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"The short novel presents a future American society in which the masses are hedonistic and critical thought through reading is outlawed. The central character, Guy Montag, is employed as a "fireman" (which, in this future, means "bookburner"). The number "451" refers to the temperature at which book paper combusts." - [*Wikipedia*] [Comment by Margaret Atwood]: > As a young teenager, I devoured Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 by flashlight. It gave me nightmares. In the early 1950s television was just rolling forth, and people sat mesmerised in front of their flickering sets, eating their dinners off TV trays. Surely, it was said, "the family" was doomed, since the traditional dinnertime was obsolete. Films and books too were about to fall victim to the new all-consuming medium. My own parents refused to get a TV, so I had to sneak over to friends' houses to gape at The Ed Sullivan Show. But when not doing that, I fed my reading addiction, whenever, however, whatever. Hence Fahrenheit 451. In this riveting book, books themselves are condemned – all books. The very act of reading is considered detrimental to social order because it causes people to think, and then to distrust the authorities. Instead of books the public is offered conformity via four-wall TV, with the sound piped directly into their heads via shell-shaped earbuds (a brilliant proleptic leap on the part of Bradbury). Montag, the main character, is a "Fireman": his job is to burn each and every book uncovered by the state's spies and informers. But little by little Montag gets converted to reading, and finally joins the underground: a dedicated band of individuals sworn to preserve world literature by becoming the living repositories of the books they have memorised. > Fahrenheit 451 predated Marshall McLuhan and his theories about how media shape people, not just the reverse. We interact with our creations, and they themselves act upon us. Now that we're in the midst of a new wave of innovative media technologies, it's time to reread this classic, which poses the eternal questions: who and how do we want to be? : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fahrenheit_451 : http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/may/14/science-fiction-authors-choice
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