am 18. August 2006
This somber book, with its theme of government-encouraged anti-intellectualism, was written during an age when "eggheads" were suspected of being subversive somehow, maybe even godless commies. This distrust of intelligence and non-conformity is taken to the extreme by Bradbury, with stark and memorable results. By discouraging education and all forms of intelligent discourse, the future government is able to control the population not merely by force or threats, but by providing an endless flow of mindless entertainment, which (nearly) everyone happily accepts. Like sheep before the slaughter, the placated citizenry of Fahrenheit 451 simply doesn't know any better than to believe what the government pronounces at face value. This perverse form of "mind control"- enforced by keeping minds happily engaged in only the most trivial of pursuits- works only too well, since it is far easier to remain ignorant than struggle to form an opposing opinion that might require courage to express. And by burning the last remaining learning tools that threaten its empire- books- the government tries to erase the possibility that anyone could stir an uprising based on ancient philosophical principles such as democracy, liberty, and self-determination.
Ignorance becomes not only bliss, but a frightening way of life.
Bradbury is one of the original "Golden Age" science fiction writers, and that shows in this book. There's the element of the fantastic in the everyday gadgets here, more speculation and wonder that science. For this reason, it doesn't quite have the realistic edge that most mainstream fiction has, although the philosophical themes in the book elevate it to mainstream status. But if you like the "gee-whiz" in your science fiction, then that's another plus.
Mark Wakely, author of An Audience for Einstein
am 1. September 2006
Es gibt kaum ein zeitgemäßeres Werk, das unsere Zeit der schnellen und oberflächlichen Freuden kritisiert. Natürlich hatte sich Ray Bradbury vor 50 Jahren sich alles oder zumindest das Meiste frei erdacht. Das gibt dem Buch noch mehr an Wert. Mit dem Buch habe ich plötzlich gelernt Sachen zu sehen, die ich bisher einfach übersehen hätte.
Seine Zukunftsvision scheint langsam Wirklichkeit zu werden. Und das ist sehr erschreckend. Seit Langem beobachte ich wie die zivilisierte Menschheit sich immer hermetischer verriegelt und der Seele, dem freien Gedanken keinen Raum mehr läßt sich zu entwickeln. Daher wird der Mensch ein oberflächliches Tier, ohne Werte und ohne die Möglichkeit jemals wirklich glücklich zu werden.
Letztlich sollte jeder mal sich hinsetzen und seine Augen schließen, sich der Geschwindigkeit dieser Welt entreissen und einfach mal reflektieren. Mit sich Selbst sein. Und mit anderen. Wenn man es schafft mit seinen Freunden über lange Zeit zusammenzusitzen, ohne ein Wort austauschen zu müssen, hat man die Definition von Freundschaft gefunden.
Nun, das sind nur einige, wenige der Gedanken die mir bei der Lektüre dieses Buches gekommen sind. Ich habe seit langer Zeit kein so prägendes Buch mehr gelesen. Speziell für Kinder in der Pubertät zu empfehlen, die sicher große Freude darin finden werden und eine kleine Anleitung um zu lernen das eigene Leben selbst zu gestalten!!
Faszinierend fand ich das Interview mit Ray Bradbury am Ende des Buches. Er ließt sich wie ein junger Mensch, wobei er doch mittlerweile so alt ist. Er und dieses Buch sind einfach wunderbar!
am 25. Mai 2005
I am teaching "Fahrenheit 451" as the example of a dsytopian novel in my Science Fiction class, although it is certainly one of the most atypical of that particular type of narrative discourse. Compared to such heavy weight examples as George Orwell's "1984," Aldous Huxley's "Brave New World," Yevgeny Zamiatin's "We," Ray Bradbury's imaginative meditation on censorship seems like light reading. But the delicious irony of a world in which firemen start fires remains postent and the idea of people memorizing books so they will be preserved for future generations is compelling. Of course, there have been more documented cases of "book burning," albeit in less literal forms, since "Fahrenheit 451" was first published in 1953, so an argument can be made that while all the public debate was over how close we were the Orwellian future envisioned in "1984," it is Bradbury's little parable that may well be more realistic (especially in terms of the effects of television).
