The Symbolism of Fire
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, is a novel filled with many symbols. The symbolism used in this novel varies from different animals to things in nature. One of the biggest symbols throughout the novel is fire. Fire has multiple meanings in Fahrenheit 451, and is usually symbolized as something to be feared. Throughout the novel, fire is something that people do not want, even though it can be so much more than a bad thing. Fire can represent knowledge and awareness, rebirth and construction, as well as destruction.
Fire is depicted, throughout history, as a symbol of knowledge and awareness. Fire is usually a symbol that appears in novels right at a time when the main character has an epiphany or realizes something important. In Fahrenheit 451, fire is represented throughout the whole novel as a destructive force and only in the end is it shown as something good. The fire when Montag was with the “hobos” is the main example in the novel of how fire is a symbol for knowledge. “they finished eating and put out the fire. (Bradbury 164)” This quotation may not seem relevant but if you read deeper into the surrounding events, the fire represents a source of knowledge as the hobos converse with Montag. The fire in this section of the novel, in a way, illuminates Montag’s soul. It makes him realize his faults and helps him to reconstruct his views towards the society.
Not only does fire symbolize knowledge, it also symbolizes rebirth and construction. A symbol in Fahrenheit 451 that illustrates this, is the phoenix. “There was a silly damn bird called a phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burnt himself up. He must have been first cousin to man. But every time he burnt himself up, he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. (Bradbury 163)” This quotation shows that with destruction, comes rebirth. Fire is capable of destroying something, just as the phoenix was burnt to death, but just...
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