Guy Montag was a fireman whose job it was to start fires, and he enjoyed his job. He had been a fireman for ten years, and he had never questioned the pleasure of the midnight runs nor the joy of watching pages consumed by flames … never questioned anything until he met a seventeen-year-old girl who told him of a past when people were not afraid.
Then he met a professor who told him of a future in which people could think. And Guy Montag suddenly realized what he had to do …
I have been wanting to read this book for a while now as it is considered to be an old style dystopian but also because the idea of a society where books are considered dangerous is such an interesting one.
This book is in three parts. The first is where we meet Guy and he meets his new neighbour who changes how he thinks. He comes to realise that he isn’t happy with his life but also the idea that Guy might already have a secret.
In the second part of the book Guy really starts to explore the world of books. He is questioning everything he knows about his society and is ignorant the dangerous of his behaviour. As a result he goes to meet with a retired professor that he convinces to try to help him make a difference. The professor however is wise and tries to make Guy realise he needs to be careful.
Sadly however it is too late and in the final part Guy has to deal with the consequences of his actions. Though things might not be quite as terrible as they seem.
I’m not sure what to make of this book as a story. I felt there was a lack of development of the actual world that the reader gets to find out about and this made it hard for me to picture the story as it went along. I also found in places I got a bit confused almost if things were moving at the wrong pace.
On saying that as an idea I found it really interesting and it was these discoveries throughout the book that I enjoyed. Bradbury picked up on things that we are already seeing in our society through Montag as he began to despise his role as a fireman. This started with little comments about how everyone talks about the same things and it’s about nothing but grew into questioning why we should be ignorant about the suffering in the world so we can ignore the probable and just be happy.
Some of the other characters in the book also brought in important issues such as that it isn’t the books that are important but the lessons we learn from them. We get to experience so much more from reading but it is also important to use that in everyday life though sadly many people don’t. I also enjoyed the comment about the power of being able to shut a book. In Montag’s society they have whole rooms as TV and people listen to what is being said without turning off is the disagree. Books however are able to be shut and this doesn’t help when government wants the public to listen.
What was also powerful however was the way they people who did read consider themselves. They didn’t see them self as above other but they lived their lives patiently waiting on their time to bring change.
The idea of books being banned is just ridiculous to me. The story of a society where it happens however can have quite a powerful message. I can understand why this is a classic, there is a lot to learn from it. I wouldn’t say this is a book for leisure but it is definitely one worth reading.