Since the beginning, fire has been only known as destruction and despair. This seems to be true until Ray Bradbury published Fahrenheit 45, which has a perspective on fire being not just destruction but also warmth in a of world censorship that has gone out of touch with its human counterparts through its use of technology. Bradbury originally wrote this novel, Fahrenheit 451, as a short story called” The Firemen” in 1950 in galaxy science fiction; he later published it as a novel in 1953.
A well renowned author, Ray Bradbury wrote one of his premier pieces Fahrenheit 451, a novel that puts a focus on a society where the government has put a censorship on book reading, and has a problem with overuse of technology, which many people today worry about because it implies a world where people have little or no say on what they can do only knowing that technology is growing and making people sheltered through little human interaction, which is illustrated by Bradbury’s use of literary techniques to show the reader a deeper meaning of what a society of censorship can come to.
Ray Bradbury forges a deeper message with his use of allusions to shock the reader into awareness of what the future may bring. Through allusions Bradbury creates a world in which book burning has become a centerpiece in the 24th century society. Allusions can bring the past to the present with the power to change societal views: “noting specifically the literary and Biblical allusions, we see a deeper message in the novel than simply the warning that our society is headed for intellectual stagnation.
The literary are used to underscore the emptiness of the twenty-fourth century, and the Biblical Allusions point subtly toward a solution to help us of our intellectual “Dark Age”” (Sisario). This evidence suggests that the allusions used were not only to tell the underlying story that the society is heading for destruction, but it also shows the solutions there are able to end the “intellectual stagnation” (Sisario).
Allusions like the phoenix brings the idea that the 24th century could burn itself like the phoenix, but it is also able to resurrect itself to begin anew from its mistakes: “Through the persona of Granger, Bradbury expresses the hope that mankind might use his intellect and his knowledge of his own intellectual and physical destruction to keep from going through endless cycles of disintegration and rebirth” (Sisario). From this evidence, Bradbury is able to cling onto the idea that intelligence is the key to end the “endless cycles” of the 24th century.
From the Biblical allusions Bradbury implores, he is able to show in the end, no matter what the damage, God will take care of everything. The only plausible solution for the 24th century was God: ” Saint Matthew’s parable of the Lilies illustrates that god take care of all things and we need not worry; the Lilies don’t work or worry, yet god provides for them” (Sisario). The evidence is suggesting that the only solution for this dystopian society is from the help of God and how he will take care of what they have caused, just as he does with the lilies.
Allusions have the power to bring about the past to the knowledge of the society in order to give them a correct path to follow not a misguided one. Bradbury employs the use of imagery of hands in order to illustrate how misguided the people of the 24th century have become. Through his use of imagery of hands, Bradbury is able to depict the significance of consciousness and how it plays a much deeper role in characters. Therefore, imagery of hands is centered around how misguide these character’s consciences are: “The hands of the misguided are deceptively calm, reflecting the complacency of self-righteousness.
At the same time, the hands of the character struggling for right seem to do good almost of their volition, even before the mind has been consciously decided. Finally, once characters are committed to positive action, their hands become an unambiguous force for good” (McGiveron). The hands of the misguided are unknowing doing the harm and the wellbeing all at the same time without the owner knowing, but still manages to go along with it. Again, with imagery of hands Bradbury is essentially giving a insight on how the misguided act through the novel.
For instance, the most misguided is Guy Montag when he comes to the point where he has to rip the pages of the bible to show he can be trusted to Faber: “His Hands, by themselves, like two men working together, began to rip the pages from the book. The hands tore the flyleaf and then the first and then the second page… Montag…. let his hands continue” (Bradbury 88). From this passage Bradbury is subtly pointing out the fact that Montag’s hands express what his consciousness scarcely can recognize. Montag has no real intention to destroy the bible, but his consciousness understands that Faber’s help is more important.
Montag comes face to face with his conscious when the only thing standing in his way is Captain Beatty. This is when Montag is misguided the most: “Though Montag would not have killed Beatty willingly, his hands expressed what he consciously understands only later. “Burn them or they’ll burn you … right not it’s as simple as that'” (McGiveron) (123). Naturally, Montag would not kill his boss or his friend but in a dystopian society where the hands of the misguided are consciously unaware of what they are doing, they take over and cause harm.
