Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Originally Published: October 1953
Genre: Dystopian

The terrifyingly prophetic novel of a post-literate future.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books.

The classic dystopian novel of a post-literate future, Fahrenheit 451 stands alongside Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World as a prophetic account of Western civilization’s enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity.

Bradbury’s powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which, decades on from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.

What a masterful writer Ray Bradbury was! I'm one of those rare people who never read this in high school. So when my high school students were reading it, I read it along with them. What a treat! The story pulled me right in, gripping me until the very end.

I know there are many dystopian books these days. There was a time when the market was quite saturated with them (probably still is). But there's a reason that Fahrenheit 451 is a classic and has stood the test of time since its publication in 1953. While it was written not long after WWII and during the McCarthy Era, it is just as relevant now as it was then. Bradbury somehow captured both his time and future generations in such a meaningful way.

The characters were also fascinating. Each plays an important part, and if you look at their depths, you get even more out of what they were saying (or not saying). But the way Bradbury uses words and phrases is the true art of this book. I was gripped by his imagery, his syntax, his symbolism, his perspective. For a story less than 200 pages long, his message came across loud and clear. Bravo!

No comments:

Post a Comment

I love comments, so please feel free to share your thoughts.