Fahrenheit 451 is a novel written by Ray Bradbury and released in 1953 that takes place in a suburban city in the twenty-fourth century. With this setting, the author has articulated various themes in the book. Themes such as the use of advanced technologies and censorship are articulated in order to reflect everyday life. Montag is introduced by the author as a male hero who works as a fireman. He destroys unlawfully obtained books as well as the owners’ houses. Clarisse encounters the character on her way home from college, and she introduces herself to him. Clarisse is defined as young, attractive, energetic, and attractive. Montag is attracted to the girl, and her curious nature fascinates Montag because she possesses the characteristics of love and happiness. After a little talk with the girl, he questions the value of his profession and tries to fight for his existence. His friendship with Clarisse develops, and this makes him realize that he has less love for his companion Millie. Millie is unable to face the reality of the happenings in her life, and instead, she chooses to indulge herself in interactive television shows, listening to radio Seashell and finally becomes an addict of tranquilizers. With dissatisfaction with his career, Montang begins questioning the ways of the world, he starts thinking about why the perception of books is termed to be dangerous yet some people were much loyal to them.
Due to dissatisfaction and uneasiness, he steals a book from a collection, which he is supposed to burn, and during the process, a woman refuses to leave the house and lights it with kerosene and burns herself in with the books. From this phenomenon, Montag concludes that perhaps the happiness he requires is present in the books. He mourns the death of the woman after seeing how dedicated she was with the books, on reaching home he is informed that his neighbor, Clarisse was involved in an accident and succumbed to injuries on hearing this he becomes more sick.
The following day Montag absents himself from work, and pretends to be ill. Captain Beatty, who is his boss, visits him. He appears to know what Montag is going through because he had explained to him about the offensiveness of books, and how they have limited the expression of one’s thoughts and opinions. As Millie, Montags wife, tries to organize their house, she finds the book Montag had stolen from the old womans house. Finding this book makes her get astonished. When captain Beatty leaves, Montag unleashes other twenty stolen books. He later joins a professor, Faber, whom they share the books with, the professor is known to have much knowledge from books, and on heading home he involves his friends, and Millie who entirely had been watching television, about a debate on family and politics. Later on, he reads them a book of poetry, which made Millie much emotional making her shed tears; he did not understand the source of her tears.
Their house was later burnt by that captain after Millie reported Montag, her husband, to be in possession of books and after doing so she escapes. Montag frees to Faber for refuge and is taken to Granger, a group leader of former writers and academicians who live around the banks of a river after their possessions were burnt; he is welcomed by the group. Granger tells Montag that the writers in this group have memorized their work so that when its safe to print, they will do so. They plan to foster a society that will utilize knowledge from books and also embrace personal opinions (saver).The novel storyline ends up after the city is bombed and the writers led by Granger and Montang are the only ones left, thus revolutionizing the city to accepting knowledge from the books.
The novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury illustrates a world where books are seen to be an enemy to the people. The dystopian nature of the people in the novel who burn books instead of reading them. The society is involved in war and must have a value for knowledge in order to embrace humanity. A range of literary devices has been used to develop the nature and argument of books, Bradburys most powerful device is symbolism and use of illusions.
The use of symbolism in the novel
The writer Ray Bradbury has used symbolism in the novel as a literal and a stylistic literature device to express different thoughts and give an entire different deeper meaning to the story for a better understanding. Examples of symbols used in the novel are, Fire, he uses to express the negative happenings in the society such as, violence, ignorance, death, and fear. This is portrayed clearly when Montag the fireman is sent to burn the houses and books belonging to the writers and even causing death; this shows that there is a lot of violence in the community involved. Oppression of the writers to pass knowledge is observed in the whole novel. Captain Beatty is also involved in burning his co-workers house; Montag, due to possession of books. This gives details that fire is used as a destruction and oppression tool to the writers to ensure that they are demolished (Ransom).
The use of sieve and sand is also symbolic; the writer uses as the title for the second section of the novel. He uses the title to express Montag childhood doings and memories. Montag tries to fill a sieve using sand in order to win a dime; he is frustrated. It symbolizes Montangs struggles and efforts. The sieve represents gaps on how human try to look for the truth that is hard to be identified and grasped permanently. The sand represents truth and knowledge. It also represents how time easily passes. In addition, sand is used to represent the beginning of life. This is because Christians and Jews believe that mankind was created from sand.
Mirrors are also another symbol used in the book. Granger, the leader of the writers, says to Montag, we must build a mirror factory to take a look at ourselves (Fahrenheit 451). The author uses mirrors to express self-understanding; on clear view of oneself. Mirrors can also be used to symbolize alternatives of reality since the mirror gives a reflection image of oneself. When Montag is asked if he is unhappy he reaches home and realizes that he is not, the books make him understand himself and the surroundings clearly. If only the other people such as captain Beatty took their time to reflect on their lives themselves, they would understand their wrongdoings in the society. Millie is a sad woman suffering from depression, but she doesnt realize it. She adores her television and takes it as an idol, and watches it almost every time. If she looked at herself in a mirror, she would see how sad and depressed her life has turned. Most of the characters in this novel do not look their life in reality, and thats why their society is in true dystopia.
