, maybe on some level, telling Montag that he is being watched, of course Mildred's attempt did not work but think about it, their household is being noticed now.

 

Oh and a random fact ~

 

In film adaptation the ending was changed to Clarisse living with the exiles. Ray Bradbury, was not annoyed in the slightest, he was so pleased with the new ending that he wrote it into his later stage edition.

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Clarisse is everything which Mildred is not,

Another random fact - in the film, both roles are played by Julie Christie! (Although in the film they changed Millie's name to Linda for some bizarre reason.)

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Another random fact - in the film, both roles are played by Julie Christie! (Although in the film they changed Millie's name to Linda for some bizarre reason.)

 

I know, what was that all about? thanks for the random fact Kell :roll:

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Oh and a random fact ~

 

In film adaptation the ending was changed to Clarisse living with the exiles. Ray Bradbury, was not annoyed in the slightest, he was so pleased with the new ending that he wrote it into his later stage edition.

 

Yes, my copy of the book has this little factoid too :lol:. I like the idea of her living with exiles in the end.

 

I agree Montag had been monitored for a while and Capt Beatty was onto him, but Clarisse showing up in his life at that moment was a coincidence i feel. Another reason for me thinking Clarisse wasn't a 'plant', is she doesn't always allow Montag to answer questions she puts to him. There were a few times where she would ask a question and as Montag is about to reply she interrupts with another question. Or she'll change the subject or just walk off and leave him standing there. If she's trying to get evidence or get him to incriminate himself she doesn't allow him much of an opportunity.

 

I agree with the points made about arranged relationships and some sort of brainwashing going on.

 

I initially thought Mildred's 'suicide' was accidental :roll:, she appeared oblivious to what had happened the night before. Having read your posts i'm seeing it differently now.

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A thought just occurred to me, but perhaps Beatty was 'guilty' of hoarding books. He comes out with all sorts of quotes as retorts to Montags quotes (aided by Faber) at one point, indicating he has read alot. Since he knows he's guilty, then that could be a reason why he allows Montag to kill him. Also his lecture to Montag doesn't add up, as he reveals he is aware of what books contain and dismisses them, more in the spirit of toeing the party line rather than sincerely - well that was my reading.

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Time for another 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?

 

 

As is stated in the novel, everynow and then Firemen are "allowed" to take a look in a book, just to sate his curiosity and let them see that there's nothing of interest or sense in there; to prove that what they are doing is just and right. I wonder if Beatty started out just taking a look when he was "allowed" and then taking a peek when he wasn't allowed, and then progressed to reading and memorising full passages? Perhaps his own hypocrisy disgusts him? I also wondered if, under different circumstances, he would have been one of those men living in the wild with a book in his head...

 

I think his own self-disgust is what has kept him safe and free of punishment - he effectively punishes himself. He's been conditioned to view books with contempt but still finds himself pulled in by them and hates that about himself - perhaps he ses it as a loss of self control, almost like an addiction.

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Indeed - there's a question later on that we've already touched on ahead of time too - LOL! :)

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Did anyone else find this hard to get into? I'm struggling with it a bit...

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Indeed - there's a question later on that we've already touched on ahead of time too - LOL! :D

 

We're just too good as discussing this book! :D I have to say, I'm really enjoying the discussion this month. It's giving me a lot of food for thought.

 

As for your question, Kell, I'll need to read a bit further into the book before I can give a proper answer. I don't remember the story well enough to comment now.

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*/lurk* I'm really enjoying your guys' thoughts on this :D meanwhile, my copy seems to be snowed out somewhere, it should have got here at the beginning of the week but alas not so I can't join you yet - having seen the film is probably not enough of a prerequisite to comment, it is:lurker:? *lurk*

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Ah can see your logic now Kell as he had sensed he was being watched, and later events with Beatty like the lecture and the incident with the hound, when Beatty smiles wryly adds to your conjecture. Also fairly early on the Clarissa's family "disappear", which Montag notices because their house is not lit up like when he met Clarissa.

 

OK, I'm going back a bit here: early on in the book, when Montag touches the hound and it almost goes for him, he tells Beatty this has happened a couple of times recently. Do you think Beatty did this to the hound, perhaps to warn Montag? Again, I'm not done with the book yet so I'm not sure if this is cleared up later (I do remember the hound has a bigger role later on).

 

Even between Montag and his wife there was a distance and lack of proper relationship - Montag couldn't even remember where and when they'd met - meeting your spouse would seem to me to be a significant event and worth remembering - after all, you intend to spend the rest of your life with that person.

 

Considering the large distance that seems to separate Montag and his wife, I'm surprised that he is so open with her and shares his dangerous thoughts with her.

 

I actualy found myself wondering if partnerships were "arranged" and just how much influence the Powers that Be might have when it came to blurring memories etc. Although it's not mentioned at all in the book, it was something that occured to me as a possibile explanation for why Montag couldn't remember.

 

Why does suicide happen so frequently in Montag's society?"

