Fahrenheit 451, the temperature paper needs to start burning. The story takes place in about 50 years from “now” (in which “now” is 1953, when the book was published). Books are banned, because they make people unhappy. Now, being a book lover, this is a really strange sentiment, but on a second thought, and taking it broader than just novels, it actually might be true. Today, in 2016, we live in a mediocracy. If I consult myself honestly, I have to admit that I probably would be happier if I wouldn’t know as much as I do; if I wouldn’t been able to reflect on events happening in the world. Because of my education and the knowledge I gained from books, I know both what would be a good and what would be a bad world.
In the world of Fahrenheit 451, people are kept shallow on purpose. TV shows are hollow, as well as conversations (which 90 percent of the time deal with TV shows). The characters in the TV shows are called “family”; living rooms are equipped with surround screens. People have in-ear radios they listen to all day. It isn’t really that bad, but fact is we live in a world with 50” TV screens broadcasting a lot of trash, most of the people in public transport are staring at their mobile devices, and half of them wears ear plugs, too. In that aspect, Ray Bradbury had an astonishingly accurate vision of the near future.
But the book focusses on someone who wants to break this habit. Guy Montag wants to think again, wants to read books again and learn from them. He longs for the ability to reflect and make his own decisions, instead of following the masses. This is a very brave endeavor, not only because he risks to be killed by the authorities, but also because it comes along with a certain responsibility. After all, if one thinks for himself, you are the master of your own actions. It is an easy and safe feeling to just do and think what everyone else does and thinks.
This book made me think about if I’d be like Guy, or a “follower”. The theme still fits to present-day, which is what this classic makes a classic :)