10.08.2009

Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451


Ray Bradbury's short novel showed the true face of the enemy, the enemy of book reading. It's more deadlier and sublime than censorship. It's watching tv.

This novel is comparable to George Orwell's social commentary against the real, post-World War II global structure in his popular novel 1984 minus the politics. But instead of Big Brother's imposing image positioned on every wall of the house reminding everyone that "Big Brother is Watching you," entertainment screens plastered on the wall are reminding every member of the household to "Keep on Watching 24/7."

PhotobucketIndeed, this sublime mind-conditioning of the masses has turned them into visual entertainment monsters and abandon the natural process of learning by taking your own time (or owning your time) and read a book. Every information perceived by the eye at the speed of light is taken as it is and will never be questioned nor given with second thought. All the viewer can do is to react to the show, even if he has no clear idea what the show is all about. The people are turned into empty viewers and entertainment zombies. A simple stroll in the park, or just a walk while pondering the clouds are considered heresies. Any chat referencing ideas from a book is illegal. If you're caught by the Mechanical Hound hiding a single book, even just loose pages, you're toast.  

Some disliked Bradbury's inclusion of the Mechanical Hound. The mechanical canine is not believable, they would say. For me, I believe and agree that the Hound is not that scientific. But it is highly symbolic. And this is the reason why the author used mechanical dogs as hunters in the night - because a hound symbolizes a biter, sometimes a rabid biter, just like the moral hounds in the history and the present that can almost spit fire with their convictions in condemning the accused, the immorals.   

The minus points for the book is the sudden loss of Clarisse. She made the book stand out, but her role is just an appetizer with no main dish. I was expecting her to return in the later part but alas, the story became almost linear as it ended at the outer region / boundary of the fictional city somewhere in America where Guy Montag joined the outcasts of bookkeepers.


most memorable passage:

We're going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we're doing,  you can say, We're remembering. That's where we'll win out in the long run.And someday we'll remember so much that we'll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up...


Rating: 3.5 dandelions out of 5 (70%)
Genre: Science Fiction

2 comments:

  1. this book is powerful. it ends with readers memorizing passages from literary works to preserve them, right? that scared me most of all, i don't know why.

    ReplyDelete
  2. yeah, it's scary for me too if i try to take it seriously... though i wish that Bradbury didn't kill, or perhaps erased Clarisse in the story... she reminds me so much of someone... =P

    ReplyDelete

Please share your comments here!