AP English 4
21 March 2006
Analysis of Metaphors and Symbols in Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury takes the reader to a time where firemen do not put out fires; they start them in order to burn books, because books and intelligent thinking is outlawed. By using a combination of metaphors and symbols in this novel, Bradbury deepens the intricacy of his central them that censorship and too much government control is dangerous, and men should be able to think and come up with their own ideas and opinions.
The story of the fireman Guy Montag first appears in a short story by Bradbury called "The Fireman" in 1951. Two years later, he expanded the story, which became Fahrenheit 451. The novel is often classified as a science fiction novel, but first and foremost it is a social criticism warning about the dangers of censorship and government control. Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 after World War II and not only criticizes the lack of intellectualism of the German Nazis, but also the oppressive atmosphere of the early 1950s, when McCarthyism was at its peak. Bradbury used this novel to protest against the strict control of the books the editors would print, because he believed that it distorted the writers' originality. Fahrenheit 451 is Bradbury's most popular work, and the theme of the
dangers of censorship and government control is as relevant today as the day he wrote it, even though while he wrote the novel "he was attempting to prevent the world from heading in the downhill direction it seemed to be going" (Hoskins 134). Richard Windman backs up that idea:
By drawing comparisons between the firemen's actions in Fahrenheit 451 and attacks on contemporary real world authors and publishers of controversial subject matter, the fictional world that Bradbury portrayed is now real- the types of dangers Bradbury's novel warned about- already threaten today's supposedly democratic... [continues]
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