I have to be honest with you, guys.. I didn’t come up with the discussion questions for Fahrenheit 451. Oops! But I have tried to answer some I found online to the best of my analyzing abilities (still a work in progress!), so here goes. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below, so that we could have a nice little chat about this great book! The links to full questions are at the end of this post if you wanted to check out what I used as a guide to discuss Fahrenheit 451. Cue the spoilers!
In the opening scene, why are the books compared to birds?
Hey, the opening scene was painful, right? Bradbury takes our love towards books and totally lights it up whilst we read how Montag would love to shove a marshmallow on a stick, whilst watching our beloved books burn in front of him. Birds symbolize freedom and captivity. In many ways books are the same. Books can give you freedom to discover new things, books can fly you away to a completely different place and allow you to take an adventure from the comfort of your own home; books can make you think. And thinking can be something that gives you freedom, or keep you captive.
Why does the author introduce the character of Clarisse before Mildred?
Clarisse is one of my favourite characters. I love that she is brave enough to question the reality around her. I feel the reason Clarisse is introduced first is because she has more of an impact on Montag. She paves the way Montag’s character developes throughout the book. She challenges him to step aside to see the bigger picture and look further than the ignorance he has become accustomed to. Clarisse, in my view, was an important character in Montag’s life who showed him ignorance isn’t always bliss.
Why does the society consider Clarisse “anti-social”?
I feel it’s because Clarisse doesn’t fit “the norm”; she asks questions, she’s interested in people and having meaningful conversations. The society in Fahrenheit 451 is the polar opposite to what Clarisse aspires to.
Describe the relationship between Montag and Mildred?
Their relationship definitely isn’t one of husband and wife, but rather just being co-existing flatmates. Mildred is a bit dead inside, isn’t she?? Guess her obsession with the TV, watching the shows the Government uses to wash her brain DAILY, makes her the human shell she is portrayed to be. In all honesty, I don’t think I care about her myself either! Ha-ha!
Montag comes to learn that “firemen are rarely necessary” because “the public itself stopped reading of its own accord.” Bradbury wrote his novel in 1953; to what extent has his prophecy come true today?
Up until recently, I feel like reading was just one of those “nerdy” things to do. Even now, I see more people on their phones rather than with their noses in a book or a newspaper. It’s eerie how Bradbury foresaw the effects technology would have on mankind in the future.
Clarisse describes a past that Montag has never known: one with front porches, gardens, and rocking chairs. What do these items have in common, and how might their removal have encouraged Montag’s repressive society?
For me they all are places I’d spend my time at reading, thinking, spending time with loved ones and talking. I suppose by having this taken away from me, I’d quickly start relying on the TV to give me much needed entertainment, too! No wonder Montag’s society were so reliant on whatever was available to occupy the empty mind.
One of the most significant of the many literary allusions in Fahrenheit 451 occurs when Montag reads Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach.” What is the response of Mildred’s friends, and why does Montag kick them out of his house?
Emotional, angry and bewildered. I think Montag couldn’t stand the fact that one of the ladies blamed poems for making people feel sad, whilst their lives were already awful. He lists all of the incredibly unfortunate events in Mrs Bowles life trying to make a point that her life is already tragic.
Unlike Mrs. Hudson, Montag chooses not to die in his house with his books. Instead he burns them, asserting even that “it was good to burn” and that “fire was best for everything!” Are these choices and sentiments consistent with his character? Are you surprised that he fails to follow in her footsteps?
No, I’m not surprised. I feel that mas the book goes on Montag’s character develops and he starts thinking more and more finding a lot wrong with the environment around him. Perhaps he was sick and tired of the whole of the society and people in it being mindless followers, he just wanted to hit a restart. And as Michael Jackson sang- he started with a man in the mirror.
Are there any circumstances where censorship might play a beneficial role in society? Are there some books that should be banned?
If you had to memorize a single book or risk its extinction, which book would you choose?
Oh, this is a tough one! Err, I think perhaps Dennis Lehane Shutter Island to remind myself that not everything is as it seems.