28th March 2017

Fahrenheit 451

Key moments in the book

  • Guy Montag is a fireman who loves setting fires. He has a wife named Mildred. The 451 from the title is the number on his helmet.
  • Guy Montag meets a 17 year old girl named Clarisse McClellan. She helps him enlighten his life by asking questions about love.
  • Things get worse for Montag since he figures that his wife, tried to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills.
    Clarisse gets ran over by a speeding car. Montag loses his mind. He becomes very depressed.
  • Guy Montag’s fire chief, Beatty, shows up to his house to discuss the validity of the books he has. However, Mildred says that television is a better alternative.
  • Guy Montag meets a professor named Faber who tells him that the true value of reading books. One needs to have the freedom to act the ideas presented.
  • The firefighters receive an alarm signal for Guy Montag’s own house and Mildred leaves him for good. Captain Beatty then arrests Montag, but in the procedure Montag incinerates his captain into ashes.
  •  Montag crosses river to find people that have memorised books

Key Quotes:

  • “So it was the hand that started it all . . . His hands had been infected, and soon it would be his arms . . . His hands were ravenous.”
  • “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal . . . A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.”
  • “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores.”

Q: Ray Bradburys Fahrenheit 451 is a part of a larger category of fiction. As a dystopia it serves to communicate an idea about society. Explain the means by which Bradbury uses the conventions of dystopia to communicate his ideas about where society goes wrong.

Intro: Fahrenheit 451 is set in a dystopian future, an undesired or frightening place where society is controlled by technology and is the authors main concern for our future generations. “We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the constitution says, but everyone made equal . . . A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind.” This quote uses a metaphor to get a message across that books are dangerous like guns, get rid of them and they will be powerless.

P1: Ray Bradbury argued that americans were living in a censored world, being fed “Water poured down the spout and out the bottom and telling the public its wine when its not” In the text Fahrenheit 451, mass book burnings at a temperature of fahrenheit 451 is used as an allegory to power censorship and the burning of individualism and self knowledge in the society. Ray Bradbury hated the ignorance that the americans had as they believed the Red scare was about to happen “Our civilization is flinging itself to pieces, stand back from the centrifuge.” In terms of societys blindness to the government we can relate it back to the current world nowadays as we may also be on the brink of another war with the uprise of hate as the new president of the USA, Donald trump was elected, causing mass effect on the world but us being distracted by technology we cannot see the battles happening in Russia, North korea and USA, the most recent event with USA pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. This shows that fahrenheit 451 relates a lot to our decade and Ray Bradbury wrote this book out of fear that our generation would face similar consequences. “But you cant make people listen, they have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up around them it cant last.” – A quote of societys ignorance.

Conclusion: To conclude this book has made me realise how blind we are and how distracted we are by technology to the point where a book written in 1953 has told the future that we live in today, this is disturbing and also a wake up call for the people in our society today.

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Phoenix,

    Some of the material in this draft is well outside the domain of what we learned – which is a good thing – as long as you are yourself clear about what you’re saying. Do you know what the ‘red scare’ is, for example?

    What you have is a good introduction that explores what Bradbury was trying to say – but the task also asks you to explore HOW he says it, which means going back to the question and then adding 3 paragraphs where in each you explore aspects of the novel itself that are used to get Bradbury’s ideas across. (Options are things like: The use of technology, the tendency for people not to question their society as long as they’re distracted, the breakdown in the human spirit when our desires are met, but our lives have no purpose)

    You can then finish the piece by drawing all these ideas back into the broader comment that you’ve currently written about connections to society today.

    I would encourage you to write headings for these additional paragraphs and select quotes before you go ahead and write them.

    Speak to me if you need assistance with that.



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