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Fahrenheit 451

by Ray Bradbury

genre: classics, dystopian

Synopsis from Goodreads

Fahrenheit 451The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

Review

I didn’t remember reading this in high school, but when I got to the part with the mechanical canine, I realized I had. Once again, I appreciate it as a classic, but other than that… meh. While I’m the first person to roll my eyes by a teacher’s picking over a novel and narrating the symbolism, this is one time when I wouldn’t mind some leadership. I picked up on things that I know are important, but I’m not sure in what way. Hopefully no one considers this a spoiler…

The fire chief has read quite a few books, or at least has many philosophical quotes memorized that he can recite and weave together in a complex one-sided debate. As books are banned and he is in a position of power, I know this is important, but I know the full significance of this fact is dancing around just above my head.

Another thing I would want to discus more with a teacher or discussion group is the interactive plays. Instead of television, people sit in their living rooms talking to “the family,” actors blown up on the walls. They participate in “plays” and read lines. It’s an interesting form of brainwashing since the family asks the person reading what they think of something and the person reads the answer from a script.

Great quotes, great book club book, but not something I would recommend for leisure reading.

3 out of 5 stars

-Eliabeth Hawthorne

To see what other books we’ve reviewed, check out our book reviews page.

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