Let's talk: Fahrenheit 451

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Adurna101
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Let's talk: Fahrenheit 451

Post by Adurna101 » 05 Aug 2014, 05:54

This is one of my all-time favourite sci-fi- classics. I totally recommend it to everyone, as it certainly gets the little grey cells working, on what society would be like without books. I'm keen to hear what you guys think about this amazing book, and to have a bit of a chat about it, with both positive and negative views. Because, while it is a difficult book to get a grapple on, once you have, you are truly better off.

For those that don't know what the book is about, it is essentially a book that is set in the future, where firemen no longer put out fires, they start them. The firemen's sole job is to go around, and burn any books that they find, or are alerted of. The book is really about a particular fireman, Guy Montag, who has a crisis of 'faith' (in what the firemen do). I tried to give there a little description, without any spoilers, so I do apologise for it's poor quality.

As a side question, for those that have read the book (only because they'll understand what I mean), if you could hide and protect one book (in a similar situation as Fahrenheit 451 is set), what book would it be?
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Post by RussetDivinity » 13 Aug 2014, 21:04

I really enjoyed this book, and I probably still have the copy I "borrowed" from my dad. The only thing I didn't like was that Bradbury seemed afraid of the future and even seemed to change his mind about what the book was about later on. Of course, those are quibbles with the author; the book itself is one of my favorite (perhaps my very favorite) classic sci-fi novel.

If I could save one book, I'd probably save East of Eden by John Steinbeck. It's one of the few books to make me cry, and it helped get me through a crisis of faith. I think I owe it.
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Post by Ryan » 10 Oct 2014, 11:32

I'm about to start reading this. I love the concept and it's very relevant to society today with fewer people reading than ever. I think I'm going to enjoy it :)
"Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection" -- Victor Hugo.

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Post by LivreAmour217 » 12 Oct 2014, 10:50

I really, really enjoyed this book. I personally believe that it's all about censorship run amok and the intellectual numbness of technology. Although books are not yet illegal, I see many parallels between modern American culture and Bradbury's futuristic dystopian one. We live in a time when access to books is easier than ever, but it seems that many Americans would rather watch television, play videogames, or have shallow conversations in social media than absorb the contents of a good book. But perhaps I am being too negative--the existence of this online community is proof that we may avoid such a bleak future. As long as there are enough people who value knowledge and creativity, books will always be around.
"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one." - Albert Einstein

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Post by Abbydan14 » 12 Oct 2014, 18:28

Honestly I didn't like this book as much as I thought I was going to. I don't really like the unclear ending. I wanted to read on and know if they do bring books back. I also wanted to know about Faber and Mildred. I guess I didn't really grasp why books were so bad. People were still unhappy so it wasn't just the books.

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Post by gali » 13 Oct 2014, 04:46

I also read and loved this book. It is still relevant to our own times. The world described in it isn't that far fetched as it may seem at first glance.
In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." (Mortimer J. Adler)

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Post by Wind Wise » 14 Oct 2014, 08:54

I first had to read this in school, (maybe 7th, 8th grade) and I hated it because it was about burning books and I didn't like that. I vowed to never read it again. Well, I tried reading it again a few years ago and couldn't get past the first few pages. Deep-seated dislike for the book was still there. Now that I'm older I understand that that's not all the book is about, but I still don't like it.

If I had to save one book, it would be the original novel of Phantom of the Opera. I couldn't give up my favorite book, ever!
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Post by millieanne » 16 Oct 2014, 23:24

I totally understand what Wind Wise is saying, sometimes you get stuck on something and just can't read it. School literature classes often did that to me!

I enjoyed reading Fahrenheit 451, but I do generally find dystopian novels pretty simplistic? I think having the focus on a really negative possible future, and in this case, focussing solely on one really negative element of this possible future, would be better suited to a long-form essay than a literary work. I feel pretty similarly about George Orwell's books - if you're trying to argue a specific point, just argue it ...

I'd be interested to hear if other people can think of examples of dystopian works that are a bit more complex and interesting (and perhaps more plot/character focussed rather than argument focussed)?

If I had to save one book, it would be Diana Wynne Jones' 'Charmed Life'. I would have said 'Harry Potter', but I think, like the characters at the end of Fahrenheit 451, I've actually got that one memorised - I could just rewrite it sneakily myself.

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Post by WinterCandyMints » 17 Oct 2014, 19:11

If I had to save one book, it'd be A Wrinkle in Time. It is my all time favorite book. In the long run, I would want that one because of the characters. I've loved them for so long.

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Post by larney41 » 01 Nov 2014, 11:01

I enjoyed this book a lot, and the concept of books being made illegal is frightening. As illustrated by 1984 and totalitarian regimes like Soviet Russia, truth can be made fluid by a lack of serious scholarship, and when that happens you can make history into whatever you want. Underneath this though was Ray Bradbury's fear that television would supersede books in modern society, and he wasn't wrong, though I don't think it has become quite the intellectual wasteland he thought it would. Given the chance to save one book I would chose the Epic of Gilgamesh, because the world should know what the first book was and what it sought to teach us.

