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Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (1953)

Reviewed by Magill Book Review: Guy Montag, a fireman whose job it is to burn books, begins to doubt his society's high-speed, hedonistic way of life when he meets Clarisse McClellan, a young girl whose family lives a slower, more graceful existence. Clarisse shares her values with him until the McClellans mysteriously disappear.As Montag's dissatisfaction increases, he seeks out a retired English professor named Faber for support. However, Montag's chief, Beatty, correctly suspects Montag of being a secret reader and book collector. After Beatty burns down Montag's house, he must flee civilization and, on Faber's advice, find a group of outcasts who have dedicated themselves to memorizing whole books while their society destroys itself in a pointless war. Though the novel focuses on a book burner, it is more than a diatribe against censorship. Rather, it pictures a society, not far removed from our own, in which books and the leisure, thought, and tolerance necessary to enjoy them are no longer valued. The firemen simply enforce the will of a people who desire only conformity, unrelated facts, and immediate gratification. The most frightening aspect of the story is the portrayal of Montag's wife, Mildred, and her friends, who live through electronic entertainment devices. The debasement of the quality of life through the misuses of technology and the neglect of literature is a persistent theme in Bradbury's fiction, but this novel remains his fullest treatment of the subject. The lyric power and symbolic richness of the book make this Bradbury's most satisfactory long fiction and a classic of speculative literature. The title of the novel is derived from the combustion temperature of paper: 451 degrees Fahrenheit.

Link to the review source: NoveList Plus - http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=neh&tg=UI&an=000927&site=novp-live

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