Symbolism In Ray Bradbury's Farenheit 451

928 Words4 Pages
Ray Bradbury uses an abundance of symbolism in his novel, Fahrenheit 451. “For Bradbury, fantasy must have a system of symbolic meanings, and he offers many convincing reasons why the detour through the metaphorical realm of appearances is a necessary part of the novel” (Touponce 104). The chapter titles: The Hearth and the Salamander, The Sieve and the Sand, and Burning Bright are all symbols that are used in the novel.
The Hearth and the Salamander is the first chapter title of the book. Hearths are fireplaces that are in the center of most houses (Lichtenstein). Montag did not think of his home as a hearth though. “...coming into the cold marbled room of mausoleum” (Bradbury 5). The salamander could live in fire without being harmed (Lorcher).
…show more content…
“Fire represents destruction, of books, of people, of society.” (Lorcher) Burning Bright represents violence, death, ignorance yet also warmth, and love. (Weebly) “The standard use of fire to warm and heat had been replaced to be used for destruction and entertainment in this society” (DeReign) Montag’s understanding of fire and burning as destruction is completely reversed by the end of the book by warmth and renewal. (DeReign) “The resurrection symbolism of fire is personified by the phoenix and salamander. The linked concept of purging evil by fire led to the cruelest atrocities.” (Tresidder) “The house fell in red coals and black ash. It bedded itself down in sleepy pink-grey cinders and a smoke plume blew over it, rising and waving slowly back and forth in the sky. It was three-thirty in the morning. The crowd drew back into the houses; the great tents of the circus had slumped into charcoal and rubble and the show was well over.” (Bradbury 54) “There was a shriek and the jets from the city were gone overhead long before the men looked up. Montag stared back at the city, far down the river, only a faint glow now.” (Bradbury 75) “Look at the world and turn it over with the eyes, as if it were held to the center of the bonfire, a piece of steel these men were all shaping. It was not only the fire that was different. It was the silence. Montag moved toward this special silence that was concerned with all of the world.” (Bradbury 68) There is a lot of fire in Fahrenheit 451. Fire means different things at different times in this book. Beatty and the firemen use it to destroy while Montag figures out that he can warm instead of burn. Fire was a constructive and destructive half. Each character in the novel is forced to interpret for themselves and have contradictory perspectives. (Shmoop) “It tells us that fire can be beneficial or harmful but it all depends on the person in contact with it.”
Open Document