Fahrenheit 451: Imagery In Ray Bradbury’s Novel

April 27, 2022 by Essay Writer

“There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”

Much awaited protagonist‘s ultimate discernment was ebullient and welcoming to a fervent reader like me. This internationally acclaimed, award- winning dystopian novel stars with leaping flames where the protagonist Guy Montag, fireman by profession finds the house (under allegation of keeping books), burning in fire gratifying. “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” Opines he, by further describing his profession implying, “Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn’em to ashes, then burns the ashes.” This book forces readers to ween on themes around which the story revolves like alienation and connection. The human race is alienated from each other though they have technology (to connect people around the world). “nobody knows anyone. Strangers come and violate you.”. people have lost the essence of human relation so much so that Montag can’t remembers how he met his wife Mildred or the last time they had a decent conversation about their relationship. Censorship on thought either written or spoken form. The totalitarian regime has barricaded human mind by burning the books and brainwashing it with big screen televised propaganda.

Ray Bradbury ‘s Fahrenheit 451 and George Orwell’s 1984 deals with same themes where the dystopian oppressors persistently subverts the people ; their freedom of thoughts with censorship and technology is falsely used to brainwash citizen’s mind to further prevent free thoughts to grow. “It’s a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.

The protagonist however meets different endings where one ends in hopeful tone while the other one ends in bleak. Francis Bacon would have debated against dystopian tactics of books and print media censorship for “reading maketh a full man; conference a ready man; and writing an exact man.” But totalitarian are “crafty men (who) condemn studies…” for they don’t want population of full, ready and exact men. Late gentleman however would have sincerely appreciated professor Faber’s efforts to make Montag realize the power of words since, “Words have power”.

It’s a sublime novel. The language is extraordinary. In an interview with Universal Studios Home Videos, United States Of America, Bradbury disclosed that the book was written in nine days and costed him a nine dollar and eighty cents, basement of UCLA library witnessed the book grow from few words to a 5000 words novel. “ dime novel”, is what he called it. 

When asked about the inspirations or influences in writing this masterpiece of work, Bradbury recalls the incident when he heard Hitler burning books and read about various libraries in Alexandria beings burned, book burning under fascist regime adding that these facts made him emotional as he has a special place for books and libraries in his heart stating that he never made to a college and was self educated as he used to read in library. He was vitally concerned and upset to what was going in the world. The character in the story and how they come about have also a story behind them. Guy Montag, Montag means Monday, symbol of both creation and destruction. However the writer picked it was because of the famous paper company during his days. Contrary to this he made the character search literature, art and books, put them in a pile and burns them.

Faber, the philosophers was some pencil maker as Bradbury recalls it. Well he quite creatively used these characters stand symbolic to efforts made by some conscious people in restoration of knowledge. Bradbury describes his books as an accident and events so unplanned that they left some or the other marks on his mind. Writing books has been passion, madness and great love to him, well we agree on that too.

The books starts in a blissful blaze, however it is latter on that we realize the professional description given by Montag is nothing but a cheap thrill of watching things burn to ashes. Instead of putting off the fire he starts it. Insisting us to understand how victims try to preserve their mind in the world where knowledge, independent thought, curiosity and expression are examined under lens and filtered further. The society painted here is in 1953 but the futuristic farsightedness of author is what blows away the mind of readers. Be it in terms of technological advancements or world polarization.


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