Fire, Main Motiff in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 Essay

Fire, Main Motiff in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 Essay

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Fire is one of, if not the, main motif that Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury revolves around. The world that Montag lives in is dominated by fire. As Montag said, “The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen, and the sun burnt Time, that meant.that everything burned!” Ray Bradbury clearly conveys in this passage that Montag thinks that fire is very important and that it is something that everything revolves around. Ray Bradbury also talks about the idea of something burning, and that once you completely burn something, it is gone and there is no going back to get it. Just like time, books that are burned can not be retrieved no matter how hard you may try. In this quote, Ray Bradbury is also referencing how Montag has a sudden revelation at the time that he says this quote. This happens many times during the novel, and fire really is the main idea that changes Montag and all the other characters in Fahrenheit 451.
Understandably, at the beginning of the novel, Montag is very proud to be a fireman. It is one of the few jobs in the society, and he takes a certain primal joy in doing it. However, there is a specific moment in the beginning of the book when Montag begins to realize that maybe there is something bad with burning down houses and killing people because they had books. On page 40 Ray Bradbury writes, “The woman on the porch reached out with contempt to them all and struck the kitchen match against the railing.” When any other fireman burns a house, they enjoy destroying it. Everyone else on the street also comes out to watch because they think of it as a carnival, a somewhat rare event that e...


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... at all, but cruel and unjust. This is further proved when Beatty forces Montag to burn his own house down. Doing this was a critical mistake for Beatty, as Montag was already in a stage of emotional turmoil, and by forcing him to burn his house down, Beatty pushed Montag over the edge, and killed himself. Finally, when the hound is released on Montag, the book begins to get interesting. This can be viewed as just a fun scene to speed up the action in a book that lacks a lot of it, but it also represents how everything is full of action for the people in the book. They are either driving 100 miles an hour, or watching a house burn, just like they are all watching the movie of their lives. Montag may have started out the book like that, but by the end he was so different from everyone else that the government killed an innocent man because they couldn’t catch Montag.

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