Fahrenheit 451, Book Review

An incredibly relevant story for our increasingly concerning society.


Geoffrey Fairchild

To burn or not to burn, that is the question.

By Zenobia Wiley, Copy Editor

Fahrenheit 451 is a classic, dystopian novel written by Ray Bradbury and published in 1953. You might’ve heard the name before; maybe you were required to read the book sometime throughout high school. The science fiction novel is considered one of Bradbury’s best works, presenting a futuristic American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” burn any that are found.

The story is told in third person, following protagonist Guy Montag through his daily routine as a 24th-century fireman. In the beginning, Montag is content with his repetitive lifestyle, burning illegally owned books and the homes they were found in. This changes, however, when Montag encounters a strange girl who portrays taboo, borderline illegal characteristics such as creativity. Soon, Montag finds himself questioning the value of his profession and, in turn, his life.

We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered about something important. About something real?”

— Guy Montag

Bradbury truly did a number on this book, packing it with subtle yet powerful metaphors, allusions, and motifs. The story has an interesting concept, opening your eyes in a new way to the world around you and causing you to wonder what we’ve become of our own society. If we’re close to “this”. Fahrenheit 451 has much philosophical significance, especially for the time period in which it was written.

However, I do have a few complaints about this book. To start, the characters are extremely flat, and only seem to serve a singular purpose throughout the entire book; none of them are given any depth. Furthermore, regarding depth, there isn’t really any character development; the story simply carries from start to finish. This book could’ve gone so much farther than it did, and yet the lack of exhilaration, suspense, or something,┬ákeeps it from getting there. While the first two parts were deep and complex, though rather boring, the last part of this novel was its “downfall”. It went completely off the rails, almost taking away from the plot and meaning of the story. Despite this, it truly is a relevant book for today’s society, and I’d still recommend it to those with the patience to read such a slow-paced story.