Symbolism in Fahrenheit 451

Importance in Fahrenheit 451

thesis Statement

Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451 uses powerful figurative language and images through suggestive signs which depict and cover the main styles of the novel.


In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Montag’s escape through the river symbolizes his salvation, in addition to a number of other things. In numerous other circumstances besides the river, water is used to contrast fire and to thus reveal the distinction between good and wicked.

Also, the forest through which he takes a trip river represents the innocence of mankind prior to civilization. This is merely a scratch on the surface of this book’s relatively endless meaning. Fahrenheit 451 tells the story of a fireman called Montag whose task is to set fire to books in order to preserve society’s ignorance.


When Montag eliminates Beatty, the Fire Chief, he chooses to run from the world that he has lived his entire life in. His newfound buddy Faber, another individual on the borders of society, tells him that he will be safe if he makes it to the river. This is an illustration of literal salvation. Rivers often represent “magnificent emissaries, life, and the entryway into the afterlife” (Jobes 1341).

“After a very long time of floating … Montag understood he must never ever burn again” (Bradbury 141). This reveals that the river modifications Montag or is at least the cocoon in which he remains while he goes through a metamorphosis into what is basically a different person.

Also, it is interesting that, in the old South in addition to in Scriptural times, the baptisms of new Christians frequently would happen in the closest river or creek Montag’s journey in the river seems to be a baptism of sorts, as it frees him from the shackles and chains of his former life.

The river, nevertheless, is just the vessel in which Montag takes a trip to the heart of the forest. The forest is the “home of guy in his state of innocence, and a Hebrew sign for kingdom” (Jobes 594). In the novel, the forest and the river are likened to one another at times, such as when Montag explains the forest floor as “a dry river smelling of hot cloves and warm dust” (Bradbury 144).

When Montag numerous men who, like him, are on the outside of society searching in, they are at the old railroad tracks that cut through the heart of the forest like a rusty dagger wielded by the dirty hand of industry. It is here that he finds his real redemption.

The river is not the only usage of water as importance in Fahrenheit 451. Water represents “baptism, cleaning, resurrection, and provides both excellent and evil” (Jobes167). Water is utilized on many events to contrast with fire, which is agent of “magnificent love, eagerness, and life, however also magnificent anger, damage, and death” (Jobes 571).

Usually, they contrast good and evil, and although fire is usually associated with evil, its meaning begins to alter toward the end of the unique When Montag sees the fire the males in the forest are using to warm themselves, he understands “he has never ever believed in his life that fire [can] give along with take” (Bradbury 147). The fire is a metaphor for Montag; he finally recognizes that he can change the world for the much better instead of for the even worse.

The title of the book represents the temperature at when books burn, and from another viewpoint, it appears to what point the books can take censorship till they are gotten rid of. The fire belonged of Montag towards the start of the novel. It wanted to ‘purify’ him from ideas of books and varying or conflicting opinions. In the opening chapter of the book, after doing a regular burning of books his feelings are as follows:

“Montag understood that when he went back to the firehouse, he may wink at himself, a minstrel male, burnt-corked, in the mirror. Later on, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles, in the dark. It never ever went away …” The fire from the book burning burned his soul to emptiness.

He was ignorant; he remained in happiness, as the stating goes. The burning represented the society’s desire to burn everything down so everybody can be the same, given that fire burns everything to ashes, regardless of what it is. Today, this is the same thing as the 10 Rules debate in Alabama.

The burning in the book and the push to eliminate the rules represents the filtration and appeasement of all groups to burn things down to the ashes so it becomes interesting all groups and factions.

Each sign that Bradbury utilized in his book did illustrate the chaos and struggles that chose Montag, and his ultimate modifications. He went from ignorance to the effort of pursuing knowledge. The symbols that reveal Montag’s modifications also teach the audience a lesson of the value of being well-informed, due to the fact that it fills the void inside you left by the fire of the televisions radios and computer systems.

