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Fahrenheit 451 Essay

  • Submitted by: ziad1999
  • on April 18, 2015
  • Category: English
  • Length: 1,245 words

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Below is an essay on "Fahrenheit 451" from Anti Essays, your source for research papers, essays, and term paper examples.

Fire is a basic human necessity-capable of both causing devastation and sustaining life. With its various uses, fire’s symbolic meaning is ambiguous: to some, fire symbolizes destruction and death, yet to others it can symbolize passion, knowledge and comfort. Ray Bradbury successfully portrays the ambiguity of fire’s symbolism in Fahrenheit 451, as Montag’s mental transformation and relationship to society changes his understanding of fire; believing first that fire is simply a destructive force, to slowly understanding the comforting and unifying nature of fire.
Bradbury first portrays fire as a destructive force, starting his novel with Montag burning books. With the brainwashed mindset of his society, “it was [Montag’s] pleasure to burn.   It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (Bradbury 3). While the society sees burning as a pleasure, the fire depicted here embodies the elimination of knowledge and individualism as firemen “[stamp] out books and the freedom of thought that books represent” (“Fahrenheit 451”). In his description of the burning process, Bradbury uses words such as “venomous” and “death” to show the true nature of Montag’s profession, and while it brought him joy, his actions were truly destructive. Burning is also the most irreversible method of destruction, causing the complete obliteration of whatever is burned. In this way, the use of fire to get rid of books shows the intense desire of this society to completely eradicate the ideas and knowledge that books provide. In this society, where ignorance is bliss and the fear of unhappiness dictates all aspects of life, people believe that their destructive fire “is bright and…clean”, while it is used as a means to keep themselves oblivious and happy. Although fire itself used to be feared, it is now used out of fear (Bradbury 110). As noted by Harold Bloom, “especially important [to its symbolic meaning] is the power fire possesses to grow without...

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