“I did not write Fahrenheit 451, it wrote me… The typewriter and I were Siamese twins, joined at the fingertips” - Ray Bradbury
This is a dystopian book about a future where books are illegal and are sought out and burnt. Firemen are tasked with burning books. They start fires instead of putting them out. There is also war and mass ignorance, one of them causing more problems than the other.
In the Fahrenheit 451 world, technology made life very simple, therefore people did not need deep knowledge of anything. Only simple and vain knowledge was encouraged.
Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fixing nuts and bolts?
Fahrenheit 451 has some similarities with Brave New World. One of the similarities is that in both dystopian worlds, individualism is discouraged to avoid competition. The leaders decided to kill unhappiness by killing comparison.
We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy.
Many dystopian books have some part of history that’s rewritten in the future. I think it is likely that the more society advances, the less important the “truth” becomes. In these books, the truth matters much less than the narrative. I feel that is the case in the world even at the moment.
“There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there.”
“We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
“Technology, mass exploitation, and minority pressure carried the trick, thank God… thanks to them, you can stay happy all the time…”
“That’s all we live for, isn’t it? For pleasure, for titillation?”
“As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over, so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over”
“So now do you see why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life”
“The things you are looking for. Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent of them is in a book”
“Those who don’t build must burn”
“You’re afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by”
“If you hid your ignorance, no one will hit you and you and you’ll never learn”
“The dignity of truth is lost with much protesting”
“The Sun burned every day. It burned Time”
“I hate a Roman named Status Quo… stuff your eyes with wonder… live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds”
I enjoyed reading this book. The style of writing was a bit new to me. I particularly enjoyed the monologues from the different characters in the book.
One thing I found really interesting about this timeless classic is that Ray Bradbury wrote it in nine days.
“The early version took exactly nine days and I spent $9.80 on it”
I did not create a playlist for this book, but coincidentally I listened to a lot of Fireboy’s APOLLO during the same period I was reading it. I promise the whole "fire" thing is unrelated. Pun not intended.
Cover photo by Museums Victoria.