Review: The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh

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The Language of Flowers is narrated by Victoria, whose story alternates between a challenging past as a foster child and a present in which she struggles to get by as young woman, recently sent out on her own by her long-time social worker, Meredith. Victoria is challenged by memories she believes have come together to define her personality and change her life. Her stories flow together to explain how an orphan who moved from one foster home to another eventually arrived at her ideal home and found love with a woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth teaches her to express emotion through the Victorian “language of flowers.” While Victoria’s struggles with poverty and loneliness are interesting, the outcomes were expected and predictable, while the concept of the language of flowers was ultimately the highlight of the text.

From the onset of this story, a reader doesn’t expect a book which was praised as heart-warming and romantic to be the sad story of foster child, moving from one home to another, year after year, unhappy, confused and alone. I wanted a different protagonist, with more initiative for change, despite what I knew about Victoria’s upbringing and how it might lead to negative future behaviors. Her past unfolds and reasons for her solitude are revealed.  But none of it was a surprise, and both people involved and outcomes were too easy to decipher.

As story shifted from past to present, Diffenbaugh interweaves significance of the language of flowers into Victoria’s life. Her foster mother Elizabeth had once taught her to use this language, and Victoria had continued the tradition as a young adult, working at a flower shop preparing bouquets. She remembers first learning how Victorians used dictionaries to express ideas and emotions with flowers; each one had a corresponding meaning. Along with the author’s first explanation of the language of flowers, my expectations for its incorporation into the text were high. In the end I didn’t love the story that was attached to the brilliant idea.

I believe that this was a decent story, that many people might enjoy. It may not have warranted the criticism I gave it, but it was not the story I wanted to read when I read it. I guess I just wanted a different kind of love story and romance than was attached to idea of the language of flowers.

Final Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Review: Journey by Moonlight by Antal Szerb

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Journey by Moonlight is the story of Mihaly’s struggle to decide if he has made the right decision in marrying Erzsi, which he has done to satisfy family and social conventions. Soon, the inner layers of his struggles are revealed and lead him to question why can’t he conform as he is drawn further toward obsessions with the past, darkness, and death. When he turns his search for answers inward, he journeys through Italy’s alleys and passage ways by night, eventually determining that reverting back to death is the answer. The author, Szerb, uses unique character traits expressed through Mihaly and his friends, Tomas, Eva, and Janos, to discuss his main argument: civilization has made our past and death taboo subjects as opposed to humans viewing these concepts as the natural parts of life they once were. Instead, universal human experiences are now taught to be encountered with grief, melancholy and eventually forgetfulness. The protagonist Mihaly’s story shows the reader the results of humans treating loss and death as foreign occurrences which might lead to loneliness, depression and in extreme cases, suicide.

The reader is made to feel life experiences through the lens of Mihaly’s thoughts and actions. For good and bad, after Mihaly is married and meets friends from his past on his honeymoon in Italy, as a reader I could completely relate to his notions of a ‘private past’ that could only ever be shared with those who lived it too. No matter how much he explained what happened in his past life to his wife, she could never truly comprehend. This concept reminded me that there is a certain sadness that goes along with lost moments and people from our past, they will never return. So too, could I relate to Mihaly’s notions that a sense of foreboding and death followed these lost experiences, like a ceaseless shadow.

Szerb makes the case that a deep gloom, stemming from the past leading to dark thoughts and behaviors, draws Mihaly like a magnet to journey alone into the deep alleyways of Italy by moonlight. It is the disconnect between past and present that causes a sadness to persist, following him where he travels. The reader begins to make connections among the author’s strategically placed themes regarding Goethe’s Werther and Italian Journey and how they relate not only to the protagonist, but to the human life cycle. Szerb intelligently points out, “So when we die we are born again…do you follow? (215)  For this reason, the reader understands that Mihaly is in search of death, which would lead him back to birth,  and series of forgotten experiences. Thus, as a reader we come to understand how ignorant we are to have failed to notice this disconnect between Mihaly’s and our own strong desires, darknesses and what society would lead us to believe about life and death.

