Fahrenheit 451 symbolism paper

1535 Words7 Pages
American Literature 11

11 November 2013
Symbolism in Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury, the author of the well-known science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451, was alarmed by how much time he felt the public devoted to watching television in the 1950’s. “If this [trend of television watching] goes on…” he wrote, “nobody will read books anymore” (XIII). This thought of a television-obsessed future public frightened Bradbury. He was particularly fearful of how technology might prevent people from forming relationships with each other and connecting with the world around them, which would make them unable to develop human consciousness. He used the format of literature to describe his fears in the futuristic science fiction novel Fahrenheit
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Bradbury voices this belief through Guy, who explains “[the future] will come out of our hands” (Bradbury 161). People like Mildred are too unfeeling, unthinking, and television-obsessed to create any big changes in the world. In order for people like Mildred to have any hope of influencing the future, they would have to first open their minds to exploring new ideas. Guy represents the people who have successfully done that. Once Guy opened his mind to new ideas and self-reflection, he allowed himself to develop a human conscience, which spurred him to take action. The future, then, will come out of the hands and actions of those, like Guy, who have developed a human conscience because they are the ones with the inner vision to see the changes needed and the motivation to create those changes.
Furthermore, the transformation of the world of Fahrenheit 451 is the main idea behind the symbolism of the phoenix. The symbol of the phoenix represents rebirth. The phoenix was a mythical bird that “periodically burned itself to death and resurrected from its own ashes to a restored youth” (Sisario 1). The symbolism of the phoenix myth turns fire into an instrument of renewal (Telgen 12). This renewal is apparent in Montag’s murder of Captain Beatty. Montag chose to kill Captain Beatty because Captain Beatty was trying to prevent Montag from reading books and gaining a conscience. Montag took the flame-thrower that Captain Beatty had been using to burn down Montag’s
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