Guy Montag is a book-burning fireman undergoing a crisis of faith. His wife spends all day with her television "family," imploring Montag to work harder so that they can afford a fourth TV wall. Their dull, empty life sharply contrasts with that of his next-door neighbor Clarisse, a young girl thrilled by the ideas in books, and more interested in what she can see in the world around her than in the mindless chatter of the tube. When Clarisse disappears mysteriously, Montag is moved to make some changes, and starts hiding books in his home. Eventually, his wife turns him in, and he must answer the call to burn his secret cache of books. After fleeing to avoid arrest, Montag winds up joining an outlaw band of scholars who keep the contents of books in their heads, waiting for the time society will once again need the wisdom of literature.
I'm truly amazed at how quickly this novel captured my attention yet again and created such an intense adrenaline rush that only a good book can. First published in 1953, Bradbury's dystopian world speaks louder today than ever before and sent my mind whirling through our current book trends as well as our obsession with technology, particularly audio and video. When I was teaching freshman English at a local university, I recall the frustration I felt when I realized students lacked the ability to visualize what was written on the pages of a novel. As a child, I loved to read; I traveled through the pages and visited far away lands and magical places with only my imagination to fill in the spaces. Is today's youth losing that ability that I held so precious and still do to this day? I can't help bu wonder if we are becoming Bradbury's dystopian society consumed by television and technology. And now that we have Kindles, Ipads, and other similar devices that can easily store thousands of books, will the printed book as we know it become obsolete? I just can't imagine a world without shelves overloaded with books! If you haven't read Fahrenheit 451, I strongly recommend that you do....it's a must read for all times and one of the most thought-provoking novels I've ever read.