Fahrenheit 451 Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Fahrenheit 451

The main character, Montag is a fireman that lives in a suburban area. Being a fireman is a job that is important to that society. That society says it burns away worries and problems, giving people a carefree life. Books are illegal because reading requires thought and analyzing. This would not be acceptable to the civilization because its purpose is for people to have a carefree life.
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After Montag watches a woman get burned to death, he begins to open his eyes to what the world is like. People murder each other, commit suicide, and get into car accidents every day. His wife is an average citizen and is considered “happy” while interacting with the “family”, a three wall television system. Montag struggles to find help in understanding how people became like this and dangerously risks reading books.
The review of this Book prepared by Jenna Bardroff

In this future people have stopped reading, books are being burned, and images are planted in your brain and beamed into up to four walls of your living room day and night. A fireman, who now lights fires instead of fighting them, is charged with burning books any time anyone reports finding them. Those holdouts who try to keep books in their homes know they are doomed, but the fireman cannot help wondering why he should not read, and tempts fate by sneaking home a book here and there. He feels powerless, however, to fight this society as it takes over his wife, neighbors, friends, and all readers everywhere, until he sets out on one last chance to hold onto the literature past.

The review of this Book prepared by Linda Napikoski

In the book Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury paints a grim assessment of mankind's future: a society in which the quest for knowledge and individuality is pushed aside in favor of the pursuit of happiness and anonymity. In this seemingly perfect world, anything that triggers independent thought is banned and burned to eliminate unhappiness. Everyone must be similar to everyone else in order for happiness to exist. However, not all are content with the way of life forced upon them, and the main character, Montag, joins them in this mindset. Montag is a hero in that he realizes that the utopian society is wrong, rebels against mainstream thought, and struggles to define himself.

As the novel begins, Guy Montag is seen as one of the many interchangeable zombies in his society. He takes great pride in his job as a book burner or fireman. But everything changes one night when he meets Clarisse, an innocent, young girl untouched by the woes of society. Slowly, through many different occurrences, he comes to realize that there is something profoundly wrong in his utopia.

Montag¡¦s wife, Mildred, is emotionless and without thought, the complete opposite of Clarisse. She spends all her time with tiny radios tamped in her ear and watching the parlor walls which she calls her family. After meeting Clarisse, Montag comes home to find that Mildred has overdosed on sleeping pills, and she almost dies. While watching the impersonal medical emergency staff matter-of-factly remove the contents of his wife, Montag realizes that he would feel no sorrow if she were to die. The relationship of Montag and his wife is like that of one between two strangers.

It is on a routine call to an old woman's house that makes Montag wonder about the influence and importance of books. Instead of leaving her house, the old woman chooses to die with her books as they burn.

Possessing and reading books are illegal, but Montag itches to know why they are so forbidden. While the fireman are destroying books, Montag¡¦s hand, out of his control, snatches a book from the air. As the story progresses, it is revealed that Montag has been secretly hoarding books and now, with newfound courage, he removes them to be read The writings cause him to think and to feel; they remind him of his life and help him understand it. But Mildred disagrees, and soon she places a call to the fire station. Under orders by Captain Beatty, Montag burns his house to ashes. Then as he is about to be arrested, Montag aims his flame-thrower at Beatty, killing him. Now Montag is on the run from the authorities, but he makes one stop before heading to the river that separates one world from the other, the ignorant from the intellectual. It is at the home of a fireman where he plants a book and then places an alarm.

Across the river, Montag meets and joins Granger and the society of book people. They memorize books and then burn them, preserving them for when knowledge will be welcomed back into the world. In the beginning, Montag was content with the work that he did but after witnessing the death of the old woman, he regards his coworkers in a new light. Worse yet are the likewise mindless friends of Mildred. Montag forges a friendship with Faber, a fellow nonconformist, in order to understand the books. Faber becomes his partner and the voice in his head through a two-way radio. Another friend who influences him is Clarisse. Upon her untimely demise, contrary to expectations of that time, Montag mourns her and she continues to influence his actions. And most of all, Montag gleans ideas and stimulus from the books.

From the automaton he used to be, Montag emerges from his cocoon as an intellectual, independent thinker. Rooted in humanity, Montag accepts his responsibility of rebuilding the world from the devastation.

The review of this Book prepared by Joanna

Guy Montag, a fireman several centuries into the second millennium, starts fires. It's his job to burn books, which have been deemed dangerous to society, wherever they are found. But he feels a sense of unease, living in a home where the walls are constantly-blasting TV screens, and is wife heavily medicates herself. A 17-year-old neighbor named Clarisse inspires him to start questioning his job and modern society. When a book owner, an elderly lady, chooses to burn with her home and books, Montag is especially upset, and decides to find out what could be so dangerous about books. But his supervisor, Captain Beatty, is on to him, and Montag runs a serious risk of not only losing his job but becoming a criminal hunted by society. Where will he go then? Ray Bradbury's 1953 classic hardly seems dated at all: It survives not only as a brilliant cautionary tale -- with many striking forecasts (such as wall TVs, censorship by popular taste, or the wars and poverty that no one noticed "because we're having so much fun at home") -- but as a cool, spare tale related in gorgeous, evocative English.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

The future looks grim if Ray Bradbury's view of things comes to pass. Books are not allowed in the world he has created. Firemen do not fight fires anymore, they make them, by burning books. The government of the day is afraid of knowledge for the masses and have created a society that despises books. There are still a few households where books can be found and the protagonist of this story, a fireman called Montag meets a young woman who introduces him to the magic of the written word. This book is a reminder to us all of what a totalitarian regime can do. Censorship is over the top here but it reminds us that censorship exists today, though not as strictly as it did in 1953 when this book was written. This is the sort of book you never forget.
The review of this Book prepared by Penny

The paper in books ignites at the temperature of the title, and this famous 1953 novel depicts an atavistic society which has dumbed down so much that 'intellectual' is a dirty word. When found, books are burned to cleanse society of them, the firemen are called out not to put out the fire but to torch both the books and the houses which contain them. The firemen are heroes to the many, who vegetate in front of the non-stop entertainment of four-wall TV screens, but hated by the few who cling to their secret books until they get burned out. The real hero of the story is a fireman who commits the fatal crime of reading a book he should burn, and then, brain alive, he has to have more...
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

Montag is a fireman, that is, his job is to burn things. Books are the things to be burnt as they are seen as irrelevant material and only television is worth anything. One day, motivated by ideas given to him by the unusual teenage girl Clarisse, Montag actually begins to read a book rather than burning it. He decides that books are too good to be burnt and should all be saved. He is discovered by his workmates and is handed over to the authorities. He escapes and is hunted until he meets up with Granger and his band who are dedicated to restoring literature to its rightful place in society.
The review of this Book prepared by Neil Morey

The struggle of a man to find meaning in a society that will not let him make decisions or wonder or comtemplate mystical ideas. A society that oppresses the indvidual reflective of Huxley's world. A inner struggle that fights between what feels is right and what a person is told is right.
The review of this Book prepared by Allyson Struth

A fireman who burns books, starts to question the purpose of his job in a repressive society. The cracks start to show....
The review of this Book prepared by tigger601

Chapter Analysis of Fahrenheit 451

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 40%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Repressive society story    -   Yes Repressive because:    -   strict rationing of freedoms/goods Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   near future (later in 21st century)    -   medium future 22-24th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   none/very little science jargon needed How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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