Phoenix has also been used in the book as a symbol. Granger describes it as the mythological bird which would burn itself wholly and become reborn from the burnt ashes. He explains this after the bombing of the city, the ashes are considered as a life of a phoenix. Once it dies, it reincarnates. The author signifies that the city must be destroyed in order to have a new beginning. Granger proceeds and says that all mankind does the same thing and that their difference is t they destroy themselves knowingly through a similar way. Granger and other book writers want to make sure they pass their knowledge to the next generation. By this they can bring change to the society someday. He says that, when they ask us what were doing, you can say, were remembering. Thats where well remember so much that well build the biggest steam shovel in history, dig the biggest grave of all time, and shove war in and cover it up (Fahrenheit 451). This symbolizes the societys rebirth, and that there will come a time when the society will realize and rediscover itself. This shows the cyclical nature of life.
The hearth and the salamander are used to symbolize fire; a hearth is a traditional fireplace at home. A salamander is known to have a myth that it can get through fire unharmed. Montangs fire truck is also named salamander. This symbols are used by the writer in an ironic way ,Montag does not live unharmed by the fire since he at one time realizes how burning his profession of burning books is doing harm to the society and has ruined his wife even his own house, as explained Montangs wife, Millie is dependent on television and sleeping pills. The writer describes Montangs house as cold marbled mausoleum after the moon had set complete darkness, with no hint of the silver world from outside. The coldness in Montangs house symbolizes how cold his world was. He had no real thoughts of his own, and again, the downfall in his relationship (Lorcher).
Blood is used in the novel with a symbolic meaning it means the lack of life. Montangs life is filled with fear, and all his thought is filled with fear which is always accompanied by much-increased blood flow. Millie attempts suicide by poisoning her blood. She is saved by the doctors and her blood is replaced. However, this doesnt bring her soul back, she remains dead inside. It also represents how human is hidden from the knowledge in the books. In the book, the whole world does not know how much knowledge they are missing from not accessing the books.
Illegal books as termed by the state, are also symbolic tools used by the author to symbolize how the state intends to prevent people from knowing the truth, and creates barriers for the people to gain knowledge. They are pacifiers from the novel. We find Millie living a horrible life as a married woman who would glare at the television the whole day and gossip with other women and friends the whole day. Later, she would take sleeping pills in order to sleep, this is simply because of lack of knowledge. Later, she betrays her husband and their house is burnt. This shows off how retarded thinking the society has.
Granger and Professor Faber in the book represents the hope for the society. They are the guides. The professor teaches literature to Montag and even goes ahead to speak to him using an electrical device in his ear. The ear device is intended to make sure that Montag thirst for knowledge is fully awakened. Faber says Montag do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality (Fahrenheit 451, 83). He thinks that books have a character of intelligence. He further explains, Do you now see why books are hated and feared? They represent the pores in the face of life. The comfortable people only want to wax moon faces, pore less and expressionless. We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. According to Fahrenheit 451, the flowers in this context are symbols representing the people in the book (83).
Clarisse, a 17-year-old girl from Montag s neighborhood, is used to represent the youths. The author describes her as attractive, energetic and a lover of nature and life. This shows the nature of the young generation, who are buried from knowing the truth and gaining knowledge from the books being burnt. Clarisse talks to Montag, and seems to be a much wise girl when she asks him if the firemen as supposed to put off the fire or start the fire; this is ironical. She loves doing odd things that draw her to Montag. She is not conformed to the roles and laws of the oppressed community. She says to Montag, they want to know what I do with my time. I tell them that I sometimes just think, but I dont tell what. I have got the running and sometimes, I tell them, I like to put my head on my back and let the rain fall into my mouth (Fahrenheit 451 23). Her names mean shining, bright and gentle. Her optimism and dynamic nature and society is used to show how the youths require knowing the truth and have knowledge.
Guy Montag represent a living spirit, his name means. After the incident of the woman burning in the house, he starts realizing that books might be of much importance. He goes ahead and steals a book. In the discussion with his wife he says there must be something with this books, things that we cant imagine, to make a woman burn stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for anything (Fahrenheit 451 51). This shows that he has soon understood the importance of the books and wants to help the society change. His house is burnt, and he still goes on to join the other writes in the river. This shows the future of the society that there will be a revolution, once people start having a rational thinking.
