Monday, June 6, 2016

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is disappointing on a number of levels.  Bradbury’s characters gets bogged down in extended social and political speeches about the main topic of the novel, the place of books, and the ideal of learning and self-betterment.  Of course, this is a deep topic, demanding great attention.  But Bradbury falls into the didactic trap.

He does not allow the story to tell itself, but forces it upon his readers.  The result is a stilted tale, betraying a strong element of propaganda, to the detriment of the narrative flow.

Bradbury avoided this trap in The Martian Chronicles.  There, the characters play out their lives in the shadow of great events, and we see these reflected in their struggles.  Fahrenheit 451 gets it the opposite way around ­– and the novel flounders. 

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