America’s relatively short-term future, as she saw the author in the early fifties, when this novel-dystopia was written.
Thirty-year-old Guy Montag is a firefighter. However, in these modern times fire brigades do not fight with fire. Quite the contrary. Their task is to find books and fire them, as well as the homes of those who dared to keep such sedition in them. For ten years now Montag has been fulfilling his duties, not thinking about the meaning and the reasons for such book hatefulness.
Meeting with a young and romantic Clarissa McLandland knocks out the hero from the rut of his habitual existence. For the first time in many years, Montag understands that human communication is more than an exchange of memorized remarks. Clarissa stands out sharply from the mass
As if confirming his conjecture about the mechanical, robotic existence of an accident with his wife Mildred. Returning home from work, Montag finds his wife unconscious. She poisoned with sleeping pills – not as a result of a desperate desire to part with life, but mechanically swallowing the pill for a pill. However, everything quickly falls into place. On call, Montag quickly arrives “ambulance”, and medical technicians quickly conduct blood transfusion with the help of new equipment, and then, having received the required fifty dollars, are removed to the next call.
Montag and Mildred have been married for a long time, but their marriage has become an empty fiction. They have no children – Mildred was against it. Everyone exists by himself. The wife is immersed in the world
Fleeting encounters with Clarice lead to the fact that Montag from a tuned automaton turns into a man who confuses his colleagues-firemen with inappropriate questions and remarks, like: “There were times when firefighters did not burn houses, but on the contrary, put out fires?”
The fire team is sent to another challenge, and this time Montag is in shock. The mistress of the house, caught in the possession of forbidden literature, refuses to leave her doomed home and accepts death on fire with her favorite books.
The next day Montag can not force himself to go to work. He feels completely sick, but his complaints about his health are not being met by Mildred, who is dissatisfied with the stereotype’s violation. In addition, she tells her husband that Clarissa McLandland is not alive – a few days ago she got under the car, and her parents moved to another place.
In the house of Montag appears his chief fireman Beatty.
He sensed something amiss and intended to tidy up Montague’s bungled mechanism. Beatty reads to his subordinate a small lecture that contains the principles of the consumer society, as Bradbury himself sees it: “… The twentieth century, the tempo accelerates, the books shrink in size.” Abbreviated publication, “Extract.” Extract: Do not smear, rather, to the denouement. classics are reduced to fifteen minutes, then even more: one column of text that you can run through your eyes in two minutes, then another: ten to twenty lines for an encyclopaedic dictionary… From the nursery directly to college, and then back to the child “.
Of course, this attitude to printed products is not the goal, but the means by which a society of manipulated people is created, where there is no place for personality.
“We all need to be the same,” says the fire-master, Montagu, “Not free and equal from birth, as stated in the Constitution, but… just the same.” Let all people become like each other like two drops of water, then everyone will be happy, because there will be no giants next to which others will feel their nothingness. “
If we accept such a model of society, then the danger from books becomes self-evident: “The book is a loaded gun in a neighbor’s house.” “Burn it.” “Discharge the gun.” “We must curb the human mind.” How much do you need to know who tomorrow will be the target for a well-read person. “
Before Montag comes the meaning of Beatty’s warning, but he has gone too far. He keeps books in the house, taken from a house doomed to burning. He admits this to Mildred and offers to read and discuss them together, but he does not find a response.
In search of like-minded people Montag goes to Professor Faber, long taken note of by firefighters. Abandoning the initial suspicions, Faber understands that Montagu can be trusted. He shares with him his plans for the resumption of printing, until in small amounts. A threat of war looms over America – although the country has already won twice in nuclear conflicts – and Faber believes that after the third clash Americans will come to their senses and, having necessarily forgotten about television, will experience the need for books. At parting Faber gives Montagu a miniature receiver, placed in the ear. This not only provides a link between the new allies, but also allows Faber to get information about what is happening in the firefighters’ world, to study it and to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the enemy.
The military threat is becoming more real, on the radio and TV are reporting on the mobilization of millions. But even earlier the clouds thicken over the house of Montag. The attempt to interest the wife and her friends with books turns into a scandal. Montag returns to the service, and the team is sent to the next call. To his surprise, the car stops in front of his own house. Beatty tells him that Mildred did not take it and reported about the books where necessary. However, her report was a little late: her friends showed more lightness.
By order of Beatty Montag, he personally gives fire to books and a house. But then Beattie discovers the transmitter used by Faber and Montag for communication. To save his friend from trouble, Montag sends the hose of a flamethrower to Beatty. Then comes the turn of the other two firefighters.
Since then, Montag has become a particularly dangerous criminal. Organized society declares war on him. However, at the same time the same great war begins, which has long been prepared. Montagu manages to escape from the chase. At least, for some time from now they will be left behind: in order to convince the public that no criminal escapes punishment, the persecutors kill an innocent passer-by who has managed to get in the way of the terrible Mechanical Dog. The chase was broadcast on television, and now all respectable citizens can breathe a sigh of relief.
Following the instructions of Faber, Montag leaves the city and meets with representatives of a very unusual community. It turns out that in the country there has long existed something like a spiritual opposition. Seeing how books are being destroyed, some intellectuals have found a way to create an obstacle to the path of modern barbarism. They began to memorize works by heart, turning into living books. Someone has hardened Plato’s State, someone Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels, Walden’s first chapter, Henry David Thoreau, lives in one city, in the second, the second, and so on throughout America. Thousands of like-minded people do their work and wait for their precious knowledge to be needed again by society. Perhaps they will wait for their own. The country is experiencing another shock, and over the city, which recently left the protagonist, there are enemy bombers. They throw down on him their deadly cargo and turn into ruins this miracle of technological thought of the XX century.