My husband’s job can be very boring at times. As he was looking through the bookshelf the other day, he told me we had a lot of girl books, and I immediately took that as, “You should totally go buy me some books!” I decided to grab some classics, and Fahrenheit 451 was one I kind of grabbed for myself. I’d heard about it and knew a little of what it was about. Since it’s a classic, I’d rather not go into Likes or Dislikes. Instead, I’d rather just go over some parts of the book that really stood out to me.
*WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD*
It was like looking through this horrible, Hellish, absolutely believable future. Even now, people are beginning to care less and less about the world around them. People will forgo the news for Facebook; we’ll “Like” a picture but we won’t actively do anything; we’ll watch atrocities happen and then ignore them because they didn’t happen to us. We’ll give a “Oh my goodness, something needs to be done!” and go right back to Farmville. It may not be at the intensity that Bradbury wrote it as, but it’s definitely there.
Clarisse: Perfectly normal in our standards, Clarisse and her family are odd in the future standards, mainly because they actually care about each other. They sit around and talk, laugh, keep the television off when most people are glued to the damn thing. She is the complete embodiment of the past (our present) and how life should be. She questions their society constantly, wondering if it was always like this. Clarisse is terrified of people her age because of how absolutely reckless they are. She was the feather Guy needed to break the camel’s back, breaking him out of his false happiness.
Their Society: Honestly, it’s us. If you took all of the shallow, I-Don’t-Care kids from high school and put them in a city, it would be the scene for Fahrenheit 451. Nobody has any substance to them. They sit in a room and watch pretty colors and loud music and ignore each other and how true is that? We own surround sound to make movies louder, we sit around with faces stuck in iPhones or iPads. We watch wars and then watch Kim K. get married. We’re switching from CNN to Here Comes Honey Boo Boo to Family Guy. We have really just stopped caring about everything but our social media. It makes me wonder if they showed the bomb on TV? Was it a live feed if they did? I highly doubt that they did, since the whole point of their society was to keep everyone dumb and happy.
Mildred: Poor Millie. She was a complete victim of her time; all she wanted was to be happy. But, as with all stories of faux happiness, she found herself absolutely bored with life. She will go to such extremes to try and remedy her boredom, from driving 200 MPH to trying to commit suicide. Mildred had fully convinced herself that she was happy with her “Family”, when what she truly yearned for was actual happiness. Imagine Mildred in our time: Would she have been a mother? Would she have worked? Who knows what kind of life she would have had.
Mildred’s Friends & Guy’s Poetry Reading: After seeing a woman burn with her books, Guy is becoming increasingly fed up with the world he lives in. So when Mildred’s awful friends come over, spewing about everything and nothing, he breaks. He can’t stand it any more. His outburst was so beautiful because of how god damn justified it was. After he reads from his books and brings one of Millie’s friends to tears, Guy then just rips into them. It was just so profound because it was the first time anyone had told them to deal with the consequences of their actions and they couldn’t handle it.
The War: The fact that Guy really only knows that there’s a war happening and literally nothing else is kind of depressing and, once again, not surprising. There are people out there who still don’t know what the Iraq War was about. People only feign interest in the news. The news outlets are always biased and show the most ridiculous stories rather than actual news. We hear about Justin Beiber more than we do about the decimation of the honey bee. We hear about what Jennifer Lawrence eats more than we hear about what’s going on in the rest of the world that actually fucking matters. But nobody cares because it isn’t happening to them.
Definitely a good read, and if you have to read it for school, it’s better than a lot of other options they give.