Type: Literary Analysis
Pages: 3 | Words: 640
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

Fahrenheit 451 is an American novel written by a famous writer known as Ray Bradbury. Ray is known to be the most creative and of varied careers in American literature. He was born in the town of Waukegan, Illinois in the year 1920. His first writing skills were discovered at the age of 21 years when he published a short story. Fahrenheit 451 was published in 1953 during the time of the campaign led by a U.S. Senator by the name Joseph McCarthy. Joseph bragged himself in every highly-placed politician and was rebellious to every author and movie writer which made many creative persons in Hollywood to get out of business. At this kind of cultural moment, Fahrenheit 451 was significant with its anti-censorship message. The government limited the creativity of the people and their freedom. Bradbury based on an individual point of view uses Fahrenheit 451 to go against what he believed to be the bragging of editors, who through their authoritarian power over books they printed, tamper with the originality and inventiveness of the writers. It elaborates on the dangers of censorship and government control. It was though criticized in various school systems because of the emergence of words like ‘hell’ and ‘damn’ in the novel and, therefore, it was banned in America (Bradbury & Bloom, 34.

The title of the novel is, ‘Fahrenheit’ refers to the thought temperature at which book paper burns. Bradbury said that the “firemen” burnt the papers “for the good of humanity’’ in the issues that occurred in the American society.

The novel had been first published in a shorter form as ‘The Fireman’. It talks about the future of American society. The book revolves around a character called Guy Montag who is thirty years old and is described as a fireman experiencing a rational development. Montag begins as a naïve person with great pleasure in his work (of burning books) and ever asks why things are happening and why they are the way they are. He and his wife Mildred live contentedly. All that Mildred wants is to make her life complete by watching television, in order to interact with the characters she watches in her living room. After some time Montag starts questioning his assumptions and begins a life full of hurting and goes against his exploitive society.

Guy believes in what he is taught and respects his fire boss takes himself as a happy person. He then meets Clarisse who takes Montag’s joy away which becomes his turning point to realize the problems of the world and his own discontented desires for understanding, way of life, and relationship with other people. He looks for friends and mentors and finds answers to the prohibited perspectives of history, way of life and literature in the books he used to burn.  He then seems to believe that he knows himself and knows the direction to take. The other characters that have been used to build the book are Captain Beatty, who runs the firehouse, professor Faber who disapproves the exploitative society, Granger, a mechanical hound, an old woman who is one of the firemen’s fury victim, Black and Stoneman, Mrs. Phelps and Mrs. Bowles.

Bradbury in his book brings out various themes such as censorship, ignorance versus knowledge, life and death. He also uses animal imagery, for example, the burning books are compared to birds flying away. He also includes many religious references in the novel such as the Bible being saved from the old woman’s house; Montag remembers the passages he read from the Bible like Ecclesiastes 3:1 “to everything there is a season”.

Fahrenheit 451 has been a book to be remembered in history in its aim to change the society from the exploitation of the minority to one of freedom and self-discovery and a place where a person is able to show his/her own potentials.

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