3 March 2013
Throughout the entire novel of Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury’s use of symbolism is indisputable. Bradbury takes his readers on a futuristic adventure into a world where gaining knowledge through books and intellectual thoughts are outlawed. Through his writing, he indicates the possibility of what current day society could turn into if it lacked education and continued on the road of self destruction. Montag, the main character, attempts to break this cycle in the fall of man through many courageous acts. The use of symbolism intensifies the meaning of the novel and reinforces each idea of the book dramatically, allowing them to directly affect the reader.
The image of fire burning is repeatedly brought up throughout Montag‘s journey. Fire represents two main points in this novel. First, the men who are responsible for the burning, as well as the number 451 they wear on their helmets - the temperature at which paper and books burn - symbolize destruction. As the firemen set fire to books, they are continuously compared to Pigeons. Pigeons are commonly referred to as “Carriers.” They deliver messages, much like books do. Furthermore, the destruction of books with fire correlates with the destruction of potential knowledge that could have been delivered. In addition to destruction, fire represents inspiring people in Montag’s life, such as Clarisse. Clarisse kicks Montag’s thought process into gear, and always makes him wonder about things. For example, Clarisse asks Montag, “Are you happy?” (Bradbury 7). She reminds Montag of candlelight because of her spontaneous thought process and true beauty that is revealed as her life slowly melts down to a puddle of molten wax. The soft flicker of candlelight symbolizes the glow of self awareness and knowledge that few have in Montag’s community, just as few things can compete with the fascination of a burning candle.
After Clarisse passes, intellectuality becomes...