The novel is based on a short story, "The Fireman," that Bradbury published in "Galaxy Science Fiction" in 1951 and then expanded into "Fahrenheit 451" two years later. However, those who have studied Bradbury's writings caw trace key elements back to a 1948 story "Pillar of Fire" and the "Usher II" story from his 1950 work "The Martian Chronicles." Beyond that, there is the historical record of the Nazis burning books in 1933. The story is of a future world in which everyone understands that books are for burning, along with the houses in which they were hidden. Guy Montage is a fireman who has been happy in his work for ten years, but suddenly finds himself asking questions when he meets a teenage girl and an old professor.
"Fahrenheit 451" is not only about censorship, but also about the inherent tension in advanced societies between knowledge and ignorance. Reading this novel again I am reminded about Pat Paulsen's editorial on the old "Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour" (a series well acquainted with the perils of censorship) about how we might enjoy freedom of speech in this country but we do not enjoy freedom of hearing because "there is always the danger of something being said." Censorship, in practical terms, is the effort of those who do not want others to hear what they find offensive, for whatever reasons, basically because it leads to people thinking thoughts they do not want them to be thinking. Through the rambling diatribes of Captain Beatty, Bradbury makes this point quite clear to his readers.
Even though this is essentially a novella, Bradbury's work retains the charm of a short story. The recurring use of animal imagery throughout the story, the use of the mythic ideas of the salamander and the phoenix, make "Fahrenheit 451" more poetic than any other dystopian work. Even if it is predominantly a one note argument regarding censorship, it is impossible to deny that Bradbury makes a clear and convincing case for his position. Besides, there is something to be said for any work that insures that beyond the point at which water freezes the only other recognizable number on the Fahrenheit scale is the point at which book paper starts to burn.
am 19. Dezember 2007
In Fahrenheit 451 (the temperature at which books burn, for the curious), the Ray Bradbury evokes a terrifying America similar to our own in all respects but one- the fireman there burn books. With the aid of a mysterious girl, Clarice, who says she is "seventeen and crazy," fireman Guy Montag chooses to defy society and is forced to run for sanctuary, even as a nuclear Armageddon approaches. Bradbury's love of books is evident in his theme, and his love of language is evident in his linguistic acrobatics. Anyone with a burning love of books should read Fahrenheit 451- I'd also recommend reading the mesmerising and highly evocative novel The Fates by Tino Georgiou--it is truly a masterpiece
am 1. August 2000
I just read "Farenheit 451" for the first time recently, and found many of the observations about censorship quite relevant. However, as a science fiction story, what may have been riveting in the early 1950s seems a bit tame by today's standards. Particularly interesting is Bradbury's vision of the evolution of television, which of course was still in its infancy at the time he wrote the story. The idea of a room in which the visual image surrounds you on all sides sounds a projection screen TV owner's fantasy. Bradbury's vision of a totalitarian society is as scary as anything out of "1984," but ultimately Bradley was mistaken in believing that television could pacify the masses for totalitarianism. In fact, instant communications has made a totalitarian government, which relies on total control of information, less likely. The book is brief, checking in at a quickly read 160 pages. And this edition features a couple of scenes Bradbury wrote later on that were not featured in the original novel.
am 14. März 2004
"Fahrenheit 451" presents a state whose organisation guarantees happiness for everyone. Isn't that what all of us strive for, happiness? Isn't that what all children ask for, 24-hour entertainment? Yes, it is. So how stupid Montag must be that he wants all this destroyed. Now it's your turn. I instantly ask you: Do not commit the same blunder! Take the book and burn it! It is the only thing it deserves because otherwise it will take happiness away from you. Burn it! Burn it right now!
But wait, just a second. What is it, I wonder, something so marvellous, so wonderful that Montag is willing to give everything else up for it. It is something we still have and take for granted, something we are going to lose if we do not pay attention. "Free will" we call it.
This thought-provoking novel will wake you up to ignorance. It confronts all readers alike with the question how far it is away and what can be done to prevent it.
"Fahrenheit 451" is a highly entertaining book. But at the same time it demonstrates that literature does not only have the function to entertain the readers but to make people alert to threatening developments.
