"Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury: Guy Montag's Journey as a Character

Essay by Phinexis September 2006

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"Well then, at last what you have here is the love affair of a writer with the stacks; of a sad man's, Montag's, love affair, not with the girl next door, but with a knapsack of books."

A preface by Ray Bradbury.

Bradbury had many reasons for writing a book such as "Fahrenheit 451". Some of the incidents which gnawed at Bradbury's mind happened in his life time. Hitler was burning books when Bradbury was 14 and Stalin was commanding Russia. Later came McCarthy, the American president, who hunted out communists and punished them severely. Other incidents occurred before Bradbury's time but he would have learned of them: The burning of the Alexandrian library and the Salem witch hunts. One on-going problem for Bradbury was censorship. All these things have one similar core. They take people's freedom of thought. People were being told how and what to think in the real world and this is something that Bradbury weaved into the theme and storyline of Fahrenheit 451.

Bradbury believes books affect everyone whether they want them to or not. In today's society, books such as the Bible, The Da Vinci Code (Dan Brown) and the Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling) influence everyone from small children to adults. The Da Vinci Code in particular puts forward some very different views. It disagrees with the entire beliefs of the Catholic church and gives new ideas to people that they would not normally think of.

"Fahrenheit 451" evolved from being a short story, The Fireman, to a respected work of science fiction. "The most skillfully drawn of all science fiction's conformist hells" - Kingsley Amis. Fahrenheit 451 is a Dystopian novel and there are many things that we don't worry about in modern society that Bradbury has distorted and changed beyond what we...