Fahrenheit 451


Significant Quotations

  1. If they give you ruled paper, write the other way.
    -Quotation of Juan Ramón Jiménez, used as an epigraph on the cover page.

Explanation: Social rules define normalcy. Normalcy and conformity may not always be healthy. If society tells you to abide by certain rules and to stay within the lines, consider writing the other way.

This was used as the epigram for Bradbury's book to denote the moral imperative of the citizens of Montag's society to contemplate and disobey the mores of their time. The obligation here is both moral and pragmatic, since acceding to their society's conventions would be both individually and socially destructive.

  1. "What traitors books can be! You think they're backing you up, and they turn on you. Others can use them, too, and there you are, lost in the middle of the moor, in a great welter of nouns and verbs and adjectives." (83)

Explanation: People use texts selectively to support their points. The same books that can be used to support one point of view can also be used to refute that point of view. Famous examples are such sacred texts as the Bible or Koran, which are used by adherents to prove the existence of a merciful God and sophisticated religion. Their critics, meanwhile, use this same literature to combat these arguments.

  1. "I sometimes think drivers don’t know what grass is, or flowers, because they never see them slowly. If you showed a driver a green blur, Oh yes! he'd say, that’s grass! A pink blur! That's a rose garden! White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He drove forty miles per hour and they jailed him for two days. Isn't that funny, and sad, too?" (p. 9)


Sign up to continue reading Significant Quotations >

Essays About Fahrenheit 451