The dual forces of Szerb and Mihaly combine to make readers think about individual and societal notions of past, present, and future. The manners in which subjective conceptions like time, memory, and life itself are presented, lead to a new understand that they can be viewed positively or negatively, accepted or declined based upon each person’s chosen perspective. So, readers can learn from these new approaches, then, consider, interpret, and create their own conclusions.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 4 Stars

Review: Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, A Side of Hurricane Katrina You Haven’t Heard

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I began reading Zeitoun by Dave Eggers, because I wanted to learn about Hurricane Katrina from people who were there when it happened. I had seen the news footage, but this could not come close to telling first-hand accounts: what was it like when the storm hit, how did everyday Americans deal with the devastation, and how were their efforts to rebuild helped or hindered by the U.S. government? Eggers approached the story of the Zeitoun family through a journalistic lens, which delved deep, explaining a struggle a reader may find hard to believe was possible for a family in this country to experience, while finding ways to maintain an empathetic perspective. Due to the author’s decision to tell a story that included both components of non-fiction and empathy, I had mixed reactions as a reader that eventually lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the situation being documented.

Eggers began the story by humanizing the Zeitoun family in the eyes of the readers by depicting a typical family, loving and struggling. Abdulrahman and Kathy Zeitoun were written as an American family similar to that of the reader, they highly value family and friends and felt lucky for their good fortune. But, Zeitoun, the father, while kind and well-liked by his wife, children, friends, and patrons of his business, was an Islamic Syrian immigrant. Reading about his five-time-per day prayer schedule and American- born and raised wife Kathy’s insistence on wearing a hijab, I thought, distanced them from a most white American readers. I admit, that as I learned more about Zeitoun’s past in Syria and Kathy’s conversion to Islam, I wondered why this family was chosen as a representation of a ‘New Orleans’ family. The differences between this family and many others were highlighted by the author, because they become essential to the story. They cause the reader to question his or her own stereotypical thinking and to reconsider how these thought processes affect the family and this country at it’s highest levels of government.

The storm arrived, and soon the levees holding back the flood water had broken. Many people were left behind on roofs and in seconds floors of buildings as contaminated water threatened to destroy the foundations of houses and businesses. Zeitoun, a former sailor, ready to battle the water, stayed behind to salvage what was left of the family home and business and to help those left behind. When his actions towards his fellow New Orleanians after the storm were revealed, Zeitoun immediately became an insider as opposed to an outsider in the eyes of the reader; his role became a rescuer, noble and brave. Then, the government sent armed militia into the city, and Zeitoun was arrested, jailed, and eventually imprisoned, all without having been provided Miranda Rights or Due Process. Next, the author combined the reader’s prior feelings of dissociation to Zeitoun due to race and religion with a newly evolved empathic relatability to the man and the unfairness of his situation.

After Zeitoun’s arrest, the reader began to comprehend that the same ideas he or she used to judge the Zeitoun family for being ‘a little less American’ than everybody else were the same stereotypes and racial profiling that the militia used to imprison Zeitoun. The fact that he was an innocent, and a good person, being held by the United States government for no documented crime, made him and his story relatable and terrible. What felt worse as the reality set in for the reader is that any person reading this story could have been a fellow prisoner. Since it could have been any one of us, the story matured into an American story.

Most Americans don’t even consider that horror stories such as this can or do happen in the United States. Still, almost ten years after Hurricane Katrina destroyed New Orleans in more ways than one, we have not escaped other similar stories of our freedoms being infringed upon. So, when we hear about the NSA tapping phone lines or Guantanamo Bay keeping people imprisoned for years without cause, it is stories such as this one that remind people who think they are immune to reassess that perspective.

Final Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

Review: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

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For me, reading Snow Flower and the Secret Fan was like adding refreshing new to information to two texts I had previously read: The Good Earth by Pearl Buck and The Three-Inch Golden Lotus by Feng Jicai. All three novels were sad, beautiful, and informative historical fiction texts, which communicated parallel stories of the gender and class struggles of Chinese women from different periods of Chinese history. See’s version was unusual, because it portrayed a woman’s duties towards family and husband as Buck had previously shown, she incorporated descriptions involving the cruelty of foot binding similar to Jicai’s, and she added a unique new component, a secret language for women. These three aspects of her protagonist’s life came together to create a compelling feminist depiction of loss and perseverance in the life of the Chinese woman.

