Stylistic Gadgets in Fahrenheit 451
Stylistic Gadgets in Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury’s 1953 Fahrenheit 451 includes a number of interesting stylistic gadgets. Robert Reilly applauds Bradbury for having a style “like a terrific organ. …” (73 ). David Mogen comments on the novel’s “vivid style” (110 ). Peter Sisario applauds the “subtle depth” of Bradbury’s allusions (201 ), and Donald Watt pursues Bradbury’s bipolar “symbolic fire” (197) imagery. In current articles I went over Bradbury’s use of mirror images and nature images. In addition, throughout Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury uses imagery of hands, making them substantial reflectors of conscience.
The hands of the misguided are deceptively calm, showing the complacency of self-righteousness. At the very same time, the hands of the character struggling for right appear to do good nearly of their own volition, even before the mind has been knowingly chosen. Finally, when characters are devoted to positive action, their hands end up being an unambiguous force for excellent. As the novel opens, “firefighter” Guy Montag joyously sets about his task of burning down a house found to consist of books, and Bradbury describes Montag’s hands with paradoxical majesty.
According to Bradbury, “his hands were the hands of some fantastic conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history” (3 ). This early in the story Montag does not yet recognize the real damage of his occupation; certainly, he discovers it “a pleasure to burn” (3 ). Montag’s conscience is blithely clear– or maybe pathetically blank– and his sure of oneself, self-aggrandizing hands are a reflection of this vacuum. Montag, however, has from time to time been taking books from the prohibited libraries he burns.
When we finally witness this. Montag’s hands show the unacknowledged determines of conscience: Montag’s hand closed like a mouth, squashed the book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest. Montag had not done anything. His hand had actually done it all, his hand with a brain of its own, with a conscience and an interest in each shivering finger, had turned burglar. Now it plunged the book back under his arm, pushed it light to sweating underarm, rushed out empty. … He looked, shaken, at that white hand. (37-8) His hand, of course, is not had by “an insanity of mindlessness. On the contrary, Montag has “a conscience and an interest …” however, still reluctant to recognize them, he forecasts them into his hands. Soon Montag gos to Faber, a previous literature professor, to attempt to employ the old male’s help. When Faber initially declines, Montag holds out a Bible and “lets” his hands shock Faber into action: Montag stood there and waited for the next thing to happen. His hands, by themselves, like two guys collaborating, began to rip the pages from the book. The hands tore the flyleaf and then the very first and then the second page … Montag … let his hands continue. 88) Once again Montag’s hands express what his consciousness hardly can acknowledge. He has no real desire to harm the old Bible, however his conscience obviously understands that Faber’s help is much more important. When Montag returns to the firehouse, his hands feel restless under the gaze of Fire Captain Beatty, his superior: In Beatty’s sight, Montag felt the guilt of his hands. His fingers were like ferrets that had actually done some evil. … [T] hese were the hands that had actually acted on their own, no part of him, here was where the conscience first manifested itself to take books. … 105) Though Montag still has problem accepting responsibility for breaking away from the thoughtless damage which had actually been his lifestyle, Bradbury substantially utilizes the word conscience once again. Just as his hands first manifested his brand-new conscience, now they reflect his anxiety at possible discovery. Captain Beatty leads the trembling Montag through a series of literary allusions, yet while Montag’s hands reflect his precarious psychological position, when the mocking Beatty connects to examine Montag’s guiltily racing pulse, his “stylish fingers” (107) reflect a dogged self-righteousness.
Bradbury employs such ironic imagery to show that Beatty is still able to possess the type of clear (or blank) conscience which the nervous Montag luckily no longer has. Beatty unwittingly may be the book’s finest spokesperson against the suppressing anti-intellectualism of his society, however he declines to let any doubts disrupt his work; unlike Montag’s, his hands never ever waver. Bare minutes after the tense firehouse scene, Beatty forces Montag to burn down his own house.
As Beatty scolds him and threatens to find Faber, Montag finds himself “twitch [ing] the security catch on the flame thrower” (119 ). Again, Bradbury has the conscience drive the hands onward even before the mindful mind has actually reasoned out the situation: “Montag … himself glanced to his hands to see what new thing they had done. Reflecting later he could never choose whether the hands or Beauty’s response to the hands offered him the final push towards murder” (119 ).
Even when Montag finally kills the taunting Beatty, Bradbury displaces him syntactically from the center of the action. Explaining Beatty, Bradbury composes, “And after that he was a shrieking blaze, a jumping, sprawling, gibbering mannikin, no longer human or known, all wriggling flame on the yard as Montag shot one constant pulse of liquid fire on him” (119 ). While Bradbury does recognize the star as Montag instead of as his disembodied hands, the abrupt transformation of Beatty and the placement of Montag toward completion of the sentence stress the spontaneity of the action.
Should any doubts remain about the correctness of the action of Montag’s conscience-driven hands, Bradbury has Montag believe minutes later on in his flight, “Beatty wished to pass away”; (122 ). Though Montag would not have actually killed Beatty willingly, his hands revealed what he knowingly comprehends just later:” [B] urn them or they’ll burn you. … Right now it’s as basic as that” (123 ). When Montag leaves into the wilderness and joins a group of book-memorizing intellectuals, his first glance of them reveals only “numerous hands held to [the campfire’s] heat, hands without arms.” (145 ). After several pages of highly didactic conversation with the group’s leader. Montag helps put out the campfire: “The guys assisted, and Montag helped, and there, in the wilderness, the guys all moved their hands, putting out the fire together” (154 ). Certainly putting out the fire is symbolic of stopping society’s book burning, but Bradbury’s specific reference of hands seem similarly symbolic, in the meantime hands are exposed as an unambiguous force for excellent. Montag shows this once again when he understands that the future will “come out our hands and our mouths” (161 ).
Good therefore comes not only from thinking and talking however from actually doing also. Bradbury repeats this important point when Montag thinks, “I’ll keep the world tight one day” (162 ); just as hands might perform deeds of conscience before the mind has actually fully chosen, once the choice has been made, the conscience-driven hands need to then follow though. With his imagery of hands, Bradbury appears to recommend that actions may undoubtedly speak louder than words. It is uncertain that our hands will ever just show the conscience as Montag’s so conveniently do, but it is similarly doubtless that