Book Condemned to Burn for Encouraging Rebellion

Fahrenheit 451, the Temperature at Which Paper Burns


Hitler Youth Burn Books 1938

Have you ever thought of a world where mechanical dogs could inject you with morphine simply because you read a book? Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written by Ray Bradbury about a dystopian world without books. The main character, Guy Montag, is a fireman who begins to question the book burning policy and deals with great suffering as a result.

The characters all have to follow the same rules. They must wear headphones at night, they have cameras everywhere in their homes, they may not be in possession of any books, and free thought is prohibited. These people go through life being controlled by the government and they don’t question it, some because they are content, and others because they are afraid.

In the story, a fireman’s job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, meaning books and the houses bearing them. Mechanical dogs inject those who have read books with morphine to make it easier for police officers to arrest them. Montag’s wife doesn’t seem to question this and seems content with her life and her “ television family” and so does Montag, until he meets his neighbor Clarisse. You’ll have to read the book to learn more.

One of the most intriguing quotes that provides insight into Montag’s character is, “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”

He is a steadfast fireman (of the new type), and his sudden change of view after a few visits with Clarisse isn’t very realistic. It’s hard to understand this change in opinion when the first thing stated in Chapter 1 is, “ It was a pleasure to burn.”  Bradbury’s use of detailed description can also make the text difficult to read. Other than this, the book and storyline are very well written.

Fahrenheit 451 gives a very important message, that no matter how boring books may seem, they still have a great impact on past, present, and future society. It gives us an opportunity to read about a world in the future, much like ours, but where the government in a society encroaches on their people with strict laws, and no one seems to question this because it is how they were taught to live.

In addition, Bradbury created this story to warn current and future generations of the dangers of technology. He created it because he believed that technology would take over the world and destroy it. He is right on one account, technology has in fact, become popular, but the determination on whether that is good or bad depends on opinion. The important moral of Fahrenheit 451 is that without books, we wouldn’t know all that we do. We wouldn’t know history, we wouldn’t know the Bible. We wouldn’t know math, science, or linguistics. We wouldn’t be the society we are today without books, and it is important that we cherish them. This story became a partial reality was during World War 2 when Adolf Hitler demanded that books be burnt. He did this to keep his followers in the dark. He knowingly induced his followers to believe what was false, and this caused the death and suffering of millions. He knew that it would be easier to lie to people if he took away knowledge.

Fahrenheit 451 is an excellent book! Give it a try.