August 7, 2014
English III B Unit 10
The theme of duality in “Fahrenheit 451”
The book “Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury is an extremely powerful novel. It speaks volumes about the nature of human society, and how it behaves under the circumstances of a bleak dystopia. In achieving this, Bradbury pushes the theme of duality via the specific instances of Montag, the destruction of the city, and the Phoenix. He does this so he can illustrate clearly the duality of how creation can be derived even in the wake of utter destruction.
Guy Montag is the anti-hero of the story; he is a Fireman in the dystopian city, whose job is to burn books. Montag’s initial destructive nature is made apparent by the fact that he took great pleasure in burning books. Even from the beginning of the book, when the first thing written is “It was a pleasure to burn”, the nature of Montag is made very obvious. The duality of this circumstance arises when, after Montag witnesses an old lady commit suicide to protect her books, he begins to steal and hide books. He does this because he seeks answers, answers to questions like why people like the old lady do what they do, and why depression overwhelms and haunts him. Montag’s creative nature in stealing books is made even more obvious when it is explained in the novel, via the quote “So it was the hand that started it all”, that he takes the books subconsciously, without even thinking about it. Montag’s initial love for burning books, but later love for hiding them, clearly illustrates the duality of creation arising from destruction.
Moving on, another instance within the novel that illustrates the duality of creation coming from destruction is when the city is destroyed in the Great War by bomber jets. Throughout the novel, it is mentioned here and there that jets fly over the city often, hinting at a coming war. This fact eventually manifests itself when, at the end of the novel, the city is finally destroyed by...
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