Today I read Fahrenheit 451 for the first time ever? I can’t believe I graduated high school almost 17 years ago and I just now read this book? Pathetic.
Oh my goodness. It couldn’t be a more timely read. Took me about 15 pages to get into it and to get passed, or rather accustomed to, the spasmodic writing style. But really… it’s the best follow-up read to The Hunger Games series. And if you are going to read any novel this year to prepare you for the upcoming elections — this one should be it. It crystalizes everything about today’s first-world candy-crack-entertainment and ignorant self-indulgence that makes you want to puke. (Boy, I’m just a bouquet of daisies aren’t I? Yeesh.) I know you’re all rushing out to buy it now!
Seriously though… there are so many amazing quotes in this book…
Mildred sat a moment and then, seeing that Montag was still in the doorway, clapped her hands. “Let’s talk politics, to please Guy!”
“Sounds fine,” said Mrs. Bowles. “I voted last election, same as everyone, and I laid it all on the line for President Noble. I think he’s one of the nicest-looking men ever became president.”
“Oh, but the man they ran against him!”
“He wasn’t much, was he? Kind of small and homely and he didn’t shave too close or comb his hair very well.”
“What possessed the ‘Outs’ to run him? You just don’t go running a little short man like that against a tall man. Besides — he mumbled. Half the time I couldn’t hear a word he said. And the words I did hear I didn’t understand!”
Does that latter description evoke images of any current candidates? Small and not made-over and says things that require thought to understand… And yes, you can interpret that as an endorsement! Yep, I’m one of that scrappy lot.
A few other quotes that I have to post…
“I don’t know. We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren’t happy. Something’s missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively knew was gone was the books I’d burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought the books might help.”
“So now do you see why books are so hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam…..”
“It’s as good as I remember. Lord, how they’ve changed our ‘parlors’ these days. Christ is one of the ‘family’ now. I often wonder if God recognizes His own son the way we’ve dressed him up, or is it dressed him down? He’s a regular peppermint stick now, all sugar-crystal and saccarine when he isn’t making veiled references to certain commercial products that every worshiper absolutely needs.”
“School is shortened, discipline relaxed, philosophies, histories, languages dropped, English and spelling gradually neglected, finally almost completely ignored. Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work. Why learn anything save pressing buttons, pulling switches, fitting nuts and bolts?”…….. “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. 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.”
And the ending? Oh my heart. It ends with one of my most favorite verses from scripture. Chillingly beautiful. I’m so glad I picked it up. I finished by 11:15 which was an added bonus as most of the books I’ve read and couldn’t put down lately kept me up until 2, 3 and 4 in the morning.