I fell in love with the book from the first line: “It was a pleasure to burn.” There aren’t many books that have pulled me in so deeply with just a few words but this was one of them. With those six simple words the author, Ray Bradbury, conveys Montag’s obvious satisfaction with his life as a fireman. The exposition of this novel depicts a dystopian future where the vast majority of citizens live in numb contentment.
I could go on and on about this lovely short novel, but I will save that for another post. Here I would just like to share about 8 of the best quotes from the book that I think every reader should know.
1. “It was a pleasure to burn.”
2. “He was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs. He wore his happiness like a mask and the girl 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.”
3. “We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?”
4. “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.”
5. “A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.”
6. “What is there about fire that’s so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?’ Beatty blew out the flame and lit it again. ‘It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.”
7. “Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.”
8. “If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
9. “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.”
10. “Don’t ask for guarantees. And don’t look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
11. “The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
12. “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.”
13. “I don’t talk things, sir. I talk the meaning of things.”
14. “See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask for no guarantees, ask for no security.”
And last but not least:
15. “Stuff your eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic that any dream made or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal. And if there were, it would be related to the great sloth which hangs upside down in a tree all day every day, sleeping its life away. To hell with that,’ he said, ‘shake the tree and knock the great sloth down on his ass.”
Also, were you aware that HBO recently adapted a film version of this book? I must admit that I actually enjoyed the film (don’t hate me.) It was rather strange, just as strange as the book was. The film had it’s expected differences from the book, but honestly, I liked how they were able to keep me entertained since I already knew how the book ended. If you ever find yourself chilling at home on a cold evening, throw on that film adaptation of “Fahrenheit 451,” and hopefully it will entertain you as much as it did me.