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Post by renohunter26 » 03 Nov 2014, 19:57

I first read Fahrenheit 451 when I was in Grade Nine and it was, without doubt, one of the most confusing books that I had been exposed to. At first, I couldn't grasp the concept of, what I deem, abstract symbolism. Bradbury always gets me with his use of symbolism because it seems so straightforward you almost miss it. On the subject of 451, however, I thought that it was enlightening. It made me think about what my life would be like without books, and it's a very scary thought, very vapid and monotonous. I think that's the entire point of the piece, you need to understand that there are people, if given the power, who would attempt to change and alter people to be less aware of their own thoughts and more absorbent to societal and governmental pressures. I don't think Bradbury was so much scared of the future as he thought we should be cautious of what we let be taken from us in the future.

As to the question which book I would save, this seems so obvious to me, without even a hint of forethought, it would be Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. That book moulded me into the person I am today and is my all time favorite novel.

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Post by Ryan » 06 Dec 2014, 16:57

I finally got round to reading this and thoroughly enjoyed it. As I expected, there is still much that in the novel that's relevant today. Wonderfully written: great plot, characterization, dialogue and beautiful description. Thematically, the novel is intriguing and asks its reader to consider how far are our decisions are really our own. Montag is the "guy" -- an everyman working everyday, influenced in the same way as everybody else ... until he reads a single line of literature. He then recognizes the energy of literature and its ability to transgress established boundaries. Very important work and one that everybody ought to read at least once!
"Reason is intelligence taking exercise. Imagination is intelligence with an erection" -- Victor Hugo.

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Post by Batesblogger » 09 Dec 2014, 10:36

LivreAmour217 wrote:I really, really enjoyed this book. I personally believe that it's all about censorship run amok and the intellectual numbness of technology. Although books are not yet illegal, I see many parallels between modern American culture and Bradbury's futuristic dystopian one. We live in a time when access to books is easier than ever, but it seems that many Americans would rather watch television, play videogames, or have shallow conversations in social media than absorb the contents of a good book. But perhaps I am being too negative--the existence of this online community is proof that we may avoid such a bleak future. As long as there are enough people who value knowledge and creativity, books will always be around.

This is exactly my take. There are so many parallels between the world in F451 and the world we live in. I remember when I read this book, the scene with the car going 90 miles an hour and the 200 foot advertisement along the road really hit me. When this was written, that wasn't really in existence. Some authors have a brilliant knack for predicting the future. To me, this novel is an exact metaphor for the loss of reading that exists today. Social media and television has essentially made it unimportant to read. Even for school assignments you can just Google the book and have an entire synopsis and summary and you never have to crack the pages. It is truly heart breaking. I did feel extremely anticlimactic at the ending though. (SPOILER!) I get the bombing and the attack ,but then he just walks along a train track and that's it? Where did his spirit and fight go? What happens next? I felt as though the author just, got tired and said "you know what? I'm done."
Somewhere out there is a world we never knew existed.

Languages never spoken.
Colors that should not be.
Lives never opened.
Eyes that never see.

And then the page is turned, a universe created.

We are gods.
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Post by Melanie_Page » 27 Dec 2014, 06:07

I recently read F451 with my y12 class (for my American friends these are our graduating high school class) and will probably do it again in the new year. I love it because it's both incredibly simple and yet very deep. I always start with a Bruce Dawe poem, description of an idea... Just fab. (Spoiler) The scene in the burning house where the woman quotes Hugh Latimer is just so powerful. I don't think the ending is anticlimactic. He is making a point about the need for renewal.
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Post by Himmelslicht » 11 Jan 2015, 15:10

I promised to post my review on this book here, so here it is:
Fahrenheit 451 is the kind of work that happens once in a lifetime and it exists, to always remind us what really matters in our existence.

What would be of a world that was empty of books and culture for so long that people lived as hollow shells, living an empty life?
Ray Bradbury projected the idea for the book and rented a typewriter in the local public library, writing a plot so engaging and mentally stimulating that would become History.
Fahrenheit 451 deals with a world somewhere in the future (imagine the 50's projected in an analog television of 15 inches in the 80's) where some inventions that we have today were mere dreams at Bradbury's time. The headphones were called Seashells (and I like that name better) and remote controlled drones designed for criminal chases are called Hounds. Fortunately the destruction of culture did not come true, at least thus far.
Firefighters, to a certain extent known to fight fires at home and save people from burning alive, came only to have a single function: burning books. To not allow the proliferation of culture spread, prevent human beings make use of their brains for anything that was not socialize or superfluously absorb television programs as sponges. Bradbury was not mistaken in the latter: today we increasingly see the effects of inept and useless TV programs on the brain of the masses, leading fewer and fewer people to read books.
Guy Montag, the main character, is one of those firemen who later realizes that if someone is able to die in a room full of books, it must be because books certainly have a type of magic worth enjoying. Montag starts stealing books with the help of a friend and falls in love with them, and it is from this point on that he realizes that his life will never be the same again, as possessing books is a crime against society.

In a way, Bradbury already predicted something that has gradually been happening: while more and more people have access to information, this massive quantity of information loses its power. There are more books than ever before because more and more people have access to the media, but unfortunately, some of the most important and exclusive information is lost in the excess of inclusion attempts in a very small range that our attention is able to retain.
The book constantly bombards us with powerful sentences that stay in the mind and are impossible to forget. The narrative follows a straight, firm and determined step and each page is draws us in for what will happen next. The events follow one another in tandem and Bradbury does not keep us hanging in the mess or hassle for even a second: it is easy to read, interesting and intuitively very well written and structured. I do not have a single flaw to point out.
"Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world."
- Gustave Flaubert

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