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Transcript of Fahrenheit 451
One of the most important events of the novel is when Montag, along with other firemen, burns the house of an old woman in order to destroy the books that are hidden in it. However, the old lady stays in the burning house and accepts to be burned alive with her books. This creates a significant impact on Montag and moves the story towards its climax by making him wonder about the things that are in the book, "There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a women stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing." (48) This also develops curiosity within himself and forces him to go against his rules and
a book. This later changes his way of thinking in regards to the laws in his society.
Fahrenheit 451 is fictional tale that offers a unique perspective on how the growth of technology and ignorance towards books affects the development of a country. This powerful and unsettling novel is written by Ray Bradbury. He tells us the story through a third person point of view, which enables readers to understand the perspective of all the characters. The author is not included in the story and his relationship to the novel is nothing other than the fact that this novel is based on his imagination about a society where books are forbidden.
The story takes place in twenty fourth century, in a futuristic American city, during the time of The Cold War. However, it is written in Los Angeles, California, and published sometime between 1950-1953. This is mentioned in the copyright page of the novel and also in the
section. The time and the place does not change but the protagonist does move
to a different place within the country as
the story progresses further.
The author develops the idea of censorship through the protagonist, Guy Montag . He is a thirty year old fireman who makes a living by burning books and the houses where they are illegally kept. Montag never questions the destruction and the ruin his actions produce until he meets an eccentric seventeen year old girl, Clarisse McClellan. Unlike Montag, she is curious about things and enjoys every aspect of life. She impels Montag toward a painful but necessary self-examination and introduces him to the absence of love, pleasure, and contentment in his life. Due to this, Montag becomes increasingly discontent and realizes he has been living an empty, unfulfilled life.
Clarisse serves as the secondary character of the novel because she drives the story forward by making the main character realize the consequences of his actions. She is a free-thinker who sees the world in terms of possibilities and takes pleasure from simple things like watching the
" dew on the grass in the morning" and "a man in the moon." (7) She has a strong influence on Montag since she is the first one to encourage him on his path to self-awareness. All of these things leads Montag to read a book, visit Faber, and rebel against society.
Relationship Between Two Characters
Guy Montag and Clarisse McClellan are connected by the bond of friendship. They both understand each other and share common interests. However, their thoughts and perspectives are differerent because Clarisse finds happiness in small things like "watching the sun rise" (5) and "tasting rain drops" (19) while Montag often stays busy with his job. Along with this, she has a questioning mind. Her questions, like: "Do you ever read any of the books you burn?" (5) and " Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them" (6) opens his mind and makes him question the restrictions placed upon books. Nevertheless, he admires her for her curiosity and awareness of the world around her but, at the same time, is disturbed by her accurate understanding of his empty, loveless life. The relationship between two characters have a strong significance to the novel because it takes the story to another stage by developing questions in Montag's mind and changing his way of thinking.
Ray Bradbury, the author, introduces several conflicts in the novel as the story progresses towards the end. However, one of the main conflict is developed between Montag and Clarisse. This happens when Clarisse's curiosity forces her to question Montag's work. This evokes his rebellious side and makes him question everything he has ever known.
In the novel, the author brings out a culture through introducing an independent and socialist society where individuals think only for themselves. This is shown when a fireman vigorously burns the house of an old woman without thinking about her future. This event relates to the real life as well. Sometimes people only think for their benefit without considering others. However, this way of thinking negatively effects the whole society and prevents it from prospering.
The author also develops the idea of individualism by empathizing the use of technology. Technology is so fierce in the novel that it is given the power of human emotion, as seen in the quote : "All of those chemical balances and percentages on all of us here in the house are recorded in the master file downstairs. It would be easy for someone to set up a partial combination on the Hound's 'memory,' a touch of amino acids, perhaps. That would account for what the animal did just now. Reacted toward me." (24) The growth of technology effects the story since it prevents the characters from improving their relationships with each other.
My View of the Novel
Fahrenheit 451 is a well written, focused, and engaging novel. To make the story more interesting the author uses strong imagery, "With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head..."(61). He also uses figurative languages such as: " It was like coming into the cold marbled room of mausoleum" (simile on pg.9), "Montag was cut in half (metaphor on pg.34), and "The land rushed at him, a tidal wave" (personification on pg. 145). All of these makes the flow of sentences smooth. The vocabulary of the novel is complex but the details in the sentences makes it understandable.
The novel also displays several symbolism. The "fire" is an interesting symbol because it symbolizes two different things. Through the firemen, who burn books and wear the number "451" on their helmets, fire symbolizes destruction. (451°F is the temperature at which paper burns.) Yet at the same time, Clarisse reminds Montag of candle-light, and so fire, when controlled, symbolizes the flickering of self-awareness and knowledge.
There are many strong sentences and phrases used in the novel to make the content of the story more powerful. On page forty eight, author says, "There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a women stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing." This phrase mostly attracts the readers since it shows the change in the character's way of thinking and realization towards the importance of the books.
The climax is located in the Part Three, "Burning Bright" (107-158), where Guy Montag is taken to his own house by Captain Beatty to burn his hidden books and the house itself. The frustration and fear along with the threats from Beatty, increases Montag's anger and eventually makes him kill the Captain. A major conflict which led to this event was between Montag and Beatty. After knowing that Montag has books hidden in his house, Beatty scolds and threatens him by sending the mechanical hound after him. The conflict is resolved when Montag escapes from the city and finds a group of men who agrees to support him on his mission of re-introducing books in his soceity.
Fahrenheit 451 is a novel that centers on several themes at once. One major theme is censorship. Through the novel, the author introduces a society where owning and reading books is illegal. A reason given to this is that the minority groups are offended by what is in the literature and believe that reading often creates ineffective questions which makes individuals rebel against each other and the government. People in the society were fully influenced by the minorities and followed their beliefs which eventually led to a legal ban on books. The ignorance towards the books gives this novel a "dark mood" since the characters are guided with false information.
The author also explains the idea of censorship by stating that the "fast moving cars", "loud music", and "massive advertisements" (14) creates an over stimulated society without room for literature, self-reflection, or appreciation of nature. This is described through an undeveloped relationship between Montage and his wife, Mildred. Milldred often stays busy with her "television family" (25) and does not care about the events occurring around her. This shows the lack of exchanging ideas and communication between individuals of the same household.
While reading the novel, I made a connection to the story. Being connected with the novel helped me understand the author's massage better. It also enabled me to experience the feelings of all characters since the novel is told in a third person point of view. One important thing I learned is, "you should not let others control your mind." It is important to make decisions using your own knowledge and logic rather than following others.