Greenwich Reads Together 2019: Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

Sixty years after its original publication, Ray Bradbury’s internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 stands as a classic of world literature set in a bleak future. Today, its message has grown more relevant than ever before.

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television “family.” But when he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known.

The New York Times called it “brilliant . . . startling and ingenious . . . Mr. Bradbury’s account of this insane world, which bears many alarming resemblances to our own, is fascinating.”

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About Ray Bradbury

Ray BradburyRay Douglas Bradbury (1920 – 2012) was an American novelist, short story writer, essayist, playwright, screenwriter, and poet. Born in Waukegan, Illinois, he later graduated from a Los Angeles high school and began selling newspapers on LA street corners from 1938 to 1942, spending his nights in the public library and his days at the typewriter.

His reputation as a writer of courage and vision was established with the publication of The Martian Chronicles in 1950, which describes the first attempts of Earth people to conquer and colonize Mars, and the unintended consequences. Next came The Illustrated Man and then, in 1953, Fahrenheit 451, which many consider to be Bradbury’s masterpiece, a story of censorship set in a future world where the written word is forbidden. In an attempt to salvage their history and culture, a group of rebels memorize entire works of literature and philosophy as their books are burned by the totalitarian state.

Ray Bradbury’s work has been included in four Best American Short Story collections. He has been awarded the O. Henry Memorial Award, the Benjamin Franklin Award, the World Fantasy Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Grand Master Award from the Science Fiction Writers of America, the PEN Center USA West Lifetime Achievement Award, among others. In November 2000, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters was conferred upon Mr. Bradbury at the 2000 National Book Awards Ceremony in New York City.

Explore the GRT 2019 Programs & Events

Greenwich Reads Together: a community-wide reading experience which engages all of Greenwich in exploring a single book.

Rotary Club Essay Contest:

Greenwich Rotary Club is sponsoring an essay contest for students attending Greenwich public and independent schools in Grades 6-12. Cash prizes will be awarded in two categories: 6-8 grades & 9-12 grades.
– High School: $350 cash prize for the winning essay, $150 cash prize for honorable mention.
– Middle School: $350 cash prize for the winning essay, $150 cash prize for honorable mention.
Winners will be honored at a special event on Wed, 11/14 in the Flinn Gallery.

The 2019 GRT Essay Question:

The quotations below represent key moments in ‘Fahrenheit 451’ by Ray Bradbury and ‘Ban This Book’ by Alan Gratz. After reading one of the books, please write a response to the quotation and the book that explores themes of censorship, written i deas, access to literature, and/or rebellion vs. conformity. You may choose to analyze the novel, write from personal experience, or create fiction or poetry.

“Pick up that town, almost, and flip the pages, so many pages to a person. And when the war’s over, some day, some year, the books can be written again, the people will be called in, one by one, to recite what they know and we’ll set it up in type until another Dark Age, when we might have to do the whole damn thing over again. 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.” (Fahrenheit 451 146-147)

“All the book challenges, the real ones, were because one person saw a book in a very different way than somebody else. Which was fine. Everybody had the right to interpret any book any way they wanted to. What they couldn’t do then was tell everybody else their interpretation was the only interpretation.” (Ban This Book 195)

Essays will be evaluated for clarity of expression, persuasiveness, originality, and connection with the GRT book. Essays must be double-spaced, 1,000 words or less (exclusive of any citations), and submitted as a Word or Google Document via email on or before October 29 to Please include your name, grade, and school in the body of the email.

Companion Books

Ban This Book Cover

Middle School Selection

Ban this Book

Hands Around the Library Book Cover

Elementary School Selection

Hands Around the Library

Greenwich Reads Together is supported by the Friends of Greenwich Library.

Greenwich Reads Together Steering Committee

Greenwich Library
Greenwich Arts Council
Greenwich Historical Society
Greenwich Alliance for Education
Greenwich Pen Women

Greenwich Public and Independent Schools
Friends of Greenwich Library
Perrot Memorial Library
Retired Men’s Association (RMA) of Greenwich

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