See’s novel is told by the eighty-year-old female narrator, Lily’s, reflections on her life. It is littered with sadness and negativity about her fate, which is inextricably tied to her roles as a woman. From a very young age, she recalls watching her Mother, Aunt, and Edler Sister, accept their roles as women: they must practice Confucian Obediences and Virtues without question (52). The women will be sold for a bride price, give birth to sons, complete housework, live a life of servitude to men; and, an ideal woman practices these tasks silently and suffers invisibly. Lily views experiences modern women would consider joyful as sorrowful. On her wedding day, she recalls thinking: “I truly felt like a bride-afraid, sad, and very scared now to leave my family (109). Her goal is to be loved, but she knows this is unlikely, as most women live without love or feelings of worth in her world. Still, there is a way to obtain a life of stability and recognition that all girls learn from an early age; great value and esteem is awarded the women with the most perfectly bound feet.

The flawless bound foot, the three-inch golden lotus, would earn a women a place in a wealthy family through marriage. Lily had beautifully bound feet and made a good marriage. Thus, she could hope and pray to give her husband sons; and, this would lead to acknowledgement and positive treatment from her new family. But, performing all of a woman’s required responsibilities was no guarantee of the rare gift, Lily was able to find through female companionship. Snow Flower and Lily were matched together as best friends, laotong, or ‘old-sames.’ The two provided each other with hope, comfort, and most essential, love.

Instead of a focusing on the suffering and oppression that Lily and Snow Flower endured year after year, See turned their story into one of hope, love and rebellion. The pair was matched together at a young age, and they were taught nu-shu, a secret language, only spoken and written among women (69). See showed the girls growing into women, able to withstand the seemingly endless turmoils they both faced, through this private mode of communication. Without this support, and more importantly, knowledge that someone loved them, Lily and Snow Flower’s life stories would have been significantly altered.

While The Good Earth and The Three-Inch Golden Lotus were note-worthy and compelling stories that stood alone in the telling of Chinese history, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan blended an equally interesting new element to create a separate story. Learning about ways the lives of women with laotong were similar and different from those women without them, made for a fascinating comparison and contrast. It was nice to think that some women might have experienced optimism as an alternative to hopelessness in their lives.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

More Information:

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan: Film (2011)

Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

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John Green’s young adult best-seller, The Fault in Our Stars, is a simply written and heartfelt novel that reaches readers through a lightness of prose and personalities of characters, which allow readers to forget about the devastating seriousness of the subject matter. Thus, a story, which involves teenagers struggling with terminal cancer, develops into more of a light romance than the tragedy it could be read as.

The characters of Augustus Waters and Hazel Lancaster are unexpectedly portrayed as hopeful, happy, and inspiring. Readers young or old soon come to know the characters possess a maturity beyond their years as they face challenges we all pray we never have to suffer. Knowing that cancer may lead to death at any time, they contemplate some of life’s most challenging concepts, love, life, the impact a person leaves behind in death, with a sort of fearlessness that this reader admired. Green carefully ties in the wider implications of these concepts to the teen’s interests in society and culture in order to further connect, both the concepts and the characters, to different audiences.

Gus and Hazel use literature, video games, and art as methods of escape and means of achieving greater understanding of what is happening to them and why. Literature, for example, is a way to analyze life, love, and death in the past, present, and future.  The title of the text refers to a line from the Shakespearean play, Julius Caesar, in which they and their favorite author Peter Van Houten contemplate the words: “The fault dear Brutus is not in our stars/ But in ourselves” (Green 111).  Similar to many others on Earth, Augustus and Hazel share a fatal flaw, yet they find that loving each other means that they have made an imprint on the world- this is enough. Next, their favorite, third-person shooter,video games Max Payne, can transport them out of time and from experiencing the lives they lead (Green 133). The games are relaxing; and, in the moment, give them power over their circumstances. lastly, art, such as Hazel’s “Ceci N’est Pas Une Pipe” t-shirt, allows her to experience objective beauty. Despite not knowing when their time will be up on Earth, the lives of these young people are rich with thought and emotion. Green’s lesson to his readers is obvious but useful: anyone can choose to see beauty in the world.

The subject matter of the text could lead to a book that is depressing and unreadable. Instead, the author shows that even when the worst outcomes are possible, people can thrive if they let love and the happiness that life can bring in. Augustus and Hazel choose to remain positive, and together they are able to achieve lives that have meaning, which makes for a story worth reading.

