Use of Irony in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, irony is often used to convey information and contribute to the overall theme of the novel. Many parts of the book contain this irony because it works well for fueling either the main antagonist or protagonist actions. Fahrenheit 451 is a book based on the ideals of a “utopian society” where books are illegal and burned if they’re found. Firemen are ordered to burn books and all houses that contain them, versus putting out fires and protecting people. In communities people don’t think, they cannot be ‘intellectuals’, and they are forced become drones of the government’s ideals. In the novel Farenheit 451 irony is used to express the complex ideas of the society, but also gives the book more understanding and meaning by making us think differently, how characters are ironically told not to.

First if all, one ironic example in the story is the fact that firemen are starting fires when they burn books, when firemen are supposed it put fires out. On page 8, Bradbury writes as Clarisse argues softly with Montag,

'Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?’ ‘No. Houses. have always been fireproof, take my word for it.’ ‘Strange. I heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames.’ He laughed.

Bradbury's quote is ironic because throughout Farenheit 451, firemen are starting fires as to burn books that are banned. it is ironic because in reality firemen put out fires instead of starting them. Clarice brings this up and Montag has to disregard so, because she's thinking too much. It goes against the morals of their society that firemen could be "helping people" by starting and killing others who are a threa...

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...vages in the book. As a whole both quotes support the governments control of Farenheit 451's society behind the scenes, which is mentioned constantly through irony, contributing to the theme as a whole.

In conclusion, many times throughout the book, Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, literary devices like irony are used to contribute to the theme and book, by connecting two opposite ideas. These can be expressed through the misuse of portraying simple actions or people, connecting our world to the communities in Farenheit 451, and examples of power struggles between the antagonist and protagonist forces. Irony is used constantly as a method of secretly helping us relate to the book, and giving deeper meanings to simple phrases that can represent the themes of this book.

Works Cited

Bradbury, Ray. “Fahrenheit 451.” New York: Simon & Schuster Paperbacks 2013.
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