Fahrenheit 451 Study Guide

Fahrenheit 451 Study Guide

Original title:
Fahrenheit 451
Published January 3rd 2006 by Plaza y Janes (first published October 1953)
ISBN 0307347974 (ISBN13: 9780307347978)

Ray Bradbury was born in the USA in the 1920s. Together with his family he had to move around quite a lot in his life and mostly taught himself through visiting the libraries. Before becoming a popular science fiction writer, he made a career of writing TV scripts and articles for science magazines.

His dystopia “Fahrenheit 451” is centered around censorship of mass media and books, as well as omnipresence of TV stations. Imagine if everything that provoked critical thinking, or any kind of thinking for that matter, was considered an enemy of the humanity. Only carefully selected TV scenarios dominate people’s reality.

What’s even more terrifying is that the ordinary citizens themselves impose this ban of books. There’s no past, because history is prohibited. There’s no present, because it is being altered by the television motives. Does this society have a chance for the future?

People are as ordinary as they can be. Females are shallow and materialistic. The protagonist Montag is a fireman whose main goal is not to protect citizens from fire, but to protect them from books.

In all this madness he meets Clarisse – she is smart, thoughtful and curious. She is different. How dare she inquire about things like goals of life, ways to achieve happiness, or reasons to fall in love? Meanwhile his own wife overdosed on sleeping pills and won’t even tell him why. There’s nothing as important for her as a new commercial script she’s given. Her girlfriends run in tears when hearing a chapter of the book Montag reads to them.

Luckily for Montag, he steals one of the books and starts to learn about the art of reading with a retired English professor. They communicate through a seashell radio. In the end he escapes to a deserted island full of book and thought criminals like himself. Each one of them has memorized the book that was destroyed.

“Fahrenheit 451”, which is the temperature at which paper burns, is definitely a must read for the concepts and ideas the author has developed in it.

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