Synopsis: 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.
For the Writer: In Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury’s writing style seems as austere as the story’e setting. It is a lesson in ascetic narrative. Using sparse sentences, Bradbury enhances the theme of the book, which is the deprivation of a society that has eschewed books and the thoughts living within them. Bradbury provides a great lesson in suspense in how he mounts a growing threat that belies a benign society. One of my favourite aspects of the writing is how Bradbury constructs the narrative and dialogue as if the character is slowly waking from a drug induced delirium and becoming aware of a harsher, yet vital reality.
The story becomes somewhat overshadowed or hijacked by pedagogy, in this case a humanist ideology, which states if a society would only absorb the corpus of past knowledge as recorded, we would become truly human. I have mentioned other books that suffer to varying degrees of this malady, which, in my opinion detracts from the story or in the worse case derails it. I have read in the submission guidelines of many publishers, “We do not want books which are intended to teach a lesson,” a fault which even the greatest of authors are sometimes guilty.
Make no mistake. This is one of my all-time favourite works, warts and all. A must read for anyone considering writing in the genre of sci-fi or fantasy.
Nothing like the movie by the way. Some Key elements are missing from the movie just as in the movie version of Yann Martel’s Life of Pi.