Amazon – Fahrenheit 451
GoodReads – Fahrenheit 451
Author – Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. – Goodreads Synopsis

Fahrenheit 451 was one of the first books I’ve read that really got through to me. Picture

The Salamander, The Hearth, and The Bong

that greasy, angsty, and unfocused teenager sitting in the back of the class daydreaming. Well… that was me. Now I’ve always loved reading (even school assigned reading like this one was), and it has always played a special part in my life, I just never had that intellectual smack in the face until I experienced Fahrenheit 451. (Maybe that’s not 100% true)

I put Fahrenheit 451 right at the top of the list of dystopian novels – right beside Brave New World. (Sorry but I’m not part of the crew that thinks 1984 is the best) The dystopia where people are just not interested in reading and enslaved by media just seems so much more appealing to me. (Not saying I want it, I just enjoy reading it more) I mean what is scarier than a world with no books! A world where we care more about senseless media viewing! This is like our worst nightmare here in the book blogging community!

Ok let’s get back to how it got back through to me. (OK yeah let’s put a cool headline here to make the post look more professional)

How Fahrenheit 451 Made an Everlasting Impact on Me

(Yeah that’s sweet)

The main protagonist, Guy Montage, just goes along with whatever is happening. He starts to realize “Hey what the hell am I doing anyways. Maybe books are cool?” Montage just wants to find himself, and what better to help him do that, but through the means that his current job is to incinerate. (Who would look for meaning in books?!) A part of how Fahrenheit 451 impacted me so much, is how I see myself in Montage’s character. I mean there is a reason why this is on most school reading lists. Who hasn’t had a period where they feel like Montage?

I see myself in Montage, but who was really the star for me, was his boss – Captain Beatty. Beatty’s mentor-like demeanor through the whole story really got to me. I needed to hear some of the things he had to say, and I still think about them all of these years later. I need to paste this quote here from during his speech to Montage:

“Ah.” Beatty leaned forward in the faint mist of smoke from his pipe. “What more easily explained and natural? With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word `intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be. You always dread the unfamiliar. Surely you remember the boy in your own school class who was exceptionally ‘bright,’ did most of the reciting and answering while the others sat like so many leaden idols, hating him. And wasn’t it this bright boy you selected for beatings and tortures after hours? Of course it was. We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon. Breach man’s mind. Who knows who might be the target of the well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute. And so when houses were finally fireproofed completely, all over the world (you were correct in your assumption the other night) there was no longer need of firemen for the old purposes. They were given the new job, as custodians of our peace of mind, the focus of our understandable and rightful dread of being inferior; official censors, judges, and executors. That’s you, Montag, and that’s me.”

OK – I realize this quote is going to be longer than my post, but god damn did this whole speech really slap me in the face when I first read it. It was exactly what I could not put into words back when I was that narcissistic teen. Powerful. Beautiful. Beatty (although contradictory in his actions) was an excellent teacher to really make you critically think.

How Did the Movie Stack Up?

Killmonger is back BABY! Michael Shannon is Beatty! Ok I can dig both of that.

Wait not this one

What I was more interested then was how well that they were going to be able to pull of this adaption. I came in with pretty high hope – I love HBO, and I like the actors that were picked to play the main players.


Right off the bat Killmonger (shit… Montage) was jumping around being this big media presence. Meh, but ok I get it. It is not how his character was originally written, but maybe this is how it would really play out in the real world now that we know where tech is actually going. Then they started burning PCs and smashing servers. Meh, but ok this is also what it would probably be like. I can see the direction that this movie is taking, and how it still wants to hold true to how Ray Bradbury first envisioned his story. Where is Montage’s wife?…

I liked that they showed the scene of the woman burning herself with her books. This is a quote from the book about that scene:

There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there.  You don’t stay for nothing.

I wish that meaning had stayed in the movie! Books are special to me, and I wanted to see more of that message come across. Beatty’s message came through somewhat, I just wished the power of that full speech from the book came through. I do still enjoy the person they cast to play the role, and he did do a good job of portraying the essence of Beatty’s character, but I want the message of the story to be fully shown! I’m not feeling it. It’s not what I was expecting going in.


Meh. I enjoyed it. Still wanted more.

The book though? That’s a masterpiece. Read it if you haven’t yet.



  1. Just want to say that the cover pictured at the top of this post is the superior version of all Fahrenheit 451 covers… and not just because it’s the one I personally own.

    And even though I was that nerd who genuinely loved reading books for English class, I’m with you– Fahrenheit 451 was one of the best.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree with you on 1984! I think it is genius and I think that the mechanisms within to control the state, as well as the notion of changing history and effectively destroying the use of records is VERY present. But knowing how inspired he was by Zamyatin’s ‘We’ takes away some sheen from it. Haven’t read Fahrenheit 451 just yet but you certainly make it sound pretty tasty!