 

With Montag's wife, I wondered if her suicide was out of plain boredom. Something is missing in her life and she doesn't know what it is. Removing books from the general populace hasn't increased their happiness - it's just meant that constant mindless entertainment is required and sometimes that just doesn't cut it.

 

This is what puzzles me about Montag's wife. I can understand that she tried to commit suicide because she was perhaps bored, but why didn't she remember it the next morning? It's hardly something you forget, and it seemed to be genuine forgetfulness. Was her memory blurred through some sinister method, or was she only pretending she didn't know what had happened?

 

In what way Kate? I admit his style with all the metaphors, similes etc is a tad off putting, but I enjoy that, if that makes sense

 

I think Bradbury's metaphors and similes are an important and useful way of giving the reader a glimpse into Montag's mind and to show us how he can think.

 

And Giulia, I think the movie and the book are pretty similar, apart from certain things to do with Clarisse, so please do participate now if you want!

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1. Who was your favourite character and why?

 

It's a tie between the woman who burned herself with her books and Granger, I admire her defiant courage as well as his wisdom and acceptance - Granger could have turned Montag away because of his past; instead he believes and embraces his conversion.

 

3. Was this the first book you've read in this genre/by this author, has it encouraged you to read more?

 

I've read dystopian novels before (Orwell's 1984 and Animal Farm), and my first Bradbury book was a beautifully illustrated copy of The Martian Chronicles which I carried around with me always when I was ten. While I'm not a fan of dystopia per s

Edited by BookJumper

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OK, I'm going back a bit here: early on in the book, when Montag touches the hound and it almost goes for him, he tells Beatty this has happened a couple of times recently. Do you think Beatty did this to the hound, perhaps to warn Montag? Again, I'm not done with the book yet so I'm not sure if this is cleared up later (I do remember the hound has a bigger role later on).

 

I think it was part of Beatty's plan to scare Montag into either admission or to make him stop seeking books.

Considering the large distance that seems to separate Montag and his wife, I'm surprised that he is so open with her and shares his dangerous thoughts with her.

 

Montag sees Mildred as his partner so he feels a need to share his thoughts with her. She seems to be totally indiffernet to him, only caring for the wall and the seashells

 

 

 

 

This is what puzzles me about Montag's wife. I can understand that she tried to commit suicide because she was perhaps bored, but why didn't she remember it the next morning? It's hardly something you forget, and it seemed to be genuine forgetfulness. Was her memory blurred through some sinister method, or was she only pretending she didn't know what had happened?

 

Given that Mildred is almost constantly hooked up to the seashells, then she could be bombarded by subliminal messages that assist in blurring her memory. Also the technicians could have included a drug that achieved the same end

 

I think Bradbury's metaphors and similes are an important and useful way of giving the reader a glimpse into Montag's mind and to show us how he can think.

 

Totally agree with you, its his use of language that I enjoy.

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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.

 

Answers to 2, 4 and 5 as soon as I actually get to read the book :D!

 

I like your book-shaped void metaphor. Montag is also trying to fill a similar void e.g trying to memorise part of Ecclasticles when hes on the train, against the 'Dentifrice' jingle persistent presence.

Edited by BookJumper
Fixed quote.

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Great points, Giulia, and beautifully written as usual. I re-read some of your phrases more than once, which is always the sign of a great writer. :D

 

Like Sirinrob, I liked the book-shaped void metaphor. It's very true.

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Thank you guys :D you make one blush. And consider, this is me building upon a distant memory of the film and what I know of Bradbury's writing ethics thank to his wonderful volume Zen in the Art of Writing. Just how insightful would I be if I could get my hands on an actual copy of Fahrenheit :D?!

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Crikey! We have a lot to look forward to, then. :D

 

Ooh, I'd love to read Zen... I'm not a writer myself (maybe one day I'll try my hand at it), but I like Bradbury and I'm always interested in how authors write. I must look out for that one.

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Indeed you should :D I tend to read books on writing written by authors I admire and Bradbury's book is the best I've dipped into so far, because it's written with such innocent joy and passion it makes you want to write rather than bogging you down in technicalities.

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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.!

I ADORE Equilibrium - and you're right - it DOES owe a lot to F451. There's the whole aspect of hoarding banned items in hiding places too... I wonder just how many works owe their roots to F451?

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I ADORE Equilibrium - and you're right - it DOES owe a lot to F451. There's the whole aspect of hoarding banned items in hiding places too... I wonder just how many works owe their roots to F451?
A lot, I should imagine. The other one that springs to my mind is V for Vendetta, both in graphic novel and film format: again we have the prohibition of art, feeling and independent thought answered with the hoarding of works of art.

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Equilibrium is one of my favourite films and as mentioned, definitely a lot of ideas from 451, 'A Canticle for Leibowitz' by Walter M. Miller Jnr (1960) I think does take some ideas from 451 but in 'Canticle', the monks mission is preserve written word as opposed to 451, all literature is burned, in 'Canticle' this has already happened, and there is barely anything left, and the monks strive to change things.

 

:blush:

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