Lori Anderson's Reviews > Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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's review
Jun 22, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: dystopia-post-apocalyptic

** spoiler alert ** I've long been a fan of Ray Bradbury, but for some reason, this book was never assigned in school and I'd never gotten around to reading it -- criminal!

Fahrenheit 451, is, of course, the temperature at which paper burns. This is a book set in the future, and firemen no longer put out fires (in fact, they scoff at the notion that firemen of that sort even existed) -- they START fires. Specifically, they burn books.

I expected a book about a land of people fighting the firemen, huge crowds of people clamoring against the burning of these books. What shocked me is Bradbury wrote of a future where people were completely content to live with trivial knowledge and floor-to-ceiling televisions -- televisions that in fact could encompass the entire four walls of a room, where a person could "interact" with insipid and fake families in soap operas.

How sad, and terrifying.

The firemen were there to keep the status quo. Sure, there were small pockets of people who saved books, but philosophy and freedom of thought was definitely NOT encouraged. This book centers around a fireman, Montag, who suffers a crisis of thought, and he starts to save books, only to be turned in by his vapid wife. He runs away, falls in with a small band of scholars who, fearful of being caught WITH books, maintain the books in their head until a day when they hope the world will come back around.

I can't imagine a world without books. I devour them, and read virtually every day. And it's no secret that I love to write, and freedom of expression is important to me. I can't imagine living in a world where this sort of thing would happen -- and yet there are countries NOW where books are burned. This very country, the US, burned books, banned books, and in some cases, books are still banned in some schools and libraries.

I admit -- some books are vile. Books about how to make bombs, for instance, are disgusting. And yet -- the slope becomes slippery awfully darned fast. That's when I believe freedom of speech on MY part comes up. If they have the right to write such things, then *I* have the right to proclaim my thoughts about them.

So I ask you -- is there an instance when you would burn a book?

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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by John (new)

John Rasmussen The only people who burn books are totalitarian dictators or societies, because they are afraid of people who can think and form their own opinions. There is absolutely no reason to burn any book. The free market will take care of whether or not a book will be successful.

Lori Anderson Absolutely agree. Books that the general public would consider heinous are still important because they ARE considered heinous, you know? Hiding things only makes things go underground and that makes it worse.

message 3: by Juliette (new)

Juliette I (shudder) burned a textbook once. I admit it and I'd do it again. It was personal though. And I wouldn't burn all of the prints of that textbook, it was just that one. I probably would never burn another book, and I get upset when people take old books and tear them apart to make purses, and other art, but that one had to be burned.

I think the problem when it comes to burning books are the people who didn't read the books to begin with.

I do think along with writing, speech, and art, freedom of expression should include the ability to burn a book that you find offensive. Though I do understand that the burning of books in the case of this story has nothing to do with freedom of expression and is in fact the opposite. So again, the slippery slope is in fact steep.

message 4: by Corrie (new) - added it

Corrie This seems like a horror story to me!

Lori Anderson yep. especially since my BIL is a fireman!

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