Hello, and welcome to Blogging A to Z 2017.
My theme this month is 26 of the Best Characters in Fiction.
I’m ashamed to admit that I only recently read Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury. Guy Montag is a fireman. But in this universe, firemen don’t put out fires; they burn books. A chance encounter with a strange young girl makes Guy question why they must burn books.
The world depicted in Fahrenheit 451 is superficial and frightening, with people mindlessly consuming media. They don’t have TV; they have walls of media. Shows take up whole walls in the house, and it’s an immersive experience that blurs the lines between fiction and reality.
Guy starts to question this reality, and steals a book to see what’s the big deal. Why would anyone risk their lives for what’s in the pages?
He’s not a comfortable character to visit. He goes a little crazy at one point, and makes bad decisions. But I can’t imagine what it would be like to start off believing that books are okay to burn (the thought makes my heart hurt) and then to begin questioning everything you know.
Imagine all the ideas destroyed! Imagine every copy of Harry Potter being wiped out, every copy of The Handmaid’s Tale, or All The Ugly and Wonderful Things.
Would I burn a book if I’d been taught my whole life that they were dangerous things that needed to be eradicated? Would I ever crack one open and discover magic inside?
I’m not sure I like Guy. I’m not sure I can forgive him for some of the decisions he makes. But he’s interesting, a product of his universe.
To one extent or another… aren’t we all?