The 43 Most Memorable quotes from Fahrenheit 451

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Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel that was published in 1953. It is thought to be the best novel written by Ray Bradbury, an American author. The book became a classic because of its stance against censorship and its focus on literature and knowledge as essential to the future of civilization.  In Fahrenheit 451 the reader is met with a future dystopian American society where books are outlawed and “firemen” are charged with burning any books that are found. the book title refers to the fact that paper catches fire and burns at 451 degrees. And in the book, firemen are hired to start fires and burn homes that contain books, since the books are illegal.

When Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 in 1953, television was gaining popularity, as it was new media form. And Bradbury was concerned about its increasing influence on people’s every lives. A central theme of Fahrenheit 451 is the contrast between being passively entertained through the television and more in-depth critical thinking and discussion that comes from reading and discussing books.

In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury packs so much intensity into every page of his book. There are some amazing quotes about free society and censorship that have transcended the ages. Here are some of the quotes that stood out to us:

Fahrenheit 451 Quotes

1. “It was a pleasure to burn.”

2. “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.”

3. “If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”

4. “‘Bet I know something else you don’t. There’s dew on the grass in this morning.’ He suddenly couldn’t remember if he had known this or not, and it made him quite irritable.

5. “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.”

6. “‘Why is it,’ he said, one time, at the subway entrance, ‘I feel I’ve known you so many years?’ ‘Because I like you,’ she said, ‘and I don’t want anything from you.’

7. “‘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?’”

8. “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?”

9. “‘Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.’”

10. “‘Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.’”

11. “‘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.’”

12. “‘A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.’”

13. “‘That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.’”

14. “The books are to remind us what asses and fool we are. They’re Caeser’s praetorian guard, whispering as the parade roars down the avenue, “Remember, Caeser, thou art mortal.” Most of us can’t rush around, talking to everyone, know all the cities of the world, we haven’t time, money or that many friends. The things you’re looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine per cent of them is in a book. 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 headed for shore.”

15. “‘Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord.’”

16. “‘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.’”

17. “‘But you can’t make people listen. They have to come round in their own time, wondering what happened and why the world blew up under then. It can’t last.’”

18. “‘And when he died, I suddenly realized I wasn’t crying for him at all, but for all the things he did. I cried because he would never do them again, he would never carve another piece of wood or help us raise doves and pigeons in the backyard or play the violin the way he did, or tell us jokes the way he did. He was part of us and when he died, all the actions stopped dead and there was no one to do them just the way he did. He was individual.’”

19. “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”

20. “Stuff your 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 made or paid for in factories.”

21. “Why is it,” he said, one time, at the subway entrance, “I feel I’ve known you so many years?”

22. “Because I like you,” she said, “and I don’t want anything from you.”

23.  “I’ll hold onto the world tight some day. I’ve got one finger on it now; that’s a beginning.”

24. “‘We’re going to meet a lot of lonely people in the next week and the next month and the next year. And when they ask us what we’re doing, you can say, We’re remembering. That’s where we’ll win out in the long run. And someday we’ll remember so much that we’ll build the biggest goddamn steamshovel in history and dig the biggest grave of all time and shove war in it and cover it up.’”

25. “It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around at the world and life, and then I came along in two minutes and boom! it’s all over.”

26. “That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.”

27. “We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought.”

28. “If you don’t want a house built, hide the nails and wood. If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none.”

29. “No one has time any more for anyone else.”

30. “Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”

31. “To everything there is a season. Yes. A time to break down, and a time to build up. Yes. A time to keep silence and a time to speak. Yes, all that.”

32. “‘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.’”

33. “I don’t talk things…I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I’m alive.”

34. “They say you retain knowledge even when you’re sleeping, if someone whispers in your ear.”

35. “Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so…full of ‘facts’ they feel stuffed, but absolutely ‘brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion without moving. And they’ll be happy, because facts of that sort don’t change. Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology to tie things up with. That way lies melancholy.”

36. “Come on now, we’re going to go build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them.”

37. “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.”

38. “But time to think? If you’re not driving a hundred miles an hour, at a clip where you can’t think of anything else but the danger, then you’re playing some game or sitting in some room where you can’t argue with the four wall televisor. Why? The televisor is ‘real.’ It is immediate, it has dimension. It tells you what to think and blasts it in. It must be, right. It seems so right. It rushes you on so quickly to its own conclusions your mind hasn’t time to protest, ‘What nonsense!‘”

38. “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?”

39.  “Stuff your eyes with wonder…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.”

40.  “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 least one which makes the heart run over.”

41. “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.

42. “It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.”

43. “I still love books. Nothing a computer can do can compare to a book. You can’t really put a book on the Internet. Three companies have offered to put books by me on the Net, and I said, ‘If you can make something that has a nice jacket, nice paper with that nice smell, then we’ll talk.’ All the computer can give you is a manuscript. People don’t want to read manuscripts. They want to read books. Books smell good. They look good. You can press it to your bosom. You can carry it in your pocket.”

Fahrenheit 451 Quotes are helpful to reflect on

This book really focused on the dangers of not having free speech. This is a great book to re-read, especially this year. You can buy a copy of the book here.

 

 

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