讀書筆記:《Fahrenheit 451》by Ray Bradbury

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這是一本有關的小說作為一個本身就愛書的人,我非常喜歡這本小說。

這本書成書於20世紀60年代,寫的是以那個年代為基點的未來世界的事情,作者當時預言說,到1999年,由於嫌棄書本冗長難懂和對短平快的追求,人們會趨向於看電視,看能引起感官刺激的雜誌,看時事短評,而完全拋棄了閱讀書籍的習慣,當權者為了不讓人們閱讀書藉,一把大火燒掉了所有的書,並且規定讀書是一件法律所不允許的事情。因此,一個新興的行業衍生出來,叫做fireman。我們一般把它理解為救火隊員,殊不知書中的這個職業是“縱火隊員”,一旦有哪家房子被四處巡邏的機器人獵犬嗅出有藏書的味道,或是這家的鄰居、家人舉報這家裏有藏書,那麽縱火隊員就會不期而至,作為懲罰,把這家房子、家具連同藏書一起化為灰燼。書中的主人公Guy Montag,他就是這樣的一位縱火隊員。

Montag每天的生活平淡無奇,上班,回家,二點一線。他已婚無孩,與太太一起生活,總體來說,他對自己的生活還算滿意。這一天在他回家的路上,他偶遇了一位鄰家少女Clarisse McClellan,小姑娘熱情地與他聊起天來,向他聊起人們早已忘記了去聞花香,忘記了去欣賞蝴蝶飛舞,忘記了在院裏彈琴唱歌,忘記了去大自然享受微風美景,忘記了用心感受生活,忘記了讀書思考,有的隻是追求淺表的感官刺激,Montag從未有過這種想法,這讓他既抗拒又感到一絲新奇,明知這種話題是敏感話題,他還是忍不住跟Clarisse約好,在他每天下班時他倆碰個頭,聊著天一起往回家的路上走。

Montag的太太Mildred愛看電視,她每時每刻都在家裏占居了整整一麵牆的巨型電視麵前消磨時光,這是她唯一的消遣方式,她甚至把電視節目裏的人視為自己的家人,每天Montag回到家時,家裏基本上都是冰鍋冷灶的,太太全身心撲在電視節目Palar Family上,所以顧不上做飯和照顧Montag。這天Montag到家時,發現太太躺在床上,麵色蒼白,全身僵硬,人早已失去了知覺,桌頭有一瓶空了的安眠藥瓶子(書中沒交待,但影射Mildred了無生趣想自殺,把一整瓶安眠藥吞了下去),Montag趕緊呼叫救護人員,當救護人員到來時,Montag發現來的竟然是兩個管道工,不是專業的醫務人員。不通醫術的管道工用先進的機器,大大列列、毫無所謂地給Mildred換了血,救活了她後就離開了。

與鄰家少女的聊天為Montag打開了一扇窗,讓他開始懷疑自己的生活方式,並希盼更有意義的人生,他每天都期待著與小姑娘的會晤,沒想到的是,有一天這位小姑娘突然出了車禍被撞死了,Montag頓時失了魂。一直以來,Montag出勤去燒房子時,出於好奇,他都會偷一本人家的藏書拿回家來,可他看不懂,這讓他想起曾有一麵之緣的英文教授Faber,他決定帶著書去向Faber討教。就在此時,有人敲門,來人是Montag的縱火隊領導Captain Beatty,他發現了Montag在偷書,他來到Montag家,把為什麽書是禁品的曆史給他講了一遍,值得一提的是,Beaty本人在禁書之前,曾飽讀詩書,他甚至可以大段大段地背誦很多書中的段落。Beaty警告Montag不能再偷書,並且把偷來的書24小時內上繳,否則後果會很嚴重。

隊長離開後,Montag不顧太太勸阻,帶著書去找Faber教授,軟硬兼施,讓Faber答應給他講解聖經,於是Faber教授在他的耳朵裏裝了一個竊聽器,這樣可以隨時跟他進行讀書交流。

Montag再去上班時,故意上繳給隊長了另外一本書做為搪塞,隨後他發現,自己當天出勤要燒的房子竟然是自己的家,原來,太太和鄰居都告了密,Montag悲憤地燒毀了自己家,又被隊長Beaty發現了他耳朵裏藏的Faber教授給他的竊聽器,Beaty言語激烈說要找到教授,情急之下Montag燒死了隊長(書中隱喻隊長故意想讓Montag殺了自己),並打暈了同事,然後逃往Faber教授家。Faber教授告訴Montag一條出路,讓他往經年不用的廢棄鐵道那兒去,那裏有很多像他一樣因為書而獲罪的逃犯,Montag成功地甩掉了機器人獵犬對他的追蹤,遊過一條河,來到了廢棄鐵道邊,並找到了他的同伴們。

故事是以Montag親眼目睹自己所生活過的那個城市的徹底毀滅而告終的。

對這本書我的解讀是:人類如果隻考慮滿足自己的感官需求,不去追求心靈的滋養,容易陷入藥物濫用,斷了生趣,最終自取滅亡。

書中專門讓主人公Montag吟誦了這首詩,聽眾是太太和她的三位閨蜜,其中一人聽完後感動到大哭,雖然她們平時根本不讀書,更不會讀詩。

Dover Beach

BY Matthew Arnold

The sea is calm tonight. 

The tide is full, the moon lies fair 

Upon the straits; on the French coast the light 

Gleams and is gone; the cliffs of England stand, 

Glimmering and vast, out in the tranquil bay. 

Come to the window, sweet is the night-air! 

Only, from the long line of spray 

Where the sea meets the moon-blanched land, 

Listen! you hear the grating roar 

Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling, 

At their return, up the high strand, 

Begin, and cease, and then again begin, 

With tremulous cadence slow, and bring 

The eternal note of sadness in. 

 

Sophocles long ago 

Heard it on the Ægean, and it brought 

Into his mind the turbid ebb and flow 

Of human misery; we 

Find also in the sound a thought, 

Hearing it by this distant northern sea. 

 

The Sea of Faith 

Was once, too, at the full, and round earth’s shore 

Lay like the folds of a bright girdle furled. 

But now I only hear 

Its melancholy, long, withdrawing roar, 

Retreating, to the breath 

Of the night-wind, down the vast edges drear 

And naked shingles of the world. 

 

Ah, love, let us be true 

To one another! for the world, which seems 

To lie before us like a land of dreams, 

So various, so beautiful, so new, 

Hath really neither joy, nor love, nor light, 

Nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain; 

And we are here as on a darkling plain 

Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, 

Where ignorant armies clash by night.

 

再摘錄書中觸動人心的幾段話:

Faber says "do you know why books such as this are so important? They have quality. And what does the word 'quality' mean? To me it means texture: this book has pores. It has features... See why books are hated and feared? They show the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people want only wax moon faces, poreless, hairless, expressionless."

 

The good writers touch life often. The mediocre ones run a quick hand over her. The bad ones rape her and leave her for the flies.

 

The things you're looking for, Montag, are in the world, but the only way the average chap will ever see ninety-nine percent 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.

 

I don't know. We have everything we need to be happy, but we aren't happy. Something's missing. I looked around. The only thing I positively KNEW was gone was the books I'd burned in ten or twelve years. So I thought books might help.

 

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 last one which makes the heart run over.

 

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.

“No, no, it's not books at all you're looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. 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. “

 

You're afraid of making mistakes. Don’t be. Mistakes can be profited by.

 

 

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