FarenHeit 451 Book Critique

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade April 2001

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Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 is about a future based society, which has firemen that do not put out fires, but instead start them. These firemen are there to burn any form of book that is found within someone's house. Guy Montag, the main Character is one of the firemen that starts fires in an attempt to destroy any book that he comes across. Captain Beatty is Montag's fire chief that is in charge of the firemen at the station. He brings in a new machine that helps detect books that are hidden within civilian houses. The machine is called The Mechanical Hound. The hound would find the books and grip them with its gentle paws "while a four-inch hollow steel needle plunged down from the proboscis." (pg 25) The needle then injected jolts of propane for easy and fast burning. Later, Montag's curiosity, took the best of him. While the Hound was sleeping, he reached over and touched it's muzzle.

The Hound woke up and made a growl that sounded like "a strange rasping combination of electrical sizzle, a frying sound, and a scraping of metal"¦"(pg 25) When first looking at Montag, he seemed to be a "fireman then for his looks as well as his proclivities." (pg 33) Montag and his wife, Mildred seem to be "a silly empty man near a silly empty woman." (pg 44) When Montag began talking to his new neighbor, Clarisse McLellan, he became a brighter, more curious man. Clarisse is different from the society, though. She spends a normal day "on the lawn knitting a blue sweater or shaking a walnut tree." (pg 28) She tells Montag of her old society, inquiring that they do not burn books, but rather read them for pleasure.

Supporting characters in Farenhiet 451 include Clarisse McLellan. Clarisse is one of the "book people" (pg 122) that help Montag realize that the emptiness inside of him is the insufficiency of marvelous literature brought by books. She is an odd woman in society's eyes because of her alleged different behaviors, such as knitting. Beatty, the superior fire chief, affects Montag by being his boss and catching him with his books. When Montag asked about the history of books, Beatty replied that, "there was no dictum, no declaration, no censorship..." (pg 58) Beatty makes a statement provoking that books are evil because of indifference. "Most books," according to Beatty, "are melancholy, unhappy, and pagan. Eliminate them, too." (pg 61) The climax is when the firemen entered Montag's house and burnt down his library saying, "you're a burden and fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure. (pg 115). They burnt all of his books and the Hound was chasing him. This is when Montag realized that he could jump into the river to avoid the Mechanical Hound and to avoid being, "a phosphorescent target; he knew it, he felt it." (pg 21) The resolution is when he jumped into the river. By doing this, Montag got away from the Hound. The author dealt with this transition fairly smooth.

This is a great book to read. I would recommend it to one of my friends because it had some suspenseful parts that were quite enjoyable. Towards the end one such suspenseful part is when the firemen are searching for Montag and one of the men he meets says, "Watch. They'll catch Montag in the next five minutes." (pg 152) This book was interesting to read and would be a great book for one of my friends to read in the future.