“He floated on his back when the valise filled and sank; the river was mild and leisurely, going away from the people who ate shadows for breakfast and steam for lunch and vapors for supper.”
Thus Bradbury describes the escape of Guy Montag from the city and its people.
How crafty he is at turning a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph! He never ceases to amaze me with his ability to breath life into my own thoughts not yet voiced.
I have finally had the time to sit and finish “Fahrenheit 451.”
I must say say though, although I was wooed by its climactic ending, the real thing that brought me to tears, was the interview with Ray Bradbury after 70 years of writing. It is included in my copy, at the end of the novel.
The interviewer asks Bradbury several questions about current affairs, especially concerning the U.S. with all our wars, and entertainment- we seem quite similar to the society of “Fahrenheit 451.”
He says, “The main problem is education, not politics.” In his dystopian future, it’s actually the people, not the government that turns away the books. When the government then steps in to actually censor, there is no one to resist, because their minds have turned, tuned into entertainment and only entertainment. He continues on for some length about the necessity for reading and writing to be taught in schools and fundamental levels. And for God’s sake, turn off that blasted, idiot TV.
I am constantly reminded, when I am in the world of this book why I started writing again to begin with. I am eating shadows, steam and vapors. I am chasing after things which are apparitions of a mind hell bent on leisure. I have been so miserable for so long, unable to concentrate. Even now, as I am writing this, I am struggling to not open a new tab on my browser.
Hey, it’s time for more reruns of “Buffy!”
Bradbury warns against the bombardment of sensations. The characters in his novel cannot think because they are so constantly undulated with stuff. Advertisements, entertainment, danger: their world never stops moving, there is no time to sit and think.
And if you’re having such a good time, why would you ever stop to think about it?
There are some very powerful ideas that Bradbury pushes through the novel. Respect and adoration for libraries is one, and that I love.
However, I choose my diction carefully when I say that he “pushes” themes through his writing. In fact, that is by and large, my only criticism of this book, is that some things just seem to convenient. Particularly at the end when Montag escapes and is taken in by Harvard degree fugitives; they can tell by the “look” of him, that he is the real deal.
They even come equipped with a magic potion that changes his body’s natural scent!
Bradbury pushes ideas, and the story is the workhorse that plows it through.
That being said, and as I have said, Bradbury is a beautiful writer. You can feel his love of language agitating out of the pages.
His words pitch themselves at you, they flicker under your eyes, tickling your nose like falling dust from an old idea or an old book, and all at once you breathe them in- eat them as air- and unexpectedly you find you are filled with life again.
After they watch the city destroyed by bombs a character explains to Montag, “There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been first cousin to Man. But ever time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over, but we’ve got one damn thing the phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we’ve done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we’ll stop making the goddamn funeral pyres and jumping the the middle of them.”
I just want to stop jumping in my own funeral pyre.