After Montang is betrayed by his wife and his house burnt, he joins professor Faber at their camp at the river. The river is used to symbolize salvation and enlightenment of the society, the author uses the river to show how the society will soon have a rebirth. The revolution would take time, but afterward, the whole world would come to realize the need for the books in the society. Montang draws all his clothes and threw them in the river and gets in the river too. This symbolizes cleansing from the old identity of egocentrism to a new and a much better identity. The people at the river have memorized the books and wait to pass the knowledge to their children. Afterwards the city is bombed, and no life is left in the city. Only the people in the forest remain. They decide to bring up a new society Montag relates this to the Bible as, time to sew and time to reap (Fahrenheit 451).
The author has used symbolism for more understanding, getting the deeper meaning of the content and to derive themes. The symbols play an important role in the book. They all explain the need for knowledge from books and the value it adds to the society. Captain Beatty quoted Alexander pope saying, a little learning is dangerous. Drink deep, or taste the Pierian Spring; their shallow draughts intoxicate the brain and drinking largely sober us once again. According to Fahrenheit 451 (102), this quote was used to explain that once the society starts learning, they will have the thirst and yearn to know more, this in contrast with what the government wants. Use of fire in the novels also brings the hidden meaning that fire can be used as a destructive weapon and also a tool that can unite people if used responsibly.
The author has used symbolism to derive the whole story and give its intended lesson, at the beginning there is with fire, death and a lot of violence and ends with a new life in the city, beginning from the river, here river water symbolizes life. The remaining characters after the bombing are to start a revolutionized city with peace, and thirst for knowledge and truth. They all understand the power of knowledge. Its through symbolism that the author achieves the intended theme of the novel which is censorship (Johnson).
Fahrenheit 451. First Edition (clothbound). NewYork: Ballatine books, Ray Bradbury.
The author Ray Bradbury of the novel Fahrenheit 451 written in 1987 was written in a historic time where he tries to adress censorship in the book. It clearly outlines a society which is lead by illietracy and examines the importance of knowledge to the society.The book is futuristc since it explains the use of high technology during its setting.The author has used the genre of science fiction to show the future developments of the society. He uses different litreture devices such as ,symbolism ,story within a story and many others in order to bring out the novels expected message. The novel is used as the main reference in completing the task to give citations and quotation of various characters in the novel. Its also much helpful in deriving the themes.
Johnson, Brandon. Free ebook Summary. 2017.
Johnson articles is an important article that examines how Bradbury is misinterpreted in the novel. The source biases on the theme of how lives are directly influenced by the media. It also deeply explains other themes such as symbolism, censorship and love for nature. In addition, it gives metaphor analysis on the meaning of different symbols. For example, the use of the salamander, the fire and the river. The source is much dependable for analysis of the book.
Jymes, Ashley Borden and Asa. Prezi. 9th September 2013.
This source gives comprehensive definition of all symbols and their overall meaning. The aticle clearly defines all the characters and all the literary devices used in the novel.The article also explains how other devices such as imagery, illusion, and foreshadowing in the novel have been used.
Lorcher, Trent. Brigt Hub Education. 17/1/2012.
This is an education site that gives a summary of different novels. The site provides a wide array of knowledge on the novels discussion by giving a range of the stylistic devices. The site makes it easy for learners to access information on different novels, and understand the novels content even without having to read it due to the detailed information present in the site.
Ransom, Russel. “Symbolism in Fahrenheit 451.” Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Freebooks.
This is a book site where most books can be accessed from. In this site, the book Fahrenheit 451 is well summarized, and all the stylistic devices are well discussed with relevant quotation from the novel, hence easy to understand. The site also offers questions related to the topics in the book, and goes ahead to provide answers for self-assessment.
Saver 2014, Grade. “Fahrenheit 451.” Fahrenheit 451 Guide and Summary 2014: 1. Grade Saver.
The site gives study guides for different books, notes and depictions, which are well edited for online users. Illustrations from the books are quoted making the site reliable to leaners and reseachers.The site also provides a platform for questions on different books where answers are provided on time.This makes the site reliable for tackling differrent questions by leaners .
Sparknotes 2017. SparkNotes. Ed. Sparknotes Editors. Nov 2017. Sparknotes. 2017.
This website provides notes on different books. It gives a description of whole book; from the context to characters, plot, themes, motives and different symbols used in the book. The website further gives a sumary of the entire book, including important quotations. By reading from this source, readers can easily comprehend the book.
Fahrenheit 451. first edition (clothbound). newyork: ballatine books, Ray Bradbury.
Johnson, Brandon. free ebook summary. 2017.
Jymes, Ashley Borden and Asa. prezi. 9 september 2013.
lorcher, Trent. brigt hub Education. 17 1 2012.
Ransom, Russel. “symbolism in Fahrenheit 451.” Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. freebooks, 2017.
saver 2014, grade. “fahrenheit 451.” Fahrenheit 451 guide and summary 2014: 1. grade saver. 2014.
Sparknotes 2017. SparkNotes. Ed. sparknotes editors. nov 2017. sparknotes. 2017.