Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
I was looking for a small book to read for our trip to China and decided to get Fahrenheit 451 on a whim. It was small and compact, and it was inexpensive. Hehe. I was actually thinking that if by chance I lose this book during the trip, it would totally be okay for me. But of course, the chances of me losing a book would be very slim.
Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel documenting the enlightenment of Guy Montag, a fireman living a bland life, who is responsible for destroying and burning books which are considered illegal. He has never questioned why they burn books until one day he meets Clarisse, an odd teenage neighbor who questions life’s eccentricities that makes him wonder the purpose of doing what they do. Out of curiosity, Guy steals a book from one of their burning sessions and starts reading, questioning the reasons for burning books. As a fireman, he is not supposed to defy their responsibilities as guardians of their community by making sure that all printed materials are turned to ashes. Guy’s little rebellion does not go unnoticed and he is then pursued for breaking the law.
Honestly, one of the main questions I had while reading the novel was why the heck would they ban and burn books in the first place?! When Bradbury was writing the books, maybe he was thinking of the future possibility of books being banned or deemed with no value? Anyway, the way he thought of the future was not off the mark. To be fair, a lot of people nowadays would rather sit in front of their screens and do whatever with their handheld gadgets. People have been taken over by their obsession with technology and most people are too busy to actually go outside. But the difference with Bradbury’s vision with our reality is we still give value to our history and the printed works. Montag’s world was too into the present and the future that they refuse to even acknowledge the past. They’re too afraid to relive the history of the world and too obsessed with escaping what was written in the books. They’re afraid of knowledge and would rather live in a world of fiction and slapstick entertainment.
I’m glad that Bradbury’s vision for the future did not come true. I’m happy to still have a shelf full of books and not be afraid of having them burned down by firemen because I’d still prefer a book over a Kindle.