Imagine living in a world where any literary connection or indication is forbidden. Ray Bradbury envisioned a world throughout the novel Fahrenheit fifty-one filled with extremely oppression and the effect of censorship on a society, ignorance and the effects of the media. Fahrenheit four fifty-one portrays a dystopian society in which the dangers of a divided society can affect its people. The novel is set in a future America where books are outlawed and firemen are in charge of burning those books and any structures they’re housed in, including homes. Through Guy Montag, Bradbury illustrates a conflict between man versus man: Man vs. self, and man versus technology using a theme of censorship.
The importance of books is used as a symbol and a focal point to show each characters true values and feelings. Bradbury integrated devices such as motifs, imagery and symbols to illustrate the life of Montag as he tries to make sense of the world he currently lived in. Bradbury imagines a world where the people themselves have created a dystopia. A world where one lacks knowledge and ” intellectuality” which is seen as a swear word. People stopped asking questions, and the government took the opportunity to prohibit things such as books, and any textual evidence of what the world was like a few years ago. Guy Montag is a third generation fireman who has enjoyed his life watching homes ignite. He believes in the rules that have been placed upon a time.
“Established, 1790 to burn English-influenced books in the colonies, First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin.”( Bradbury 45). For the last two years, Montag developed an unsettling feeling of him living the wrong life. He comes home to his wife who seems to be mentally unstable. She thinks the show shown on her tv wall are her “family”. Authors incorporate motif into their writing to support the theme. In some ways they can be found by the patterns of repetition, and they do reveal the theme in some cases.
Bradbury intagretes nature imagery to represent a force of innocence and truth. Clarisse’s adolescent is a major source. She convinces Montag to taste the rain, and the experience changes him permanently. Clarisse represents nature or that which is organic and natural. Almost every time the reader encounters her. Bradbury uses nature imagery to make the connection between Clarisse and nature. Clarisse challenges Montag by asking him if he was happy.
He then realizes he was not happy after a walk back home. “Darkness. He was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as a true state of affairs” ( Bradbury 12) Animal imagery is also depicted in this novel, but much of it seem to be ironic. Although the society is obsessed with technology and ignores nature, many frightening mechanical devices are modeled and named after animals, such as the Mechanical hound.
The Hound is a mechanical bounty hunter in the shape of a dog which represents everything brutal about the government, as well as what the government wants its citizens to be like without though and criticism. “It doesn’t think anything we don’t want it to think” (Bradbury 27) This clarifies that the mechanical hound serves as a metaphor for Montag and the dystopian society. It is programmed by the government to act and function as if it were a human being, however, the hound does not have any original thoughts of emotions, but enforces the laws and punishes the ones that don’t follow it.
Another symbol used in this novel is fire.Fire is something that constantly occurs in the novel and is one of the main symbols. It represents reconstruction and deconstruction.
The fire is used by the firemen to burn books which is burning knowledge. Which represents the government’s control of nonknowledge to keep the public ignorant from the government’s actions. “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, see things blackened and changed” (Bradbury.
.) The main point of this quote is to show the way that the firemen view fire. They simply see it as a tool to control ans use to destroy books. Some of the firemen like Beatty and Montag, show different, and sometimes contradicting views about the destruction of books. A way Fire represents reconstruction was the different viewpoint the readers felt. Montag was used to seeing fire burn books and cause pain and suffering to those who possessed the books. “That small motion, the white and red color , a strange fire because it meant a different thing to him.
It wasn’t burning, it was warming.” ( Bradbury..)This quote simply portrays why Montag was skeptical about approaching the fire. He was not used to seeing it provide a source of warmth, light and aid but for destruction with his experiences. Exploring more into Bradbury’s literary work, symbols seems to be used to turn complex ideas into few words.
Bradbury integrated such symbols to not only facilitate the reading but for inspiration as well. In Fahrenheit 451, the symbols are quite easy to identify. The first most important would be the salamander is one of the official symbols of the firemen, they also name their fire trucks this.