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Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury

February 7, 2012

      Fahrenheit 451 follows a man named Montag. Montag is a fireman, but
not the kind who puts them out. Oh, no. In the world of this dystopian novel, Montag starts fires: if someone owns a book and is found out, the fire brigade is called, and his or her house is burned down. Books are forbidden. But when Montag reads a book or two on his own, his whole life goes spinning out of control.

      In only 179 pages, Bradbury packs in just about every appropriate metaphor and simile possible. That’s one of the things I love about the book. One of my favorite similes describes Montag looking at his wife’s eyes: “Two moonstones looked up at him, in the
light of his small handheld fire; two pale moonstones buried in a creek of clear water over which the life of the world ran, not touching them.” I never would have thought of eyes looking the way he describes them, but it makes glorious sense.

       Although the metaphors are awesome, sometimes I had to go back and reread them, because they were a little confusing. This is a book you can’t just skim; you have to take it slow and unpack it as you go.

      My friend read Fahrenheit 451 for her ninth grade English class this fall. They spent two months going over each page and finding all the hidden jewels— or, as Billy Collins might say, they beat the novel with a rubber hose. That just shows how much there is to unpack on each page, as well as how badly some English teachers can treat a great work of literature.

      Fahrenheit 451 is an awesome dystopian fiction that moves at a pretty good pace: not so fast that it got ahead of me, and not so slow that I got bored. I did read it a little slower most than most books, though, so I could take in the maximum magery and meaning.

       Speaking of meaning, this book has multiple themes:
       A) Don’t take what you have for granted is one, of course, because in the world of Fahrenheit 451, the government has taken away the right to think for oneself. This book taught me that thinking for myself and freedom of speech are rights that I should be grateful for.
       B) Books can be dangerous. They make people think. This means that there will always be those who want to ban certain books. We have to stand up for our right to read.

Overall, I rated this book a ten, because I loved the story, the concept, and how each character grew and developed. I especially loved the way it is written. Although it was a bit confusing at times, it was worth it. Fahrenheit 451 is surprising, moving, and, overall, an amazing book that I will read again. It’s a book that you can’t leave
this life without reading and thinking about.

By the way, Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature at which paper burns.


Random House, 179 pages

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