Fahrenheit 451 is considered Ray Bradbury’s masterpiece. The society that he depicted in the novel is so far removed from the one we live in today. At the same time, they are so similar.
This is just one of the Fahrenheit 451 essay examples. You can use it as an example for your next school assignment. This essay on Fahrenheit 451 has four sections and a list of FAQs at the end.
Fahrenheit 451: Essay Introduction
More than 50 years ago, Ray Bradbury, in Fahrenheit 451, suggested that one day books and reading will be destroyed. Television, the Internet, and an increasing influence of movies will take over. Now more than ever, this prediction seems very precise and, in a way, even prophetic. Today societies and countries implement different strategies for preserving languages and literature. Passing written and oral traditions from generation to generation became a critical task. Every time a language dies, we lose essential information stored in it.
It is not a secret that English became the language of international communication. Even more so with the advent of the Internet. The world is becoming smaller and smaller, languages and dialects disappear every day. The books, written in those languages, the knowledge recorded in them, the lessons that people learned disappear too.
Nevertheless, the global web, globalization, and digitalization helped with the spread of literacy. People can access and read any book they want, even in the most distant places in the world. Your device became the most extensive library you could imagine. In many countries, even traditional physical libraries moved towards digitalization. Today they offer e-libraries instead of physical copies.
Literature is the finest example of the way people can use their linguistic ability. Therefore, it should be preserved.
Fictional texts not only demonstrate the power of the human imagination. They also reveal the world we live in. It does not merely reflect it as a mirror but serves as a magnifying glass. Books can show things that are hidden from our eyes, making us think and question. It can help us become more aware and awake. One of these books is Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451.
Fahrenheit 451: Book Review
No matter if this book was on your summer list, or you simply decided to read it for pleasure. This essay aims to guide you to understand some of the significant aspects of this novel.
Initially, the novel was born out of the short story called The Fireman. However, later on, Ray Bradbury developed this short story into a book called Fahrenheit 451. It is a dystopian novel, which in the literary terminology means an imaginary civilization or state in which happiness is unattainable. As readers later see, it is unattainable in the society Ray Bradbury created.
To portray a dystopian society, writers portray a caricature to their one in the future. It’s in the case of Fahrenheit 451. They emphasize the negative traits of the society they live in, trying to predict what will happen in the future. Ray Bradbury was one of the first writers who used science fiction for social criticism.
Fahrenheit 451 is a novel set in a country similar to the USA in the twenty-fourth century. The government, which Ray Bradbury describes, is a form of despotism. It tries to cover itself with the help of digital media and overdeveloped television. In this world of constant entertainment, the government banned all the books. Even possession of anything written is a serious crime. The main character of the novel is a “fireman” called Guy Montag. His job is to destroy books and the collective knowledge recorded in them.
In the world depicted by Ray Bradbury, “the fireman” is no longer serving society or acts heroically. He has to burn books and destroy knowledge. Therefore, the title of the book “Fahrenheit 451” refers to the temperature at which paper sets on fire.
The novel has an ideal character named Clarisse McClellan. She represents everything good in this world. She is smart, passionate, and she is not satisfied with superficial knowledge. Somehow she did not lose the ability to think freely. She plays the role of a foil for Guy Montag. He is the most typical person, and there is nothing extraordinary about him. Even the fact that Ray Bradbury named him “guy” proves his mediocracy. He does his job well and does not ask any questions. He is the product of his environment.
Instead of saving people, he burns books. He is married but finds himself in love with Clarisse. Guy Montag does not have the word “love” in his vocabulary, nor does he understand what it is. He always thought that romantic love was a human invention. However, Clarisse invokes true feelings of love in him. He starts speaking romantically about her, “Her face, turned to him now, was a fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light in it.” The warmness of Clarisse is juxtaposed with the coldness of Mildred, his wife.
Mildred is an abnormality even in the world we live in today. She spends most of her time watching television walls. Ignoring the problems and the world around her, the woman is only worried about the program schedule. However, even with constant entertainment and medication, the fact that she is unhappy cannot be concealed. At the beginning of the book, Mildren attempts to commit suicide.
Another peculiar character in the book is Captain Beatty, Montag’s superior. He is the only character in the novel that has extensive knowledge of the past. Yet, he doesn’t know how to use it (or chooses not to use it). He visits Montag and tells him about books and its censorship. He also says that if a firefighter is caught having a book in his house, he will be obliged to burn it in 24 hours. If he refuses, then the other firemen will burn his house down.
Over the years, Montag was hiding books in his house. However, he never dared to read them. When Mildred learns that Montag was secretly bringing books into their home, she wants to destroy them. Montag tells her that they will read them together, and see if the books have any value.
Throughout the novel, Montag goes through what we would call a slow conscious awareness. He starts as a dedicated fireman, goes into the process of doubts. In the end, he rebels against the system.
Fahrenheit 451: Analysis
In the essay on Fahrenheit 451, one of the most dominant symbols in the novel is fire. It was one of the first principle tools of human civilization: protection from animals, protection from cold, a tool to cook food.
One of the most significant tales of the Western literary tradition centers around the fire as well. The Greek Myth of Prometheus is often mentioned in science fiction works. Prometheus loved people so much so that he stole fire from gods. He gave it to people to help them survive, infuriating the divines. For this act of disobedience, the gods severely punished Prometheus. They ensured that every day an eagle ate his liver while Prometheus was chained to a mountain.
This myth teaches us one essential lesson: fire can be dangerous if it is not used with care. A fire pit can warm the house. Though, if no one controls it, it can burn the whole house down.
The symbolism of fire in Fahrenheit 451 is connected to technology. Just like fire, technology has a double-nature. It is useful but can take over our lives and become dangerous.
In the novel, not the people but the books become the main counter-force to despotism. Books represent humanity, an idealized society that once existed. People are mortal, so they come and go. Books, on the opposite, contain the legacy of the whole human race. In cases when people lose their humanity, books can serve as a reminder.
Phoenix is another important symbol of the novel. It is connected with fire and the hope for rebirth. Captain Beatty wears the signs of the Phoenix on his hat, which is quite intriguing. He also drives a “Phoenix car.” After burning Beatty to death, Montag is forced to abandon the city and become an outcast. This isolation means an intellectual rebirth.
The mechanical hound is another peculiar symbol of the novel. Even though it looks more like a spider than like a dog, as “its eight legs spidered under it on rubber-padded paws.” In the novel, the mechanical hound represents the state and its control.
Fahrenheit 451: Essay Conclusion
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1950’s prediction of the way the future will be. What we see today corresponds with the world created by Ray Bradbury. People became addicted to social media, to their devices, to TV. Everyone is growing tolerance to violence and murder. The dystopian society illustrated in the novel can serve as an eye-opener for the current one. It also can serve as a reminder that life is fast, and happiness is not always easy to attain.