Fahrenheit 451 revolves around the image of a fireman, not as a sign of conservation, however as a being of destruction of guy’s knowledge. Mogen describes the role of the firefighter as the “American Dream gone awry: for in this appalling future the neighborhood firehouse has become the impersonal agent of fire itself, ruining rather than protecting the community institutions” (Mogen 106).

The opening of Fahrenheit 451 describes Man Montag’s excitement as he completes another job, “It was an enjoyment to burn. It was a special satisfaction to see things consumed, to see things blackened and changed” (Bradbury 1). Montag is a firefighter whose job it is to burn books, and appropriately, discourage the citizenry from thinking of anything except four-wall television. “Montag’s intense pleasure in burning somehow involves an awful, pseudo-masochistic temptation to torch the globe, to blacken and disintegrate the human heritage” (Watt 21).

Captain Beatty is the ringleader of their destructive job, and warns Montag to keep back the flood of confusing ideas included in books, which would put out the firemen’s torch.

Montag’s coach, Teacher Faber, warns him of Captain Beatty before he goes into the firehouse for the last time as a firefighter, “Remember that the Captain comes from a most unsafe enemy to truth and liberty, the strong unmoving livestock of the bulk. Oh, the horrible tyranny of the majority (Bradbury 109).

Beatty represents the tyranny of the bulk when he attempts to describe to Montag the factor for destroying books. He contends that the splendor of fire is that it eliminates debate, discontent, and misery. Captain Beatty represents Bradbury’s satirical target not big

Bro, but the potentially high-handed small-mindedness of the commoner, perverting one of the most basic community institutions to enforce conformity (Mogen 105). “Ultimately, the book probes in symbolic terms the puzzling, dissentious nature of a man as a creative/destructive creature” (Watt 22).

In a society where books are unlawful, the only source of info is through innovation, which is gradually poisoning Montag’s society. His better half, Mildred, can always be discovered listening to Shell earplugs or seeing the tv.

After his encounter with Clarisse McClellan, Montag returns home to discover that she has actually taken thirty sleeping pills. Mechanics from the emergency situation health center show up, and tell Montag that the operation is so typical, the disease so widespread, that they can deal with 9 or ten cases a night. The ramification is clear:

Mildred is no special case. “The toxic darkness within her has become endemic to their lifestyle. The darkness suggests all the unimagined, psychic bile that develops in individuals, to embitter them, alienate them from one another, off any inner light on their mode of existing” (Watt 26).

The next morning, Mildred denies ever taking the tablets. The innovation of Montag’s society has alienated the concept of a conventional housewife. Mildred submerges herself in the river of radio waves and pixels, instead of doing common chores of the home.

She asks Montag to purchase another tv screen for their living room, mentioning, “If we had a 4th wall, why it ‘d be just like this room wasn’t ours at all, but all kinds of unique people’s rooms” (Bradbury 20).

During their first encounter, Montag described her presence: “He felt she was strolling in a circle about him, turning him end for end, shaking him silently, and clearing his pockets, without as soon as moving herself” (Bradbury 6). Clarisse is a curious, nature-loving character, a total reverse of Montag’s wife who spends her day immersed in innovation.

She mentions some disturbing truths that Montag can not get away: he addresses her concerns rapidly without thinking; he can not keep in mind if he understood there was dew on the early-morning grass or not; he can not answer the concern of whether he enjoys or not. A growing discontent with his own absence of individual sensibilities sneaks into Montag at Clarisse’s difficulties.

Montag is inspired to remember a time without innovation when he sees Clarisse’s inner-light shining through her face: “It was not the hysterical light of electrical energy but– what? But, the strangely comfy, uncommon and carefully flattering light of the candle” (Bradbury 7)

The idea reminds Montag of an incident in his youth when, throughout a power failure, he and his mother lit one last candle light and found “such illumination” in their quiet silence that they did not desire the power to return to quickly. The figure of Clarisse radiant gently like a candle– slim, soft, tranquil- supplies a significant contrast to the voracious acts of arson dedicated by the firefighters.

