Ray Bradbury “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head, and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history. With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black. He strode in a swarm of fireflies. He wanted above all, like the old joke, to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house. While the books went up in sparkling whirls and blew away on a wind turned dark with burning.” The above quote is from Fahrenheit 451, my favorite science fiction novel of all time, by Ray Bradbury.
The quote describes the main concept of the book and is very appealing because it gives so much visual detail to the scene. This story is set in a future where all books and other written materials are forbidden. The main character’s (Guy Montag’s) job is to burn books and the houses which the books are hidden in. He never questions his actions until he meets someone who tells him how it was in the past when people didn’t live in fear and could read whatever they wished. Then he does everything he can to prevent books from being burned and starts wanting to learn more and more. I thought that this novel exercised great social commentary on society as a whole.
It shows how important books are to us all. It also shows that some people feel that knowledge is a threat to power and rule. Reading is a freedom everyone should be able to enjoy. Ray Bradbury is an American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet. He was born in Waukegan, Illinois on August 22, 1920. His work has been included in the Best American Short Story collections (1946,1948, and 1952).
He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award in 1954, the Aviation-Space Writer’s Association Award for best space article in an American Magazine in 1967, the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement, and the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America. His animated film about the history of flight, Icarus Montgolfier Wright, was nominated for an academy award, and his teleplay of The Halloween Tree won an Emmy. Some of Bradbury’s most famous books over the years are The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, No Man is an Island, The Golden Apples of the Sun, Dandelion Wine and of course Fahrenheit 451. Ray Bradbury’s writing has been honored in many ways, but probably the most unusual was when an Apollo astronaut named the Dandelion Crater on the Moon after Bradbury’s novel, Dandelion Wine.
Besides his literary achievements, Ray Bradbury was the idea consultant and wrote the basic scenario for the United States Pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. He thought up the metaphors for Spaceship Earth, EPCOT, Disney World, and he contributed to the birth of the Orbitron space ride at Euro-Disney in France. He was creative consultant for the Jon Jerde Partnership, the architectural firm that blueprinted the Glendale Galleria, The Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, and Horton Plaza in San Diego. Ray Bradbury is now living in California and is still writing and lecturing.