Fahrenheit 451: Symbols
Ray Bradbury incorporates many different symbols in his book, Fahrenheit 451; they include the Mechanical Hound, books, the mirror factory, Clarisse and a few other characters. A symbol, typically an object or an action, represents something with a deeper meaning. One of the main symbols in the book, fire, symbolizes two completely opposite things; in fact, one views it as destructive and the other as enlightening.
From the firemen’s perspective, fire symbolizes destruction and power. “With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head, and his eyes all orange flame with the thought of what came next, he flicked the igniter and the house jumped up in a gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black” (3). In this passage, fire symbolizes the great power the firemen have and the damaging nature of fire; they ruthlessly burn down houses and even do it in a joking manner as in continues on to say that he wanted to “shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace” (3). Another evidence of the destructive nature of fire is portrayed in the scene where the woman decides to die rather than live without books (40). The fire not only burned books and houses, but it also caused the death of people like Beatty. “And then he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling gibbering manikin, no longer human or known, all writhing flame on the lawn as Montag shot one continuous pulse of liquid fire on him” (119). In my opinion, this passage best depicts the devastating power of fire because it describes how the fire changed Beatty into something “no longer human”.
The other, not as obvious, depiction of fire is one of comfort and realization. Montag starts to realize this side of fire as he talks to Clarisse and looks at her face. “One time, as a child, in a power failure, his mother had found and lit a last candle and there had been a brief hour of rediscovery, of such illumination that space lost its vast dimensions and drew...
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