The Symbolism of Fire in Fahrenheit 451

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The Symbolism of fire in Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury describes a dystopian society where firemen instead of putting out fires, light them in pursuit of vanishing all books. The protagonist of the novel, Guy Montag, is a fireman that started questioning his beliefs about love, society and mainly questioning his job as an enemy of books, and the use of fire. This essay will discuss how does Montag understands fire through the novel and how fire is presented in the book.

At the very beginning of novel, Montag is shown as a fireman that was filled with pleasure when books were burned. As a fireman, Montag understood the use of fire as the vehicle of what he thought he loved the most: burning all kinds of books. “[H]is 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.”(Bradbury, pg. 3) It can be inferred from this quote that he understood fire as the weapon for creating destruction, and because of this, he felt powerful thanks to the fire. Nevertheless, this feeling wouldn’t last for a long time.

Meanwhile time passed, Montag’s feelings towards the use of fire started to change. A very significant reason that guides this change to happen was the fact that Montag had met Clarisse. Clarisse was a bizarre teenage girl that lived near Montag’s house. She is significant for Montag´s understanding the use of fire because she made him asked himself insistently about his job in the society, his marriage with Mildred, and the importance of books. Consequently, the fire stopped being a valuable weapon for Montag, becoming in a destructive weapon against what had became his new treasure, books. Before Clarisse, fire was a vehicle for Montag’s happiness. “It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” (Bradbury, pg.3) The things that “blackened and changed” referred to books burning, after Clarisse, this...
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