Fahrenheit 451 is the temperature paper burns, and the title of Ray Bradbury’s famous apocalyptic novel. It takes us to a futuristic world where books are burned. I remember reading it as a teenager and loving his ideas.
Ray Bradbury died on Tuesday. In his honor I’m posting 5 quotes from his most famous novel, Fahrenheit 451. They say a lot about writing, books and life. Below the quotes I’ll put a video clip from AP on his life. Enjoy.
“There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
– Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Part 1
The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.(83) Wikiquote
The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are. They’re Caesar’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, ‘Remember, Caesar, thou art mortal.’ Most of us can’t rush around, talk to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. (86)
Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public stopped reading of its own accord. You firemen provide a circus now and then at which buildings are set off and crowds gather for the pretty blaze, but its a small sideshow indeed, and hardly necessary to keep things in line. So few want to be rebels anymore. (87)
Somewhere the saving and putting away had to begin again and someone had to do the saving and keeping, one way or another, in books, in records, in people’s heads, any way at all so long as it was safe, free from moths, silver-fish, rust and dry-rot, and men with matches.
Quote 6 (okay, so I can’t count)
Some day the load we’re carrying with us may help someone. But even when we had the books on hand, a long time ago, we didn’t use what we got out of them. We went right on insulting the dead. We went right on spitting in the graves of all the poor ones who died before us. We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing, you can say, We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And some day we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steam-shovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in and cover it up. Come on now, we’re going to go build a mirror-factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them.” (163-164)
Note: quotes 2-4 come from Wiki Quote. The first quote comes from About.Com. My copy of the book is tucked away, cozy in a cottage bookcase.