Star Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars

More Information”

The Fault in Our Stars (film)

Review: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss: A Beautiful Story

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The History of Love by Nicole Krauss blends together the life stories and fates of several of the novel’s characters as their lives intersect over time. This structure allows its readers to slowly realize the author’s intentions for each person as if he or she were a piece of a carefully constructed puzzle, which fits together perfectly in the end. The novel begins with a heartbreaking portrayal of Leo Gursky, alone and trying his best to be noticed in his old age, having lost the love of his life, Alma Mereminski, long ago. The novel adds additional and sometimes confusing mixes of characters to Leo’s central tale, switching to other times and places, from his original story. The author grabs the reader’s attention from start to finish, keeping him or her wondering how the characters and timelines will eventually come together.

With the use of flashbacks and intertextuality the author changes her narrative from past to present and back again as the roles of characters unfold. Soon the reader reasons that the text is more than one person’s story and sets out to decipher how each character relates to the others. Leo Gursky, Bruno, Alma Mereminski, Zvi Litvinoff, and Alma Singer all hold important positions in the text which must be decoded.  Some of the story is told through Leo’s own writing in his autobiography, some through his memories, some through the perspective of his old friend Zvi Letvinoff, and some in the present day life of the girl who reads Leo’s love story, Alma Singer.  Each small segment is as touching, insightful, and informative as the next, until the final pages reveal the answers both reader and characters long for.

In the end, open-ended questions are answered and separate stories are combined to form a cohesive whole.  Leo makes another a once-in-a lifetime connection with a young girl named Alma; this time it is  Alma Singer, because he has trained himself to imagine into being the love he lost so many years before. Krauss’s The History of Love brings tears to the eyes of the reader; it is beautiful as it is complete.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

Review: The Shipping News by Annie Proulx: Too Depressing

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I once saw two doves in the middle of the street, one lay dead and the other stood by it’s side staring at it’s partner with what seemed to me to be a look of total despair; a feeling of overwhelming sadness came over me. This same feeling came back repeatedly as I read of the car accidents, sexual abuse, mental illness, cheating, loss, and death highlighted by Proulx in The Shipping News. Annie Proulx was awarded the National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize in 1993, for this text; and, if this were not the case, I would not have continued reading it after the first 100 pages. The book ‘s contents, are conveyed by detailing depressing life of protagonist, Quoyle, a journalist who moves his family from New York to live in Newfoundland, in order to escape his past, only to find more pain awaiting him as he learns of the events surrounding the lives of those around him, both past and present. These occurrences, littered with love, loss, life, death, can only be met by a fighting spirit and hope that a deeper meaning for it all will eventually shine through.

Proulx’s deep focus on matters of life and death, is meant to portray the struggles people face in order to learn from mistakes or accidents,moving forward slowly, with a little less pain each time a tragedy occurs. Quoyle along with his two small daughters Bunny and Sunshine, and his other family members and friends, experience and learn to accept the deaths of loved ones as time passes. This highlights the importance of the passage of time to heal wounds; the author writes about the small details, of minutes and hours, that seem to crawl by, as humans wait for their hearts to heal. These parts of the text are uneventful, and only reminded me of my own despair in waiting for time to alter emotions and the past. Because of this, most of the book made it difficult to want to continue reading about bad things happening to good people. While the author may have intended the reader to notice more of the healing toward the end of the text, I still only saw the replication of sadness, a reminder of how long healing can take, if it ever fully occurs.

As  the seasons change from spring to summer and then to brutal cold and winter, more people are lost. As more and more characters die, reminders of past pain are meant to lessen, and attempts to understand the meaning of life and death begin to fade. The author portrays a group of people who experience so many bad things, they eventually come to view the bad as a natural part of life. Thus, the blending of needs for comprehension and acceptance of both adults and children, the passage of time, and losses, finally come together in the end.

Similar to so many other novels, a person must be in a certain frame of mind in order to read and enjoy the subject matter in this text. I think this text is well written, because all humans must, at some point in their lives, go through the same processes as the characters, in that they attempt to understand these most difficult of questions and experiences: love, loss, life, death. For those readers who are not ready to accept that we all must experience this pain to live, the book is difficult to swallow. Still, there is something to be said about an author who is willing to tackle such difficult subjects, and this may be why the book was so highly praised.

