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Influence of Nature in Fahrenheit 451

Satisfactory Essays
Brooklynn Hostetler
Professor Sealy
English 101
February 13th, 2014
Ecocriticism: the study between literature and the environment. Many books link nature to characters and themes in the novel. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury links natural imagery to the characters in society. One such line in the book officially states this connection. As a suggestion to Montag, Faber says to “look for it in nature and look for it in yourself” (Bradbury 82). In this quote, Faber means to say that happiness is found in not only one’s self, but in nature as well. This statement formed a connection between the two subjects. Since the connection between man and nature is a key part to the novel, an ecocritical approach to the book is obvious. Natural imagery from Fahrenheit 451 allows readers to apprehend one’s relationship with the natural world.
An ecocritical approach to Fahrenheit 451 gives readers the chance to find a relationship between human assets and nature, which can therefore be perceived as a theme or symbol in the novel. One such example of symbolism that is found in the book is when Montag is describing his wife Mildred’s face after he realized she had just taken pills: “Two moonstones looked up at him in the light of his small hand-held fire; two pale moonstones buried in a creek of clear water over which the life of the world ran, not touching them . . . Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall, but it felt no rain; over which clouds might pass their moving shadows, but she fell no shadow” (13). Mildred's face is drawn through natural images to describe her internal character. In this description, nature acts as symbol telling that Mildred is completely separated from the real world. The creek of clear water does not reach Mildred's eyes shows that Mildred is disconnected from society. To support the disconnection even more, Mildred does not feel rain or shadows which shows she cannot see what is true and natural in her life.
Bradbury again uses symbolism and imagery to capture his character’s mental growth. In this situation, Montag is escaping down the river when the text says, “He felt his heel bump land, touch pebbles and rocks, scrape sand. The river had moved him toward the shore” (141). Montag is not only physically moved along and banged up, but is also in the mental process of finally understanding his relationship with the natural world. As he travels down the river, Montag realizes what Beatty, his boss, said about happiness because he found it in nature and in himself. His purpose in life was not for others, but his own self. The fact that this epiphany occurs just as Montag is being pushed to shore represents that Montag is escaping society. The symbolism of the river emphasizes that Montag is now getting in touch with himself as well as the natural world around him. An ecocritical viewpoint accents Montag's and society's challenged with gaining interpretation on life and nature.
An ecocritical approach is definitely revealing in Fahrenheit 451, because of nature imagery. Nature imagery opens a gateway to connect nature and mankind. The interpersonal relationship between one self and nature are essentially one existence and cannot be acknowledged individually. When Faber responds in saying, “look for it in nature and look for it in yourself,” it’s possible that Bradbury is saying that one’s self and nature are essentially the same concept (82).

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