The fact that this absolute classic of a book explains its title on the back – “Fahrenheit 451 = the temperature at which book-paper catches fire and burns – makes you want to leap into the dystopian world created by Ray Bradbury. The story follows Guy Montag, a fireman whose job it is to start fires rather than put them out. Books are strictly forbidden in this world, however Guy comes to question this notion and indeed his own happiness after meeting his young neighbour Clarisse.
If you liked “1984”, then you’ll love this. It’s easily digestible yet makes a massive statement about society and consumerism. With that, there are some truly awesome quotes within the book, heck, when I was reading it I had to keep picking up my pencil to underline yet another good quote. Here are some of the many that I loved:
“He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl [Clarisse] had run off across the lawn with the mask and there was no way of going to knock on her door and ask for it back.”
Pretending to be happy when you know that you aren’t is an exhausting part of having a mental illness, and sometimes when that mask slips off, you don’t have the energy to put it back on again.
“As he stood there the sky over the house screamed.”
This brought back feelings of anxiety when going somewhere that made me nervous, or more likely returning somewhere that had negative connotations with something that I couldn’t bare to face – whether that was people or emotions.
“There are too many of us, he thought. There are billions of us and that’s too many. Nobody knows anyone. Strangers come and violate you. Strangers come and cut your heart out. Strangers come and take your blood.”
I know this quote is a stab at society but it mostly reminded me of how you can meet people that only bring the bad to your life, or at least try to, rather than meeting the lovely strangers of the world.
“I haven’t any friends. That’s supposed to prove I’m abnormal.”
I have few close friends, and that used to make me feel inadequate compared to everybody else. It was probably due to what TV shows show you how lives should or could be, and I always felt like I fell short.
“Nobody says anything different from anyone else.”
Again, a statement about society, however to me it also translates to say that everybody’s story is important and that they should be told. Quit the small talk.
“Life is immediate, the job counts, pleasure lies all about after work.”
There is no rush for your life – and sure, jobs are important somewhat, but doing something for yourself that gives you meaning and enjoyment – that’s what it’s all about.
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over, so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.”
I have a quote in my apartment that says; “Friendship isn’t a big thing, it’s a million little things.” This quote reminds me of that.
“We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam.”
The brightest stars are surrounded by darkness – I love both this quote and the one of above for how it can give anyone the hope that though they may be going through something sad that it will help them flourish one day.
“It was only the other night everything was fine and the next thing I know I’m drowning. How many times can a man go down and still be alive?”
One day can be completely normal and you can feel untouchable. The next day something happens and it feels like you’ve had your teeth kicked in and that your world has been turned upside down. Yet, you keep on going.
“It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away.”
Touching somebody’s life with your humour or kindness or talents is the most rewarding thing you can do. If somebody else can uplift your spirits then why not try to do the same for somebody else?
“Some day the load we’re carrying with us may help someone.”
I’ve always maintained that though it can be difficult to talk about sometimes, if sharing my experiences with depression can help somebody else then it’s worth doing. Though sometimes I get quite nervous about publishing something so honest and open onto the worldwide web, when I get an email or a comment from a complete stranger saying how it has given them some comfort, I just want to keep doing it.
Have you got any favourite quotes from Fahrenheit 451 that I missed? Or interpretations of the quotes above? Let’s discuss!