Star Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Shipping News (film)

Review: The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene: Hard to Relate

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Although The Heart of the Matter by Graham Greene is well written, it was very difficult for me to enjoy reading it, as I struggled to the connect with the plight of the novel’s protagonist, a devout Catholic, Henry Scobie. While Scobie’s personality and eccentrities are recorded with a kind of perfection, his largest problem in life, a sense of responsibility and guilt for the happiness and success of those around him cause extreme despair. I could not fully empathize with the man or his story, thus I didn’t view the novel as a complete achievement.

Greene presents the reader with Scobie, a hopelessly unfulfilled, well-respected and well-liked British police officer who has been stationed in Nigeria for several years as the World War II rages around the world. From the first few lines Green writes introducing the relationship Scobie has with his wife, Louise, the reader finds Scobie’s attitude toward her both comical and sad. He doesn’t love her, but his inner-monologue makes it clear that her every action and emotion is his responsibility. He spends his life forgoing his own happiness to assure hers. His thoughts about how he can secure a position as Commissioner, and earn money for her passage to South Africa, all revolve around his need to do everything she wants and needs. He has no way to secure the money and makes a bad deal to earn it. The need to fix the problems of others is his downfall.

Scobie, a man who has never lied, cheated, stolen, sacrifices what he believes to be his goodness to please a wife he doesn’t love. Soon after Louise leaves for South Africa,he meets a sick young girl, Ms. Holt, and they begin an affair. Scobie is a man who believes that God judges him for his actions. Most of all, the requirements he sets for himself to please the women he cares for become, in his mind, the laws of God. As the affair and his deceit continue, Scobie realizes he has crossed the lines of behavior he believes to be morally correct; simultaneously, he feels he can not turn back. Still, his mistakes are too much to bear.

There are contradictions between Scobie’s actions and his beliefs that make it difficult for a reader who doesn’t experience the same notions to relate. Scobie tears himself apart because he loves and respects the opinions and judgments of God, while he knows he breaks God’s rules. Yet, he attends confession and tells his priest there is no point in promising to stop his sinful behaviors, because he knows he won’t stop and he doesn’t want to. If Scobie’s goal is to satisfy all those involved: his wife, his lover, and God, then his final conclusion, is the wrong way to go about it.

Final Star Rating: 3 out of 5

Review: What We Talk About When We Talk About Love by Raymond Carver: What Is Love To You?

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When I first began reading the stories included in Raymond Carver ‘s short stories collection,  What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, I admit, I did not immediately find the content appealing. I passed judgment on many of the characters, most of whom are alcoholics, adulterers, or worse.  I was offended by the behaviors of these characters, until it occurred to me that I might be feeling uncomfortable with the subject matter because it hit too close to home. Those people could have been me or those close to me; who was I or any other reader to judge the life choices of strangers?

It was difficult to read about the characters personalities, actions, and flaws- to distinguish between the characters mistakes and who they were as people. Did Carver intend them to be viewed as protagonists or antagonists? In these gritty, messy stories the narrator confesses, it becomes clear that he develops his characters so that no person is completely innocent or guilty. Unlike the works of many other writers, Carver leaves it to the reader to decide, who, if any of these people, is truly a victim or villain. In asking his readers to delve deeper into the psyches of his characters, the reader is encouraged to evolve alternate methods of viewing certain lifestyles, choices, and mistakes. As readers, we finish these stories recognizing that passing judgment on others is too simple. On the other hand, the hard part is learning to move past mistakes and faults in order to forgive. That’s what love really means.

The title of the text, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love ,encourages its readers to consider these ideas as they progress through their reading of the stories. Carver repeats several essential themes that coincide with the reading of most stories in his collection. At the onset of his or her reading ,a person might feel discouraged finding characters who remind him or her of sad memories from people or circumstances in his or her own life: a disillusioned wife, an alcoholic father, a broken marriage or a man who cheats on his wife, or a death in the family. These circumstances ultimately come together to form a more cohesive picture of the lives people lead and mistakes they make. But the text emerges in a redeeming manner, because the very topics Carver chooses to address help the reader come to see, along with the flaws of his characters, that love has the potential to overcome even the worst experiences through forgiveness and empathy..