With Bradbury’s use of imagery of hands, the hands themselves are misguided by the conscious causing actions that are not thought through but impulsively acted on. Bradbury creates a theme of atrocious censorship in society to reveal what society could come to if not kept in check. Censorships influence everything in the 24th century and one that lives by the censorship is Captain Beatty. Captain Beatty articulates to Montag that: “We must all be alike, not everyone born free or equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal” (58).
Beatty is a firm believer in the dystopian views and ideas, but with everyone the same there is no room for change creating a mindless society left unchecked. Therefore, if censorships are not kept in check than there is no freedom, there is only suppression. As a result of the book reading suppression: “Society has become vapid, more interested in mindless entertainment than knowledge, understanding, and critical thought, and the ability to discern between two fundamental documents has no place” (Brown).
This evidence suggests from the suppression of books their society has become one of mindlessness and ignorant of the truth. Since this dystopian society is centered around all literature being deemed offensive, the only way to solve the problem is censorship. Again, Beatty is a firm believer in censorship: “People should not have to feel ignorant or inferior to others and such censorship is done to provide and ensure happiness.
Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against” (58). Yet, in a effort to provide the happiness, the culture ironically rejects it. Censorship is a way of oppression and suppression on society that if not kept in check can grow exponentially for the worse. Bradbury utilizes symbolism to engineer a deeper value of the book than just the story. For instance, fire is one of these symbols used to dig deeper. All Montag’s life he has known one thing; fire burns everything.
It is not until he is on the run does he realize the what fire really means: “He stopped, afraid he might blow the fire out with a single breath. … He stood looking at it from cover. That small motion, the white and red color, a strange fire because it meant a different thing to him. It was not burning, it was warming” (Lenhoff). Bradbury is able to make fire into a symbol of both destruction and aid to truly expand Montag’s point of view on how he never understood what fire meant. In addition to fire, Bradbury uses the Phoenix as a symbol throughout the story.
The Phoenix represents a deeper meaning of the society by burning itself over and over and rising from the ashes just as the 24th century is doing, but the only difference from the phoenix is: “We know all the silly things we’ve done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, someday we’ll stop making the funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation” (Lenhoff). From this passage, Bradbury depicts a solution to the occurrence of burning and rising that the phoenix never had.
Whereas, with the mechanical hound Bradbury uses it as a symbol to note how a animal that is known to love humans has become a mechanical heartless being which is represented by the 24th century society: “the idea of a mechanical hound seems a fitting symbol of the entire kind of society in which Montag and his contemporaries exist… it is completely without emotions of any kind; it is completely incapable of any kind of loyalty or love” (Bradbury). Comparing the mechanical hound to what society has become enables the reader to think deeper on how society is on its way to being “incapable of any kind of loyalty or love” (Bradbury).
From symbolism, Bradbury is able to create a deeper understanding of what the future may hold instead of only the story. Bradbury crafts an assortment of ironic examples in order to allow the reader to see inside a dystopian society. Through his use of dramatic irony, Bradbury tells of a time before the censorship and dystopian society from the point of view of Clarisse when she asks Montag: “Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?… / heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames” (27).
The irony in this passage being Montag not realizing the real history of firemen from the censorship taking place in the 24th century masking history into what the government wants its people knowing. Therefore, with firemen being the initiators of fire instead of the terminators of them, it adds to the ironic insight of what a dystopian society holds and how: “the ironically reversed role of the firemen serves admirably as Bradbury’s central metaphor, since it represents both the charismatic seductiveness of demagoguery and a perversion of the ommunity values of Green Town, Bradbury’s symbol of the American tradition at its best” (Mogen).
From firemen, the censorship takes full effect on the society by turning a profession known for putting out fires to making them Whereas, with verbal irony Bradbury depicts Mildred’s problem with technology and how it is caused from the “intellectual stagnation” (Sisario) from book burnings. When Montag asks Mildred: “Will you turn the parlour off” she replies with “that’s my family” (4).
From the irony, the readers are able to see how involved Mildred is with technology and how the society has become so attached to machines. Mildred is so centered around her television shows that she is under the oppression they are her real family. This is all made possible from the censorship taking place where the society has went from a world full of intellectuals to a world entrapped to technology.