Fahrenheit 451 | 2

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Del Rey, 1991. (First Ed. 1953.)

“‘Words are like leaves and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.'” Alexander Pope. p. 106

“Read a few lines and off you go over the cliff. Bangm you’re ready to blow up the world, chop off heads, knock down women and children, destroy authority.” Beatty p. 106

“‘The Devil can cite scripture for his purpose.'” (William Shakespeare | The Merchant of Venice) p. 106

****”Beatty never drove, but he was driving tonight, slamming the Salamander around corners, leaning forward high on the driver’s throne, his massive black slicker flapping out behind so that he seemed a great black bat flying above the engine, over the brass numbers, taking the full wind.” p. 109

“He turned and the Mechanical Hound was there.
It was half across the lawn, coming from the shadows, moving with such drifting ease that it was like a single solid cloud of black-gray smoke blown at him in silence.” p. 120

“lost in pocket of a man who was now nothing but a frame skeleton strung with asphalt tendons.” p. 123

“A great whirling whisper made him look to the sky.
The police helicopters were rising so far away that it seemed someone had blown the gray head off a dry dandelion flower.” p. 125

“He stopped for breath, on his way to the river, to peer through dimly lit windows of wakened houses, and saw the silhouettes of people inside watching their parlor walls and there on the walls the Mechanical Hound, a breath of neon vapor, spidered along, here and gone, here and gone!” p. 137

“He saw many hands held to its warmth, hands without arms, hidden in darkness. Above the hands, motionless faces that were only moved and tossed and flickered with firelight. He hadn’t known fire could look this way. He had never thought in his life that it could give as well as take.” p. 145-146

“But that’s the wonderful thing about man; he never gets so discouraged or disgusted that he gives up doing it all over again, because he knows very well it is important and worth the doing.” p. 153

“‘Stuff you eyes with wonder,’ he said, ‘live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream or paid for in factories. Ask no guarantees, ask for no security, there never was such an animal.” p. 157

“Perhaps the bombs were there, and the jets, ten miles, five miles, one mile up, for the merest instant, like grain thrown over the heavens by a great sowing hand, and the bombs drifting with dreadful swiftness, yet sudden slowness, down upon the morning city they had left behind.” p. 158

“The concussion knocked the air across and down the river, turned the men over like dominos in a line, blew the water in lifting sprays, and blew the dust and made the trees above them mourn with great wind passing away south.” p. 160

“I didn’t know it, but I was literally writing a dime novel. In the spring of 1950 it cost me nine dollars and eighty cents in dimes to write and finish the first draft of The Fire Man which later because Fahrenheit 451.” p. 167

“Father had to choose between finishing a story or playing with the girls. I chose to play, of course, which endangered the family income. An office had to be found. We couldn’t afford one.” p. 167

“Thus I was twice drive; by children to leave home, and by a typewriter timing device to be a maniac at the keys. Time was indeed money. I finished the first draft in roughly nine days. At 25,000 words, it was half the novel it eventually would become.” p. 168

“I have scribbled poems about librarians, taken night trains with my favorite authors across the continental wilderness, staying up all night gabbling and drinking, drinking and chatting. I warned Melville, in one poem, to stay away from land (it never was his stuff!) and turned Bernard Shaw into a robot, so as to conveniently stow him aboard a rocket and wake him on the long journey to Alpha Centuri to hear his Prefaces piped off his tongue and into my delighted ear.” p. 168-169

“”It’s not owning books that’s a crime, Montag, it’s reading them!” p. 169-170.

“A last discovery. I write all of my novels and stories, as you have seen, in a great surge of delightful passion.” p. 173


On censoship and simplicity: “Every story, slenderized, starved, bluepenciled, leeched and bled white, resembled every other story. Twain read like Poe read like Shakespeare read like Dostoevsky read like–in the finale–Edgar Guest. Every word of more than three syllables had been razored.” p. 176

“The point is obvious. There is more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.” p. 176

“If teachers and grammar school editors find my jawbreaker sentences shatter their mushmilk teeth, let them eat stale cake dunked in weak tea of their own ungodly manufacture.” p. 178

“Take philosophic asides away from Dante, Milton or Hamlet’s father’s ghost and what stays is dry bones. Laurence Stern said it once: Digressions, incontestably, are the sunshine, the life, the soul of reading!” p. 178-179

“At sunset I’ve won or lost. At sunrise, I’m out again, giving it the old try.
And no one can help me. Not even you.” p. 179

A Conversation with Ray Bradbury

“Then, sometime in the late summer of 1953, Playboy came to me. They had no money; they were just starting out, and they asked me if I had something I would sell them for four hundred dollars, so they could get started. So I sold them Fahrenheit 451 for four hundred dollars, and they published it in the second, third, and fourth issues of the magazine.” p. 181

*****”I wrote for years, and I wasn’t paid. My live carried me through all those years. I sold newspapers on the street corner… you’re either in love with what you do, or you’re not in love.” p. 183

“Reading is at the center of our lives. The library is our brain. Without the library, you have no civilization.” p. 184

“It’s not substance; it’s style. The whole problem of TV and movies today is summed up for meby the film Moulin Rouge. It came out a few years ago and won a lot of awards. It has 4,560 half-second clips in it. The camera never stops and hold still. So it clicks off your thinking; you can’t think when you have things bombarding you like that… We bombard people with sensation. That substitutes for thinking.” p. 184

“I wrote the book because I love writing. All my stories are written in bursts of passion.” p. 185

“DR: Do you plot your stories in advance?
RB: NO, no, no. I live my stories.” p. 185

Are you the boss of your characters (tell them what to do)?
“You can’t do that. That’s bad writing. They must write you. They must control you. They plot me. I never control them. I let them have their lives.” p. 185

“I believe that if you do your work everyday, at the end of the week or at the end of the month or at the end of the year, you feel good about all the things you did. It’s based on reality, not a false concept of optimism. So if you behave well, if you write well every day, and act well, at the end of the year you’ll feel good about yourself.” p. 188

“I’ve been influenced by all kinds of Irish writers: George Bernard Shaw, Sean O’Casey, William Butler Yeats, Oscar Wilde… or in England, Charles Dickens. Yes, I was influenced by the nineteenth century American writers who wrote metaphors: Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Edgar Allan Poe.” p. 188

On Federico Fellini “he lived with the following saying: “Don’t tell me what I’m doing; I don’t want to know.” He never looked at his films when he was making them. Never saw the dailies. Only when he finished shooting the film would he sit down with the projector and look at what he had done. I’m the same way. I don’t believe in watching myself.” p. 189

“DR: What books did you fall in love with as a boy?
RB: The Oz books. Tarzan and John Carter, Warlord of Mars, by Burroughs. Jules Verne, at a certain age. Edgar Allan Poe when I was nine. And H. G. Wells, who was very negative but very exciting, because when you’re sixteen years old, you’re paranoid, and H. G. Wells is a very paranoid writer. And a very necessary one.” p. 190

About the Author
“published some 500 short stories, novels, plays, and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales… For several years he wrote for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone and in 1953 did the screenplay for John Huston’s Moby Dick… collaborated on an animated film, Icarus Montgolfer Wright… When one of the Apollo astronaut teams landed on the moon, they named Dandelion Crater there to honor Bradbury’s novel Dandelion Wine. His novel Something Wicked This Way Comes was made into a major release feature film” p. About the Author

to read:

S Is for Space

Dandelion Wine


Something Wicked This Way Comes | Dir. Jack Clayton | (1983)