Saturday, April 06, 2013

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

Joe Montag lives in a strange time. But according to Ray Bradbury this is the future, 2022. Seashell Radios, a device that resembles iPod, are best past time and accompanist. Atomic wars are declared and won in a day. Relatives are characters in episodes of T.V. programs. Children are snatched from parents at an early age because people are not born to be free and equal but they are "made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against." Books are burnt and those who possess a book are arrested. Alarms are there to notify the police of the crime of reading, owning a book. Firefighters, they are "the Happiness Boys…." They "stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought." They "have our fingers in the dike. Hold steady. Don’t let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world.”

Joe Montag is a married firefighter. His life is the very definition of status quo. Up until he meets Clarisse McClellan, who claims to be seventeen and insane. "Are you happy?", she asks. She is unlike anyone Joe Montag has met before. She thinks about everything and anything. She is interested in others.

Montag a complacent resident, all of a sudden feels uneasy in his environment. He questions his own action. Why does he burn books? What is in them?

The shrewd, hateful supervisor, Captain Beatty, does all in his power to dissuade Montag questioning things. But he can't stop Montag. But in the end he fails and it is with these words he condemns him.
“Now, Montag, you’re a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical.”— Beatty

But could there be hope? One man's moment of weakness is the other's opportunity to gain strength.

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