Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel whose premise revolves around the burning of books, especially the outlawed ones, which goes against the ideas of the government in the story. There were dedicated people, called “firemen,” who were tasked to burn the books using (usually) flamethrowers. The novel’s title was inspired by the temperature wherein “book paper” would burn on its own. It is approximately 233 degrees Celsius.
The idea of an oppressive government that sought to ban freedom of thought was so resonating that a film was made from it in 2018. However, the novel was quite far from the original novel, and those points are what we would be talking about today.
We usually do movie spoilers, but what you will read below contains spoilers about the film and the novel. Twice the amount of reader discretion is advised.
1. The Mechanical Hound
In the novel, the Mechanical Hound was a very powerful robotic dog capable of smelling people from miles away and was used by the firemen to track down book readers and those against the book-burning policies.
If you thought you would see how the dog would look in action in the film, you would be mistaken, as the Hound did not appear!
2. The books found in Montag’s house
Both the novel and the film had a scene where there were books found in the fireman Montag’s house, and the books in both pieces suffered the same fate – burned – like many of the books.
The difference lies in how the books were obtained. In the novel, it was a secret collection of books that Montag hid in their airconditioning vent, while in the film, the books were planted to falsely accuse Montag of siding with the book readers.
3. Which of his properties was Montag tasked to burn?
Upon discovering the books (in different ways), Montag was forced to burn some of his “properties.” Beatty asks Montag to burn his entire house down along with the books in the novel. However, in the film, he was just asked to burn all the “confiscated” books already piled up on his living room floor.
4. Who burns who?
One very obvious fact is that when you burn a person alive, there’s a great chance he would die if the fire were not extinguished quickly. This was also shown in both pieces.
However, there was a bit of a mismatch regarding characters who burned another character. In the novel, Montag burns his superior Beatty alive. On the other hand, in the film, Beatty burned Montag, even though it was in a different scene.
5. The “Eels”
Sure, the “eels” sounded like a derogatory term derived from a kind of animal, just like how insulting it is to call someone a “monkey.” In the movie, it appeared that they were just called that way just as an insult, and also, eels are very slippery and always hide.
The novel does not mention the “eels” or any formal term for the book readers who were always hiding.
6. The stolen book
Both movies saw the firefighters enter a certain old woman’s house where many books were hidden. Montag stole one book from the house (through different means), and the books differed depending on which one you were looking at.
If you were watching the film, he stole Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky. In the book, he stole The Bible.
Maybe it wasn’t The Bible that was stolen in the movie because the book already appeared at the beginning of the movie, although in the form of an animated emoji-fied book.
In the book, Clarisse is Montag’s neighbor, but she appears to be some random girl in a bar that Montag just met in the film. She died early in a car crash in the book, which would be remembered by Montag when he was almost hit by one at the near end of the novel.
In the film, however, Clarisse lived long enough to shelter Montag in their camps. She also knew of the “omnis” the old woman exclaimed before she burned herself with her books.