Stylistic Devices in Fahrenheit 451

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Stylistic Devices in Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury's 1953 Fahrenheit 451 contains a number of interesting stylistic devices. Robert Reilly praises Bradbury for having a style "like a great organ. ..." (73). David Mogen comments on the novel's "vivid style" (110). Peter Sisario applauds the "subtle depth" of Bradbury's allusions (201), and Donald Watt pursues Bradbury's bipolar "symbolic fire" (197) imagery. In recent articles I discussed Bradbury's use of mirror imagery and nature imagery. In addition, throughout Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury uses imagery of hands, making them significant reflectors of conscience. The hands of the misguided are deceptively calm, reflecting the complacency of self-righteousness. At the same time, the hands of the character struggling for right seem to do good almost of their own volition, even before the mind has been consciously decided. Finally, once characters are committed to positive action, their hands become an unambiguous force for good. As the novel opens, "fireman" Guy Montag joyously goes about his job of burning down a house found to contain books, and Bradbury describes Montag's hands with ironic majesty. According to Bradbury, "his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history" (3). This early in the story Montag does not yet recognize the true destruction of his profession; indeed, he finds it "a pleasure to burn" (3). Montag's conscience is blithely clear--or perhaps pathetically blank--and his self-confident, self-aggrandizing hands are a reflection of this emptiness. Montag, however, has from time to time been taking books from the forbidden libraries he burns. When we finally witness this. Montag's hands reflect the unacknowledged dictates of conscience: Montag's hand closed like a mouth, crushed the book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest.Montag had done nothing. His hand had...
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