How many dog-eared, highlighted, splitting at the binds novels do we have piling up on our bookshelves?
As professional students, it is easy to say we’ve built up a collection throughout high school and college. So much so that many titles get lost in the jumble of assignments and tests and we forget why these books are known as “classics.” One such book is a small 358-page book titled “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury.
Published in 1953, the novel depicts a future America in which books are banned and firemen burn any known traces of them. Readers follow Montag, a fireman, under the direction of Captain Beatty, who learns to question the system that he has participated in his entire life.
We follow him as he meets the inquisitive Clarisse, his with-the-system wife Mildred and an old retired English professor named Faber, while learning the true power of books and the words within.
Why is this important and relevant now? One reason is the message the novel wishes to gift its readers. Beatty explains at one point why books were banned in the first place.
Differing opinions and ideas and the wish to not offend anyone led to the standardization of all books. However, it was decided that this was not enough and so all books were banned and burned in order to prevent conflicting opinions.
Books conflict each other; even Captain Beatty at one point begins to quote famous books in an effort to show how dangerously contradictory they are. But they are meant to be.
In a time in which we should be questioning the status quo, there should be books and words that offer differing perspectives.
How else are we meant to form our own opinions on the world around us? In a time where reading has become scarce, let us revive this art form.
Also, in an almost ironic twist, “Fahrenheit 451” is set to become a television series on HBO.
The teaser trailer was released Jan. 12 with the release date set as a vague spring 2018. Michael B. Jordan (“Creed,” “Fruitvale Station” and “Black Panther”) has been cast as Montag and Michael Shannon (“Man of Steel,” “Nocturnal Animals” and “Revolutionary Road”) has been cast as Captain Beatty. Take the opportunity to read this quick read before the show explodes across our television screens this spring.