But can this progress really be stopped?
I can only too well imagine Mildred as my granddaughter and I feel ashamed at the thought of it.
I like the book because it is, in my opinion, quite realistic and therefore equally shocking. So it made me open my eyes for a second and look upon the world differently. Nevertheless, I believe that books will not need to be burnt. People themselves will stop reading. This way no bad power will take human's free will. They will indeed give it away voluntarily. That is why I doubt that it is really effective to write utopian books like "F 451" because these who tend to become non-thinkers will not read them and these who will read them do not tend to become non-thinkers. But this is another cup of tea.
My favourite part of the book is the beginning when Montag gradually launches to grasp life, especially the conversations with Clarisse. "Are you happy?" , Clarisse asks Montag, but at the same time the question is addressed to the reader. I love that question. It could be compared to the routined "How are you?" - a question that most of all deserves an answer, even so seldom gets one. Searching for an answer, you regain total consciousness. In our world with more work and less time people seem to forget very often to live. Clarisse brings home to them that they should relax for a moment and look at the world, perceive it intensively as there is life and pleasure in everything. In that respect our society today resembles the one in "F 451" very much. "I feel bored." - perhaps one of the best known sentences. Does it really make a difference whether you watch TV on one or on four walls? Take a look at TV statistics. The mass of the people spend half of their lives in front of the television ( - the other half sleeping ...). Furthermore, I was very amused by the portrayal of marriage as it goes totally in line with the picture of it I have on my mind. Who calls "F 451" utopian? From my view, it is a contemporary history book!
"I did not cry at death but at not crying at death" is my absolutely favourite sentence in the novel. It reflects Montag's mental state as well as how unemotional people are at his time. On the other hand it again also well illustrates that it does not take place somewhen in the distant future. Already nowadays people become more and more unemotional. We have not experienced hunger or poverty. We get almost everything we want. As we do not know real pain, torture and yearning we feel less intensively.
All in all I think this is a very good novel so
read it, read it today - it might be forbidden tomorrow!
am 28. August 2001
In Ray Bradburys Fehrenheit 451 wird eine Gesellschaft dargestellt, in der alle Leute vom Staat mehr oder weniger ruhiggestellt sind und das Denken verlernt haben. Alle elementaren Beduerfnisses sollen befriedigt und jeder soll zufrieden sein, nur nachgedacht und nachgefragt werden soll nicht. Deshalb werden auch alle Buecher vernichtet, die die Menschen zum Selberdenken verleiten.
Gerade in der heutigen Gesellschaft, in der es vielen immer nur um Spass geht, finde ich das Buch wieder sehr aktuell. Bradbury hat hier eine Entwicklung vorausgesehen, wie sie leider (natuerlich nur in Ansaetzen) wirklich geschehen ist. Insofern kann ich nur empfehlen, es zu lesen und darueber zu diskutieren. Aber auch, wer das nicht moechte, findet in dem Buch eine solide SF-Geschichte vor. Lesenswert nicht nur fuer SF-Fans!
am 28. Januar 2012
Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most famous works of science fiction, and with "Brave New World" and "1984" represents one of the most memorable and haunting dystopias. In a future world, books are banned and firemen actually set fires instead of extinguishing them. The state exercises a form of social control through controlling what sort of information people have access to. It turns out that not all books are banned, only those that we would today consider "great works" - Plato, Shakespeare, The Bible, Darwin, etc. For me one of the biggest surprises about Fahrenheit 451 was the rationale that was offered for the burning of those books. In a nutshell, they offended politically correct sensibilities and the authorities felt that they would undermine the social cohesion. This expunging of the classics from the culture has an uncanny resonance with the attempts over past few decades to expunge them from the undergraduate liberal arts curriculum. And rationale is also similar: these books are not "diverse" enough and may offend the sensibilities of an ever-increasing list of "minorities." It is hard not to wonder if a milder, softer version of dystopian future that Bradbury was worried about in the early 1950s has not in fact arrived.
