Sunday, February 8, 2015

there must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house

in january, i finished up the last few pages of Fahrenheit 451 after leaving it alone for a week, and i have to say that it's honestly one of my favorites now. it's a thrilling, beautiful, and terrifying dystopian story about censorship and a future without books- where Guy Montag is a firefighter whose job is to burn books and the houses that contain them.

*this is a semi-spoiler:* the idea behind the book is scary because the government didn't really decide that knowledge would be a threat to their authoritarian rule, but because people just became less interested in knowledge as the world became more fast-paced, and they started to fear the intellectual as the unfamiliar, as the enemy- and then books became dangerous and had to be  destroyed. *spoiler over*.

the book is full of in-depth descriptions of everything, like every single word and name was chosen for some reason (usually as some allusion to fire): the name of the book is farenheit 451- the temperature at which paper burns; the symbols of the firemen are the pheonix and the salamander- both mythical animals that are meant to find their power in fire. ray bradbury's metaphors are beautiful and extensive, and vivid enough to make you feel like you have a real role in the story. one sentence can go on for lines-- and then hours after that as its burned (haha) into your memory.

i should also say that the way i look at ray bradbury's writing has partly been affected by something he wrote in the afterword of my version of f451. in it, he seems to blame minorities in our society for the censoring (and eventual destruction) of books. he mentions  receiving a note from a woman who suggested that he "rewrite the book inserting more women's characters and roles," and a note "complaining that the blacks in the books were 'Uncle Toms'," and another note "from a Southern white saying that I was prejudiced in favor of the blacks and the entire story should be dropped". one of my issues with this is that he seems to imply that the only plausible reaction is to destroy every work that doesn't fairly represent every member of society-- and not to examine or reflect upon how his prejudices or privileges may have found their way into his writing. he also seems to equate the complaints of every minority, not showing any understanding of the systems of oppression that affect some people and not others. 


alexander wang's last resort collection reminds me of the book because some of the outfits seem to be directly inspired by firerfighter unifroms, but i felt like there was a connection with the pf2015 collection too. it's harsh and military(inspired) too, but i feel like there's a softer, more hopeful edge to this one.

"He saw himself in her eyes, suspended in two shining drops of bright water, himself dark and tiny, in fine detail, the lines about his mouth, everything there, as if her eyes were two miraculous bits of violet amber that might capture and hold him intact." 

I really like the pieces of white, the layers, the details.

the two looks above are just so relaxed and well-made-- you can see the loungewear inspiration but its so clean. my mind is racing with outfits for the top of that pajama set.

i'm not really a fan of this shade of green, but it does help to create a sort of utilitarian aesthetic. but i really do love the dress: the straps, the shape. 

i love monochrome looks, and this one looks really effortless and clean. the coat manages to cover the dress while adding to the whole image.

“He felt his body divide itself into a hotness and a coldness, a softness and a hardness, a trembling and a hot trembling, the two halves grinding one upon the other.”

this outfit is so expertly put together: the shape of the skirt, and the lines on the sweater falling in with the line on the boots. it's all really nice to look at. 

fahrenheit 451 takes place against the backdrop of war that's plaguing the country, and it's a part of the plot, but it's hardly ever acknowledged until the ending. i keep talking about how delicate all of the references are in this collection, and the military inspiration is a clear example. you literally wouldn't notice the patterns on the pants if you didn't look closely enough.

"The jet bombers going over, going over, going over, one two, one two, one two, six of them, nine of them, twelve of them, one and one and one and another and another and another, did all the screaming for him."

this isn't really a good view of the dress (which is no doubt amazing), but you at least get to see the hem.

look at that blue sticking out ahh. it's so layered and heavy and beautiful.

The jackets in this collection are so strong that they could stand alone as exhibits-- they're simple and beautiful, and the bomber jacket is so cool.


the draping and material of these dresses are really elegant, but there's something structured about them that reminds me a lot of mildred, who i see as one of the most interesting characters because she's so empty, but has no real desire to live her life any other way. 

" the millionth part of time left, she saw her own face reflected there, in a mirror instead of a crystal ball, and it was such a wildly empty face, all by itself in the room, touching nothing, starved and eating of itself, that at last she recognized it was her own...”

if any of you guys have read the book, i'd love to know your opinions on it, and any recommendations you have for similar books (in plot or writing style). 



  1. This is great! I read Fahrenheit 451 a couple years ago for school, but a lot of the deeper nuances were lost on me. Reading your thoughts on the book gave me a whole new appreciation for it :)

    1. i'm happy to hear that, thank you for reading!

  2. I love Ray Bradbury but I've never read that one-love his short stories though :) xoxox People can sometimes be afraid of knowledge because it might make them look at themselves more clearly.

  3. Kani, you write so beautifully... I haven't read the book, but I want to now. Also the way you interprete clothes and compare them to the story is so inspiring and fresh <3<3 (so many good looks tho, especially the look with fishnets is sooo good)


thank you for reading