Symbols in Fahrenheit 451

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Searching for Humanity in an Inhuman World
Sometimes progress comes at a price. In Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury uses symbols to evoke a sort of hopelessness that sprang from post-World War II disillusionment with the technological advances that were supposed to make life easier. Whereas many 1950s inventions were intended to ease the way into a society of convenience, Bradbury uses the symbols of color, fire, and mirrors to depict the ways in which people stopped thinking because of the distractions that resulted from a variety of futuristic innovations.

Throughout the book, Bradbury uses color to portray a colorless futuristic world. For example, he writes, “[Mildred’s] face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall, but it felt no rain” (Bradbury 13). Bradbury's description of Mildred's face as a snow-covered island implies a cold, colorless desolation, as though her addiction to television has isolated her from the colorful world of the mind. The possibility of rain falling, but having no impact, suggests barrenness, or lack of imagination in the face of the mindless control of television. Furthermore, Bradbury describes Faber as a gray moth, as though Faber is caught between his highly educated past and his enthusiasm for rejecting it by burning books. In the color spectrum, gray is between black and white, and Bradbury's use of the color gray symbolizes the contradiction between a once active mind and the pleasure Faber now takes in destroying the source of mental creativity. In addition, Bradbury writes, “He felt that the stars had been pulverized by the sound of the black jets and that in the morning the earth would be covered with their dust like a strange snow” (Bradbury 158). Bradbury's interesting blending of color and sound illustrates the hopelessness and terror Montag feels at living in a society that represses Azam 2

creative thought. Once again, Bradbury contrasts black and white, with darkness, or the image of black...
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