Bradbury's writing and ideas are somewhere between those of George Orwell and Philip K. Dick. His style is very engaging, and even poetic. His writing is at its best when one of his characters engages in a prolonged monolog. However, the plot development could use some improvement. There is very little in terms of transition from one scene to the next, and most scenes are overly compressed. It is very hard to follow the plot developments at times. Nonetheless, Bradbury is a wonderful stylist and unlike much of science fiction this book is a pleasure to read on a purely literally level as well as for its sweeping ideas.
As a last note, I found it incredibly ironic that I read this book on Kindle. Based on this alone I am fairly optimistic that reading and great books will not only survive but in fact thrive well into the 21st century.
am 19. November 2007
Fahrenheit 451 takes place in an unspecified future time where books are forbidden and thinking and speaking independently is very dangerous. It is the world of Guy Montag, a fireman who burns down houses where illegal books are kept or hidden. But the most people in this society do not read books anyway. Mostly they only watch television on wall-sized screens avoiding profound conversations about their life and the society.
All seems so superficial and hectically and soon you start thinking about our society today and find the parallels in her contemporary development. Bradbury creates an awful view of the future (he wrote that book in 1953) that we’re afraid of ourselves. So many people get into stupid talk shows or senseless action thriller but books are alien objects for them. But forward …
As Montag walks home from work late at night, he meets Clarisse McClellan, his 17 year old neighbour. Quickly he notices that she is an abnormal girl with her strange questions and her unusual love of people and nature. But he is fascinated by her and don’t condemn her like others do. Montag starts to think about things he never noticed seriously and so Clarisse slowly begins to open his eyes to the emptiness of his life.
Bradbury writes the story of his characters with much empathy and tries to bring them very close to his reader however he never evaluates their acting. He only tells us a story and let us draw a conclusion.
A few days later, Montag hears that Clarisse has been killed by a speeding car. Montag’s dissatisfaction with his life increases, and he begins to search for a solution in some hidden books that he has stolen during his fire applications.
His boss Captain Beatty visits him and tries to explain why books are forbidden and that Montag have to return them. But he can not convince Montag so easily. When Beatty forces him to burn down his own house he run scared and escapes with some of the books. After a chase full of action Montag goes into hiding and tries to contact other book keeper hoping that they will have some answers for him…
…but I don’t want to blab out to much.
Bradbury succeeded here with a profound story which convinced me absolutely. Not only his spelling style and his description of the things add to that. He constructed a story with tension and food for thought it allows everyone to build his own view of this subject which is not absolutely easy to understand. But I loved that, a book with demand and deep sense for reflecting on it also when you finished it.
am 3. März 2000
This Book Burns Your Brain!
Ray Bradbury fires out another hit with Fahrenheit 451. This science fiction novel captures a society where books are outlawed. Fahrenheit 451 tingles your senses in trying to imagine a world with no written literature. Trying to imagine a society without any books is mind boggling and upsetting. Just think of how books effect our everyday lives. For instance, you wouldn't be reading this right now because I wouldn't be allowed to read this book and write about it. Bradbury paints a realistic image about a fictional society that replaces books with television because reading books or having them in your possession is illegal. The thing that is so realistic about this society that Bradbury creates is that it could very easily be the society that we live in. Our society spends so many hours watching television and watching movies that one day we could question the value of books and what they bring to our lives. The government controls censors of what we watch on television and one day they could prevent us from reading books because they have the power to do so. Guy Montag, the protagonist of the story, is a firefighter who instead of extinguishing fires, sets them. Books are supposed to be his enemy and he sets his enemy on fire with kerosene as his fuel. After Guy meets a girl named Clarisse McClellan, he starts to question the world that he lives in. He starts to wonder if books do have any real value like Clarisse says they do. She tells him how rich they are and how he should read one of them because it is a great experience. After he reads a book, he realizes that he does not want to live in this censored society any longer. The plot of the book then becomes Montag's journey with his internal conflict of censorship. He can not live in this ignorant society and struggles to get himself out of it. Bradbury, in Fahrenheit 451, has a very enjoyable writing style. His plot is fast-moving and his descriptions of characters and scenes are explicit. He beautifully depicts this futuristic society and the people that live in it. Overall, this is a work of art from Bradbury. This book was a fiery blast from start to finish. The suspense of this book never let you out of its inferno. For under six bucks you can hold the fire of the future in your hand.