Symbolism In Fahrenheit 451

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In Ray Bradbury’s novel, Fahrenheit 451, different representations of fire convey Montag’s journey of identity in order to represent the necessity of destruction for growth. Throughout the novel, Montag describes images of destructive, illuminating, knowledgeable, and warming fire. Through these images and symbols, the reader can see the natural journey of life that Montag, and everyone, goes through. The book teaches that one has to go through pain and ruin before they can build themselves back up. Montag must go through the hurt and confusion he does through with his wife and with fire in order to feel the warmth and comfort he goes through in the end. Bradbury ensues that it is not only okay, but fundamental, to be broken down in order to …show more content…

Until this point, Montag continuously describes fire and his job as just a way to destroy. But, when meeting Clarisse, he describes fire as something else for the first time. He thinks, “But, the strangely comfortable and rare and gentle light of a candle” (Bradbury 5). This description is the complete opposite of everything shown of Montag so far. Clarisse gives a spark of something new. According to a post in the Dictionary of Symbolism, “Fire consumes, warms, and illuminates…” (Jaffe 1). As Montag describes Clarisse as a gentle candle, he embodies the form of illumination. After Montag meets this girl, who is so different to everyone he has met in his life thus far, he feels a wave of reality hit him. Suddenly, he questions himself, and even goes as far as to question his own happiness. The façade he has been living comes crumbling down, and he is faced with the austere life he has tried so hard to be happy with. At the end of the night, he thinks to himself, “‘I don’t know anything anymore”’ (Bradbury 15). Meeting Clarisse has stripped him of everything he thought he knew. It was like a tidal wave of a dark reality washed over him, and he takes a step forward in his journey of growth. Montag is now very aware that everything in his life has been wrong and fake. Bradbury shows Montag embodying the illumination side of fire in …show more content…

After he realizes that he must change his life, he tries to force his wife, Millie, to read his hidden stash of books with him. Millie is terrified, and desperately tries to convince her husband to rid of the books before they get in trouble. Montag goes to Faber in order to seek out more information. It seems as though Montag is progressing, and that he is looking for ways to feel more secure in his life and in his mind. Once he gets the knowledge out of Faber, he regresses back into a mindset of destruction. Although he wants change, he still wants to use it destructively. He says, ‘“Plant the books, turn in the alarm, and see the fireman’s houses burn, is that what you mean?”’ (Bradbury 82). Montag is trying to make a change for the betterment of the world, but he wants people to hurt in the process. This is why it is only a half-step. In this section, he displays the consuming aspect of fire. Here, Montag lets the desire of change consume him to the point where he rationalizes a destructive plan to change his society. Although growth comes from destruction, it should be more of a natural process, and not someone deliberately destroying something. He is progressing on his journey, but he is doing it in an unhealthy, irrational way. Montag epitomizes the consuming side to fire as he lets his frantic eagerness for growth take over his entire

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