Curled Up With Classics: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Curled Up With Classics is a new feature that aims to showcase and promote some of my favourite classics.  I'll be talking about a different classic novel each post in the hope of spreading my love for them (the idea was loosely based off this post!). If you scroll down to the bottom of the blog, you'll see the list of novels I'll  probably be featuring.

FAHRENHEIT 451: the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns… book burning, every bibliophile's worst nightmare, right? Imagine a world where this is normal; a society where fireman burn books and all who read and preserve books are breaking the law.

The 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.

The first thing that needs to be understood about this book, is why it was written. All books have a why, but often dystopian novels have more of a motive… so that lands us at: why was Fahrenheit 451 written? Considering, the novel was published during the 50s, around the McCarthy era, it's easy to see that the author, Bradbury, was worried about this world existing in the future. After it had been published, he said in an interview he was motivated to write this by his concerns about censorship and book burning at the time. 50 years later, and this book is still relevant and this world could still be a reality.

Why I adore Fahrenheit 451:
    • It's a proper dystopian world
      • So if a dystopian world is a hellish place to live... SURELY there's nowhere worse than a society where books are burned?!
    • In an age when reading is on the decline, when media consumption is increasing hugely, this book could not be more relevant OR resonate with the reader more.
    • The antagonist is fascinating… even though he's one of the people in charge of book burning, you can tell, sometime in the past, he held a great love for literature.
    • CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT!
      • Okay, so I'm a major fan of this. Character development is necessary for all novels and Bradbury pulls this off so smoothly within Guy…
      • … talking about Guy, he's a very likeable hero down to the sheer amount of flaws he has.
    • *Jazz hands* SYMBOLISM! Lots and lots of symbolism. (In case you don't know, I looooooove symbolism).
    • It has some BRILLIANT and quirky characters.
      • "She didn't want to know how a thing was done, but why…"
    • The protagonist is constantly battling his internal conflicts and half the time acts irrationally and stupidly… which, let's be honest, we all would if we were faced by a situation like this.
    • Three words: THE BOOK PEOPLE.
    • It's witty and tragic and infuriating and so, so real.
    • It calls out to all bibliophiles and sure does put emphasis on the importance of books!
      • “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing” 
      • “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

    Five amazing quotes from the novel:
    1. “I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together. When people ask your age, he said, always say seventeen and insane.”
    2. “Putting out the stars and extinguishing the sun.”
    3. “She didn't want to know how a thing was done, but why.... Luckily, queer ones like her don't happen often.”
    4. “A book is a loaded gun.”
    5. “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. 

    20 comments:

    1. I haven't read Fahrenheit 451 and didn't actually know very much about it, but you have COMPLETELY convinced me and I seriously have the urge to read it now. It sounds like a situation it would be quite fun to imagine yourself in - like I'm now thinking what the best places to hide books in my house would be - although it certainly wouldn't be fun to ACTUALLY be in that situation. (My precious books!) And gosh, I do like those quotes.

      Anyway, I'm now off to add this to my wishlist. See ya!

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      1. Haha I think you'd REALLY like this one Maya. :) It's so lovely and witty and special. :D

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    2. I saw this in Waterstones the other day and I am definitely going to be buying it now. You have totally convinced me that I need this book right away.

      I love this feature so much, Ruby!

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      1. Thank you Lucy, that's so lovely to hear!

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    3. CURLING UP WITH CLASSICS! YAY! *squeals, jumps around the room, claps hands, does a weird dance* :D

      I've been meaning to read this one for ages and you have definitely persuaded me to obtain this book as soon as possible. Symbolism, character development AND quirky characters? SOLD! This is like a book geek's dream? Aside from the book burning aspect... *shudders* D; Dystopians that are so prophetic and realistic are the most terrifying.

      Thanks for posting, Ruby! I love this feature!

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      1. N'awww thank you Zoe. And yes everything, minus the book burning, naturally, is perfect. :D

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    4. Hey Ruby i will be donig your feature were do link up the post when will be donig it

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      1. People don't normally do this feature, but if you want to, just link to my blog please! :)

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    5. FAHRENHEIT 451 sounds brilliant! This is the first I've heard of it but now you have totally convinced me to read it. BOOK BURNING, that is mortifying. Well that is a horrible enough world for me. I love a good dystopian and I like that it showcases the importance of reading. It sounds so interesting and unique. I love this feature so much, I do a little happy dance when I see a new one.

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      1. Aw thank you, I do a little happy dance when I get comments saying stuff like that. :) And yes classic dystopians are SO amazing!

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    6. Great review, Ruby. You capture the essence of Fahrenheit 451 in a way that's really easy to take in. I'm sharing your post in the hope it convinces people to read one of the best stories ever written.

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      1. Thank you so much, that's so, so lovely of you! I'm glad you think I captured the essence. ;D

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    7. Fahrenheit 451 has been on my TBR list for the longest time now! I read 1984 by George Orwell this past year and was absolutely terrified by it so I'm looking into reading more classic dystopian books. Looking forward to Fahrenheit 451! It's totally on the tip of my "to-buy" list now.

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      1. YES! 1984 is so good! :'D If you enjoyed it then you'll most probably enjoy this too. :)

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    8. I loved this book so much when I read it! I recommend that you read some of Bradbury's short stories as we did one in my English class last year and it too was brilliant - I'm sure you'd enjoy it :D x

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      1. Thanks for the recommendations! I'll look into them (I'm really excited because I didn't know about them before you said)! :D

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    9. Such a great post, ruby! :) I love your Curled Up With Classics posts. :3 I received a copy of Fahrenheit 451 for Christmas! I'm even more excited about it now- I didn't even know that was possible... :D Yay for character development!
      -Georgia :)

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      1. Hehe thanks Georgia & I hope you enjoy it!

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    10. Ooh! I've been meaning to read that book for years! Now I will definitely borrow it sometime soon :-) Thanks for the review and I love the 5 quotes you added at the end! I love quoting books, lol, and will often sticky note the pages with quotes I love when reading <3

      --Tina of The Book Landers

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      1. I never have sticky notes next to me! But if I did, I'd have one on practically every page of this book. :)

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    I really appreciate your comments. Please check back if you've asked a question!