Title: Fahrenheit 451
Author: Ray Bradbury
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
Guy Montag is a fireman. But he doesn’t put out fires, instead he IGNITES fires. Books are illegal in this futuristic society, and owning books and failing to comply with the law will result in not only the books being burned but your house and you as well. Guy doesn’t know any other life, but when he meets his new neighbor Clarisse, who opens his eyes to a whole new way of viewing things, he knows he can never go back to the way things were before.
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
I read this book in high school, it was required reading for sophomores. I remember enjoying it, but not really GETTING it, if that makes sense. I just picked it up again and was really struck by how much it affected me this time around. I love Ray Bradbury’s work; he writes with such precision and beauty and his stories are always so full of integrity without being preachy. This book, short as it is, is no exception. It is a terrifying scenario (particularly given the recent turn of events with the current election) which doesn’t seem too far out of the realm of possibilities, which is even scarier. Just trying to imagine a world without books is horrific! But even given the nightmarish quality of the story, it is a very enjoyable read!
The old man nodded. “Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”
“So that’s what I am.”
“There’s some of it in all of us.”