The story takes place in an unspecified future in America, where the reading of books is abandoned. If someone is caught owning them, he is sent to a mental hospital and his books are burned, or he is condemned to immediate death. People are not interested in politics or world issues, their only entertainment now is in-ear radio and interactive form of television, and their only point of life is pleasure. The story centres on a man named Guy Montag, who is a fireman, and his job is to burn books and the houses that hold them. All firemen wear the uniforms with the number ‘451’ because it refers to the temperature in Fahrenheit at which books burn.
One day, he meets by chance the girl, Clarisse McClellan, who makes him think about the world beyond electronic entertainment and makes him wonder about his life, his ideals and his own happiness. After that, he takes an interest in reading the books, and he steals a book that he’s supposed to burn. Captain Beatty, the Fire Chief, begins to doubt Montag’s devotion to his job and realizes that he has changed sides. It is soon revealed that Montag has hidden plenty of books in the house and reads them. Montag seeks Faber’s help, a former English teacher he had met one time, to teach him to memorize the books so their contents can be preserved.
Beatty reveals that he knew all along of Montag’s books and forces Montag to burn his house. To save himself, Montag burns and kills Beatty and escapes the city. Then, Montag joins a group of educated, vagrant men who remember and preserve orally great novels until books are allowed and appreciated again. As they are walking away from the city, the war begins and a nuclear bomb destroys the place that was once Montag’s home. The men turn back to the completely collapsed city to help rebuild a society from scratch. This is a story of future society that practices censorship, where all books are restricted, the government attempts to control what people read and think, and individuals are anti-social and hedonistic.
This book is not only about the danger of censorship, it is also about the effects of television and mass media on the reading of literature and also gives good arguments in favor of the book as the most important element of intellectual freedom. Unlike other famous dystopian novels, this book holds out some hope. In a society that outlaws books, you’d assume every citizen would want to rebel against this rule. However, most people in Ray Bradbury’s fictional society in the novel Fahrenheit 451 blindly accept this and follow to the government’s orders. This is slightly similar to our society in the positive ways of how we challenge those that don’t want us to form our own thoughts, as well in the ways that technology has unfortunately glued us to our phones.
However, there are some differences between the two that prove our society is nowhere near a dystopia. In modern society, we have the freedom to find limitless information, as well as the ability to establish communications through technology that Fahrenheit 451 doesn’t. This book shows how words are terror and knowledge is dangerous. There’s no difference between books and technology. They both have similarities and differences. In my own opinion people should not be burning books, because even they say books are meant to be burnt, but no, a lot of people love to read instead of being on their devices.