My firstimpression of this novel is that it will be filled with social commentary anddeal with the issue of free speech (and the ability to think). It seems to focus on a future rich withtechnological advancements and the dangers that might result. I enjoyed this reading because it served as astrong introduction to the story. Itclearly introduces the characters and it’s easy to feel and instant kinshipwith Clarisse. Although she presentsherself as “17 and insane” she appears to be the only person thus far capableof forming an original thought.
Montagappears to have the potential to be a dynamic character. The change is already apparent in him withinthe first 18 pages. There wasn’tanything that confused me but I was surprised by Montag’s response toClarisse’s rebellious spirit. As someonedevoted to duty and service, and above all the law, it seems he would have beenput off by her forwardness.I questionwhy someone like Montag, with the innate desire for conversation and thought,might marry Mildred.
I wonder if this isa society of prearranged marriages or if it was before he desired thought. I also wonder what transpired between Montagand the “old man”. It seemed to be apivotal point in his life, but what happened? I can only assume he rattled him in the same way that Clarisse is doing,but perhaps not to the same extent.
“How rarelydid other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression,your own innermost trembling thought.” This line shows Montag’s desperation. He has craved the understanding of another human being, without even knowingit. He has finally found someone whomirrors his own desires, someone who wants to talk, someone who wants to bethemselves. This is terrifying tohim.
Seeing himself so raw in another’seyes is an intimate experience, strengthening this growing bond with Clarisse.I find thecharacter of Clarisse to be the most relatable, and I would assume that mostfreethinking women (and men) would share that opinion. She represents the curiosity that is in allof us. Although not a popular opinion, Ican also relate to Montag. As a society,we often go along with what is easy and unfortunately assume “someone else”will handle all the problems of the world rather than do it ourselves. Montag’s newfound awareness about the minutedetails of the world around him correlate with a person today finally lookingup from their cellphone to appreciate what surrounds them.
The dangers of unhindered technologicalgrowth remind me a lot of “Black Mirror”. Each episode has its own unique theme told through the lens of extremetech advancements. This story willobviously be dealing with the concept offree speech/thought, and censorship, while also relying on the tech heavyfuture to get the message across. The mostobvious contrast that I see is that between Guy and Clarisse. She represents everything he does not. He not only follows the law, but enforces it,while she questions the way things are; something that he has never done. Another contrast I see is between Guy and hiswife Mildred, done through the use of symbolism. Guy is a fireman, and when we first meet himhe is in the midst of flames.
Fire canbe passion, heat, anger, etc… his burning desire for more in his life. His wife, however, is first introduced withina water metaphor. She floats on waves,they rock her to sleep, etc… demonstrating her passive nature. Water can represent peace, calm, tranquility,all showing that she has accepted her place (and maybe she feels helpless init, hence her suicide attempt).The factthat this story was written during the Cold War provides a lot of insight intoits characters and the dystopia that has been created. Everyone in the U.S. was living under theconstant threat of nuclear war and assumed that the end could come at anypoint.
The world created in “Fahrenheit451” seems to be the aftermath of the disastrous fallout. People are spoon fed information, not allowedto read, not encouraged to write, and limited in a variety of other ways aswell. All of this being characteristicof the U.S.S.R at the time.
In addition,the huge tech booms in the 1950’s seem to have inspired the dependence ongadgets and constant entertainment that is prevalent in this story up untilthis point.