Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

My apologies for not posting in quite a while. Recently I have finished reading what I think to be one of the twentieth century's most important books, Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury does an excellent job of depicting what happens to a society when knowledge is suppressed, books censored, and libraries no longer exist.

Quick review of the plot:
The book is set at some point in the future. Guy Montag is a fireman who burns books and begins to wonder what is in the books he is burning. Thus begins his downfall. The story unfolds with Mr. Montag's meeting with Clarrisse who begins to open a world for Mr. Montag he never knew possible.

At the end of the book Bradbury quite elequently gives a dialogue on the main points in his work and why he wrote the book in the manner that he wrote it. Let's talk literary theories for just a moment. Bradbury most definately comes from a New Criticism perspective, the idea that it is what is in the text that counts. He states, at the end of the book, a number of things he would have changed had he allowed himself to re-write the book. However, he also says that in re-writing the book it would be a totally new book, and would have to be titled differently. Bradbury takes to task various different minorities for their criticism of his books in that he is too far in one direction or the other. In essence he states in his appendices that he is an author who wrote about something he cared about and if those minority groups want their points of view represented, then perhaps they should write their own book. This book is a fairly quick read, but extremely important. It's hard to believe it has come so far from it's meager beginnings as dime novel.
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