The Meaning of Fire in Fahrenheit 451by Ray Bradbury Essay

897 Words 4 Pages
Fire is very common in basic human life and has many purposes. With its many uses, fire’s symbolic meaning is open to various interpretations. In regards to Fahrenheit 451 fire can symbolize knowledge, destruction, and also rebirth. Ray Bradbury illustrates correctly the ambiguity of fire’s metaphors through Montag. As Montag gains new perspectives on fire readers are shown that fire is a very prominent symbol with multiple meanings.
Bradbury first depicted fire as a hurtful force through Montag, a fireman, who burn books. With the converted mentality of his culture, “it was [Montag’s] pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed” (3). Montag’s culture sees burning as an enjoyment; however, the fire portrayed here demonstrates the destruction of knowledge and personality. While Montag’s profession brings him joy he does not understand that burning is the most permanent form of destruction. He is oblivious to his governments’ strong desire to eliminate the ideas and knowledge that books hold. In this society, where ignorance is bliss and their phobia of unhappiness controls all aspects of life, people believe that their destructive fire “is bright and…clean”, as it is used as a means to keep themselves oblivious and happy (60). In addition, Bradbury establishes the difference in the symbolisms of fire by naming part one of his novel “The Hearth and the Salamander”. The hearth is the fireplace of the home and is the…