‘Last night I thought about all that kerosene I’ve used in the past ten years. And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books. A man had to think them up. a man had to take a long time to put them down on paper.’ -Guy Montag
A few months ago I was surprised at how long Ulysses is. This Monday I was surprised at how short Fahrenheit 451 is. I started it in the morning and finished it during lunch. I was actually disappointed at how short it was, though I chose it for this month specifically because it was short. Silly me.
Having thought it over for a few days, I’m still disappointed it is so short. The basic story, about a man whose job it is to burn books discovering the importance of what he destroys, could easily have been expanded into a novel of a decent length. Since I’m unused to shorter novels, the story felt a bit rushed, without a lot of time to properly digest what was going on.
That being said, the story was still strong enough for me to read and enjoy. The character goes through several discussions regarding censorship and happiness, describing the good intentions of society that lead to the hell he finds himself in. I did like the contrast of ‘society led itself to this point’, as opposed to 1984’s ‘the government cultivated society to this point’. (The concept of ‘everyone can be happy when everyone is stupid’ seems to be a common theme in these dystopian books I’ve been reading).
If you haven’t read this one yet, I recommend it, especially as it isn’t too long.