Carver doesn’t sugar-coat life’s miseries; but, he also recognizes the little things that have the potential for leading to hope and reconciliation. What do you really think about when you consider love? Love isn’t perfect for certain; but, real people have the most profound capacities to accept each other’s faults, recolonize weaknesses, and still forgive. Why is this? It’s because deep down we know that none of us can escape making mistakes, we too, err. In this text, Carver implies several  attributes which may lead to success in love: recognize everyone makes mistakes, the person we love must one day accept our flaws by not passing judgment, forgiveness means loving us anyway.

In this book of short stories, Carver expertly tells melancholy stories, but he gives readers insight into things we might not realize about ourselves. We expect others to be perfect, until the day comes when we need to be forgiven for our own mistakes. When we talk about love, it’s not all living happily ever after that we acknowledge, it’s the everyday struggles as well. The saving grace of this text, despite ample sadness, is the reminder that love exists and prevails regardless of the many errors humans create to stand in its path.

 Final Star Rating 4 out of 5 Stars

Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Why Are Books Really Important To Society?

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Fahrenheit 451, is a reminder of what happens when an entire society becomes too complacent and forgets to honor the freedom and wisdom that books and other similar mediums have the ability to convey. Most avid readers can easily explain just what it is they value about a book. Whether a person seeks relaxation, insight, a look into the past, or even a sense of companionship through the words or characters found on the pages of the literature he or she chooses to read, the very fact that these qualities can be found through reading is often overlooked. There is no doubt these qualities can be found in books; yet, all too often when readers pick up a book they forget how precious the treasures they receive from books really are.

Protagonist Guy Montag is a firefighter living in a dystopic society where fires only exist in order to burn books, which are completely banned to citizens. The reader is introduced to him as a man who lives similarly to most others in the industrialized city; they have no free thought, speech or, action. He slowly transforms into a man more similar to the reader as he develops a conscience, first by stealing banned books, then memorizing the words they contain, and later contemplating the implications of his actions alongside the weight of the content of the texts he reads. Doing so changes Guy’s perspective, not only because he starts to understand that there are alternative ways to view the world, but he knows that the other people living in the city could be like him, aware that information and freedoms are being withheld. But, most of the others are blissfully ignorant and Guy’s wish is for them to be introduced to this “different” way of thinking he has discovered. Guy knows he can either choose to fight the system, which will not end well, or remain ignorant too. He chooses the fight.

In developing the character of Montag to struggle for what he believes in, regardless of the cost to himself or those he cares about, Bradbury asks the reader to question what exactly Montag and his fellow conspirators are fighting for. Early in the text, Montag’s superior, Beatty, argues that destroying books to keep people in the dark should be a guilt free task for firemen, because books are only things. (36-37) But, the story unfolds to reveal that Montag is not the only person willing to give up everything he knows to save these objects. Former scholars living in rural, unindustrialized areas around the country, who have kept significant works of literature alive in their memories, destroy the argument that books are mere things. Instead, it is the words, ideas, years of wisdom passed down from one person to another that are significant. In a world where books are not allowed, this small resistance group who would do anything to keep them; because, the books’ contents keep the past alive. The ideas locked away in their minds will remind people in the present and future which mistakes they must try not to repeat. For Montag and the other resistance, it is worth risking their lives in order to pass this knowledge on to future generations. The sacrifices made in the text make a contemporary readers stop to think about the worth or lack of it that is given to books in today’s society.

This story helps readers contemplate the reasons they enjoy reading. It also reminds us to stop and reflect more often about why we are drawn to characters, places, and themes in literature. Do we take for granted how nice it feels to fall head over heels for a character or the satisfaction we get from flipping over that last page at the end of a well written text? Do we fully acknowledge how lucky we are to snuggle up comfortably at home under a warm blanket with a cup of tea on a cold winter’s day reading a romantic comedy, classic fiction, or a nonfiction political article, allowed to develop our own opinions, which we freely share with others? Perhaps we do some days, but most times we exercise our rights without thinking. After reading a text like Fahrenheit 451, at least for a short while, we can more fully appreciate the experiences we are given; and, we can better understand how they are special they are.

Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

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