“Montag’s development is a journey far from the mechanized, conformist environment of the firehouse, to the natural setting of the woods” (Watt 25). Although Clarisse is only in Montag’s life for a brief time, her influence ultimately causes the murder of Beatty, and the discovery of Granger’s group in the forest.

Throughout the unique, Montag hears the drone of bombers flying overhead and short messages of updates on the war, but who and what his society is defending is never discussed.” An acoustic refrain through the book is the din of passing bombers which has merely become background noise. This suggests an overall separation of political action from daily social life …” (Huntington 88).

The society’s ignorance to the war shows they are totally soaked up in technology; living phony lives without any worry of the occasions taking place in truth. The omnipresent dark is an emblem of their age; the menacing jets symbols of the approaching doom of civilization (Watt 25). Throughout an afternoon conference with her friends, Mildred tries to raise the subject of politics, however they are only able to mention that the army stated it would be a brief war, not any solid details on the war itself.

The war represents the approaching doom of Montag’s society and technology is what is blinding and deafening the people from the truth. “Bradbury’s satire is directed not at American suitables but as simple perversions of them, along with at the American innocence that assumes totalitarianism can’t happen here” (Mogen 107).

Fahrenheit 451 is a story built around book burning, however the action is agent of all sorts of censorship. As Bradbury states in a coda to the unique, “The point is obvious. There is more than one method to burn a book. And the world has lots of people associating lit matches” (Bradbury 176).

Bradbury composed the story that would grow into Fahrenheit 451 in 1950, a time when relations in between the Soviet Union and the United States were anxious. The tensions were of the Cold War were played out on numerous economic, political, and territorial fronts in Europe.

Fahrenheit 451 is typically described as a “cold war book” because Bradbury deals with topics and issues that were shaped by the political climate of the United States in the years immediately following World War II. After World War II, the danger of communism led to a panic in the United States as rumors surfaced about communist spies active in Canada.


Ray Bradbury’s novel deals an abundant tapestry of importance to all those who read it. Bradbury weaves an apparently unlimited amount of symbols into his story in a way that is splendidly significant, definitely American, and easily accessible to the casual reader. His passionate cry against censorship and engaging story has actually enthralled readers for the past 50 years.

He utilizes symbolism to help get his point throughout, and therefore makes the story deal with a deeper level. Through significance, Bradbury has discovered a method to impact the reader in the really core of their being, and he has actually made this unique one whose jarring impact sticks with the reader long after they have turned he last page.

Ray Bradbury’s “Fahrenheit 451” portrays the struggle of a fireman in a world of ‘equality’ and censorship. Guy Montag’s struggling character in was conflicted with sensations of conformity and a yearning to discover the truth. Each symbol in the book represented a either a battle or characteristic of Montag. The most crucial symbols were of and about fire. They were about burning, fire, and the title itself, Fahrenheit 451. The fire represented a characteristic of Montag’s inner depths.

Works Pointed out

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballentine Books, 1953.

Colmer, John. “Science Fiction.” Coleridge to Catch-22. Boston: St. Martin’s, 1978. 197-209.

Huntington, John. “Can Books Convert Dystopia into Paradise?” Readings on Fahrenheit 451. Ed. Katie de Koster. San Diego: Greenhaven, 2002. 107-12.

Mogen, David. Ray Bradbury. Boston: Twayne, 1986. 105-11.

Moss, Joyce, and George Wilson, eds. “Fahrenheit 451: The Temperature at Which Books Burn.” Literature and Its Times. Vol. 4. New York City: Wind, 1994. 95-100.

Walt, Donald. “Burning Intense: Fahrenheit 451 as Symbolic Dystopia.” Modern Vital Analyses: Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. Ed. Harold Flower. Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001. 21-38.

You Might Also Like