Timeless novel, Fahrenheit 451, still stands relevant today


Kasey Harvey

Guest Contributor Asha James provides her perspective on the world renowned novel, Fahrenheit 451 being read in English 1 classes right now.

Asha James, Guest Contributor

English class is known for the number of books that are read and studied for deeper meanings. Some popular books include Esperanza Rising, The Hunger Games, or Fahrenheit 451. Most books read are either historical fiction or dystopian novels. Dystopian novels answer the questions of “what if…” or “if this continues…” which leads to an interesting reading experience.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury represents the temperature that books burn. In this alternate future world, firefighters are meant to start fires when a book is found. Guy Montag is the main character and the book follows his journey from being one of the firefighters to gaining his own opinions. People in that world realized the amount of power and knowledge that books hold. Knowledge leads to opinions and differing opinions lead to conflict. So they decided it was easier to get rid of it all to keep society in an orderly, one-minded line. 

This book has many subtle meanings and motifs. For example, Montag’s wife, Mildred, is shown as very technology-dependent and seen as half-alive and empty. She could be a representation of what people are like without knowledge.

Dystopian literature is meant to show us what could happen to the world with the absence of something or with a different form of leadership. Fahrenheit 451 is a land without knowledge and blind acceptance. This is a book often read in English classes for a good reason. Nearly everyone in the book has the same mindset that information is dangerous. The ones who don’t believe it is marked as crazy or unstable.

While this book was published in 1953 during the Cold War, its message is still relevant today. It’s a book that shows the dangers of over-censorship and neglecting reality in favor of technology making it an amazing book to read, even outside the classroom.