Fahrenheit 451 Quotes That Will Get You All Fired Up

Table of Contents

Fahrenheit 451 quotes feel unsettlingly familiar.

George Orwell is often lauded as an oracle, but he is not the only novelist who deserves the title. In Fahrenheit 451 (named after the temperature at which paper burns), Ray Bradbury depicts a world where apathy and conformity are the norm. Controversial ideas – any thoughts more complex than wondering what’s on TV, really – are discouraged. Conflicting opinions aren’t tolerated. Books are flambéed en masse. 

Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of Guy Montag, a “fireman” whose job is to do the flambéing. Nearly everyone in Montag’s world is a vapid twit, and would no sooner pick up a book than they would a dead rat. Some thinkers persist, however, and they are dealt with harshly. Montag begins to question his purpose in life when an old woman, who owns a contraband library that he was dispatched to destroy, chooses to roast alongside her books rather than live without them.

In a Promethean gesture, Montag cracks open some books he had squirreled away over the years and begins to read. This defiant act leads Montag to immolate his anti-intellectual boss and start life anew as a pariah, pursued all the while by monstrous Mechanical Hounds. (More prophecy – don’t imagine for a second that Boston Dynamics won’t offer their “robot dog” without optional gun mounts.)

Fahrenheit 451 has a satisfying ending, though it feels appropriate to recommend that you read it for yourself.

Book burnings are not some new thing. Still, we are now in an era of accelerating censorship. Utter anything online which Big Tech takes umbrage with and the word “suspended” looms in your immediate future. Attempt to teach the “wrong books” in public school and you might become a story on 60 Minutes. Try and rouse anger about the current state of affairs and prepare to be branded a wack-a-ding-hoy conspiracist.

In time, the flamethrowers may not even be necessary. Controlling thought is pointless if no one is capable of it.

Fahrenheit 451 Quotes

Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "It was a pleasure to burn."
“It was a pleasure to burn.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Books are to remind us what asses and fools we are."
“The books are to remind us what asses and fools we are.” 
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of those books."
“And I thought about books. And for the first time I realized that a man was behind each one of the books.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon."
“A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord."
“Remember, the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play..."
“Oh God, the terrible tyranny of the majority. We all have our harps to play. And it’s up to you to know with which ear you’ll listen.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "No body listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they're yelling at me..."
“Nobody listens any more. I can’t talk to the walls because they’re yelling at me. I can’t talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it’ll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Maybe the books can get us half our of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes."
“Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "No one has time any more for anyone else."
“No one has time any more for anyone else.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "When they give you lined paper, write the other way."
“When they give you lined paper, write the other way.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches..."
“The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "It took some man a lifetime maybe to put some of his thoughts down, looking around..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers..."
“With school turning out more runners, jumpers, racers, tinkerers, grabbers, snatchers, fliers, and swimmers instead of examiners, critics, knowers, and imaginative creators, the word ‘intellectual,’ of course, became the swear word it deserved to be.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "We need not to be let alone we need to be really bothered once in a while..."
“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?” 
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "That's the good part of dying; when you've nothing to lose, you run any risk you want."
“That’s the good part of dying; when you’ve nothing to lose, you run any risk you want.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn."
“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought."
“We stand against the small tide of those who want to make everyone unhappy with conflicting theory and thought.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "I don't talk things... I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I'm alive."
“I don’t talk things … I talk the meaning of things. I sit here and know I’m alive.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "They say you retain knowledge even when you're sleeping, if someone whispers in your ear."
“They say you retain knowledge even when you’re sleeping, if someone whispers in your ear.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "What is there about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "If you don't want a house built, hide the nails and wood..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Books were only one type of receptacle where we stored a lot of..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "'Stuff your eyes with wonder,' he said 'live as if you'd drop dead in ten seconds..."
“‘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.’”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "But time to think? If you're not driving a hundred miles an hour..."
“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!‘”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Cram them full of noncumbustable data, chock them so.... full of 'facts""
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "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..."
“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.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "We'll pass the books on to our children, by word of mouth, and let our children wait, in turn..."
“We’ll pass the books on to our children, by word of mouth, and let our children wait, in turn, on the other people. A lot will be lost that way, of course. 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 them. It can’t last.”
Fahrenheit 451 Quotes - "Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child of a book or a painting of a house or a wall built or a pair..."
“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.”

That’s enough Fahrenheit 451 quotes for one day. But here’s one more quote to keep in mind by Heinrich Heine: “Where they have burned books, they will end in burning human beings.”