A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most famous examples of American dystopian science fiction. It is frequently taught in high school and college literature courses.
Fahrenheit 451 is an impassioned cry of warning about censorship and the forces of conformity. Bradbury depicts a future America where the citizenry is completely disconnected from reality. He suggests that only through reading and remembering can humankind hope to survive and flourish.
Positive Role Models
Guy Montag begins the novel as a true believer, finding purpose in life by being a fireman and burning every book he can find. After his wife's suicide attempt and the death of a bright young neighbor, however, he begins to question what he's been told about reading. By the end of the book, he has been transformed, and his continued survival offers hope for the future of humankind.
Violence & Scariness
Montag's personal transformation starts in earnest after he witnesses the self-immolation of a book lover. Another character attempts suicide with pills. Eventually, Montag deliberately burns one of his colleagues to death. He is then pursued by the relentless, robotic Mechanical Hound.
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There are a few instances of swearing -- "hell," "damn," "God damn."
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Products & Purchases
The Fahrenheit 451 society undergoes mass censorship, which is made possible by the idea that consumerism has already eliminated individuality and history in this dystopian world. The main object that was once valued in this novel, of course, is books.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drugs are a telling tool in Fahrenheit 451 that reveal the characters' dependencies upon artificial and temporary objects. For example, a character tries to commit suicide by overdosing on tranquilizers. There are instances of cigarette smoking, misuse of painkillers, and the consumption of alcohol, often to numb their concerns.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Fahrenheit 451 is a classic example of dystopian fiction, written by one of the most acclaimed authors of American science fiction and fantasy. It depicts a near-future America where books are prohibited and the populace is placated with cheap, shallow entertainment. Ironically, the novel's inclusion in schools and libraries is frequently opposed by various special-interest groups. There is some violence -- the main character deliberately burns one of his colleagues to death, one woman sets herself on fire and burns to death, another attempts suicide with pills, a mechanical hound goes after one man and kills another.
Is It Any Good?
FAHRENHEIT 451 is a classic science fiction novel and a powerful commentary on humankind's urge to suppress what it doesn't understand. The shadow of the Cold War looms over the plot, which may confuse some younger readers, but the truths Ray Bradbury unearths are timeless. The novel won the National Book Award and has been adapted for film, radio, stage, and graphic novel, and it's likely to be read widely for a long time to come.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.