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Fire, Main Motiff In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

1380 words - 6 pages

Fire is one of, if not the, main motif that Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury revolves around. The world that Montag lives in is dominated by fire. As Montag said, “The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen, and the sun burnt Time, that meant.that everything burned!” Ray Bradbury clearly conveys in this passage that Montag thinks that fire is very important and that it is something that everything revolves around. Ray Bradbury also talks about the idea of something burning, and that once you completely burn something, it is gone and there is no going back to get ...view middle of the document...

It is important to remember, however, that the woman who killed herself wasn’t the only reason this got to montag so much. Clarisse was also probably a big factor. With the new input from Clarisse, this fire got to Montag and caused him to start stealing and reading books that he had tried to burn for so long. This impacts all the future events of the book, because if Montag had not become emotionally affected by all of the fire, then this wouldn’t be much of a story at all, it would just be a story of a normal fireman’s life.
Throughout the book, Montag is changed by the symbol of fire. An example of how fire impacted Montag’s life is on page 110, “‘Why,’ said Montag slowly, ‘’we’ve stopped in front of my house.’” This is an example of the all-consuming symbol of fire that Ray Bradbury has showed us throughout the entire rest of the book. This moment is when Montag finally realizes that his actions have consequences, and that by breaking the law he will be punished. Just after this quote, Beatty forces Montag to burn down his own house with a flamethrower. This is significant because while Montag experiences the joy that all firemen do when burning things, he is also thinking about how he is literally burning his own house, which eventually leads to him killing Beatty, which is another big event in the plot of the story. While Montag may have had thoughts about how burning people’s homes is wrong, killing Beatty is the first action that he takes in favor of the voices that are in his head. This is also an ironic literary moment because Captain Beatty, the man who was trying to save Montag from books all along, is being killed by his own weapon, the flamethrower that he have Montag to permanently bring him onto the government’s side and burn books for the rest of his life.
Finally, at the end of the book, fire consumes everything. When atomic bombs are dropped on the city, everything is burned. However, an important thing to notice is that before it fell, “The city stood, rebuilt and unrecognizable, taller that it had ever hoped or strived to be.” This shows how while fire destroys things, it is also beautiful and something to watch and adore. This connects to when Montag was forced to burn his own house and people up and down the street came out to watch because it was considered a form of entertainment. An important distinction now, though, is that all those people are dead and it is Montag’s turn to gaze at the strange beauty of fire and destruction. Another thing that is worth mentioning is that, this does not only reference fire, it talks about the city itself and how when it was cleansed, it was better than ever before. During the entire book, censorship and cleansing are...

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