    Liked by 4 people

  3. I read this one a few months ago (haven’t watched any movie versions of it), and I see so much of Guy Montag’s society going on in how we tend to approach media and knowledge today. Ray Bradbury was kinda prophetic in seeing how we would consume media and knowledge in the 21st century and especially with the rise of anti-intellectualism in some circles, this novel serves as a warning as to what will happen when you try to dumb society down. We are only as strong as the knowledge we choose to maintain, and when we lose knowledge, we lose pieces of what makes society, society.

    I like dystopian fiction myself, even 1984. I haven’t read Brave New World yet, but my best friend absolutely *loves* that book.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is still one of my favorite books of all time, as well. The movie was good, but lacked some of the oomph of the book. The book is a literary slap in the face for those of us who love books, love knowledge, and worry about the way the world is moving away from intellect to in your face entertainment all the time. Love the review, Love the awards posts too. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I always loved this book. It was part of our syllabus in high school. Still. With all the social media obsession (I’m pretty bad myself) going on in our society right now. This book has become more and more relevant. And a warning sign.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. An interesting discussion is price comment. I feel that it is best to write extra on this topic, it may not be a taboo subject however generally people are not enough to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a good review of a great book. I think we have to be careful not to end up like that. Free speech is important in a democracy, even when we don’t like what someone is saying. I really like the film adaptation too.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I JUST recommended Fahrenheit 451 this morning to a woman reading 1984 in the breakfast room at the hotel I manage on the weekends. I agree, I’m not the biggest 1984 fan. And in the past, I considered Fahrenheit required reading for high schoolers. I’m maybe not so authoritarian about reading lists these days, but I still think it’s an important book.

    While I haven’t checked out the movie, it is something I want to do at some point. I’ll have to watch director Bahrani’s take on the story with “fresh” eyes, and then re-experience the novel afterward. I’m afraid if I do it the other way around, the movie will pale in comparison, as movies often do to books.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Fahrenheit 451 is the literal best totally agree. I really liked that movie on its own because my brain automatically separates book and movie so the movies really good in my opinion just definitely lost the book’s essence I agree. I think the thing the movies usually get wrong is they take out all the details that make up the essence of the story and then you are just left with a loose definition of what the plot of the book was because what the film industry seems to not understand is the reasons behind why the books were so successful thus, meaning is lost. They know they can make easy money by saying oh yeah we are turning this book into a movie and they know they don’t have to worry about getting the message right because people will watch it anyway.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Have you read Something Wicked this Way Comes? It’s also by Ray Bradbury and it sounds good from the summary. (Haven’t gotten the chance to read it myself yet)


        1. It’s been a while since I read it, but I remember it being a pretty good story about living on Mars with some weird things thrown in.


  11. My favorite aspect of Fahrenheit 451 is the community of people at the end of the novel, each of whom has memorized a book to keep it alive. It would be hard for me to choose one. Maybe Ursula Leguin’s novel The Lathe of Heaven.


  12. Ray was prophetic. In the digital age, the process of book-burning, or, really, thought-burning has become more efficient and I do dread the coordinated efforts in social media to homogenize the common cultural ethic under an arbitrary umbrella of That Which is Acceptable. Fortunately, and sadly at the same time, this is being perpetrated by certain among the ranks of the people rather than the government. And, to a certain extend by financial institutions who use their power to deny some who express ideas deemed unworthy. And that is terrifying.

    Christian Bale did a movie called Equilibrium which was a more OTN and darker interpretation of Ray’s concept – and I think the two go together nicely. The idea being that any emotion is counter to the human cause. Oh, and by the way, that was the whole point of Montage’s wife – she is the manifestation of the very cause. So, yeah, any telling of 451 without her is really missing the point.

    But it really bugs me that we see the manifestation of this very concept unfolding before our eyes today. Fortunately, it is not broadly embraced. But to know that there are so many who think this way is… disturbing. Liberty begins with an unrestrained thought and ends with its silence.

    Now, more than ever, it is important for those who write to do so boldly and for those who read to embrace the voices that still dare to speak what is to be said rather than what is allowed to be said.

    And one final tidbit, passed on by my own English teacher in high school – it is pronounced ‘four five one’, not ‘four fifty one.’ The reason – the former connotes the sterilization of language the book is talking about.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Most of the books that well and truly impacted me as a teenager were the ones I either got to choose myself or had gifted to me. If you ask me which assigned books changed me, my mind would be a cricket chorus. I could tell you the ones that stood out because I’d actually read them and liked them, but book that actually made a dent? Only assigned reading that comes to mind is Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. I’m glad that one of your core books actually did come from what they wanted you to read!

    Fahrenheit 451 wasn’t on my high school’s curriculum. We had Brave New Word and 1984 (both of which I only skimmed in high school and didn’t actually read until I was an adult). It does lead to an interesting question, though. I wonder what a person’s first impactful dystopia say about them, if anything. The first dystopian novel I read that really mattered was A Clockwork Orange. My sister sent it as a birthday gift my junior year of high school and it blew my mind. I felt like there were some really valuable conversations to be had from that book, if people could just get past the shock of the ultra-violence. I’ve not read Fahrenheit 451. . . yet. It’s sitting pretty on my shelf right now.

    Liked by 1 person

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