I’ll admit it, I’ve never read Fahrenheit 451. This may have something to do with not having attended school in the states. My English classes were filled with British titles such as Sumerset Maugham’s Of Human Bondage (which nearly made my brain explode due to extreme patheticness of main character).
Regardless, I did know the basic premise before going starting the graphic novel. I knew that this was a dystopian future where books were banned, where firemen start fires instead of putting them out, where people are much more interested in their giant wall sized TVs and entertainment than anything else. From what I’ve read, the GN stays very close to the story with all the major points being covered. Even so, I couldn’t help feel that even though the GN is intense, it probably lacked some of the emotional suspense of the original text. I enjoyed the story, but the characters lacked depth (or rather they had depth, but the reader needed to bring that depth with them – they needed background knowledge of the book to fully appreciate the motivations, the inner turmoil of Montag and others).
I was somewhat confused as to why books are banned, what the government and those in power gained (other than the obvious gains from a dimwitted populace). How this tied into the ever-present and very real threat of war. Or if it did at all – things that I’m sure were more obvious in the novel. What was obvious, to the GN’s credit, was how disconnected and depressed the people were – even though they didn’t have the tools to express this dissatisfaction or even recognize their feelings for what they were. Giant TV screens are fun! Life is fun! Life is nice, but you know what? Wouldn’t everything be nicer if I was dead?!?
I liked the art which is all muted tones with limited color palettes. Things appear dreary, dark, faces often appear in shadow. There are only two things that appear bright. The first is Clarisse McClennan – the young girl that is Montag’s trigger to change. The second is, the fire. Of the two, the fire is the much brighter and more visibly powerful force, of course, it isn’t necessarily the most powerful thing…
I enjoyed this, I think it is a great supplement, but I don’t think it’ll replace the original any time soon. For schools teaching this title, I think comparing and contrasting the two would be a very interesting and thought provoking lesson.
Book Source: Publisher review copy (committee)