Fahrenheit 451 Fire Symbolism Essay

Words: 672
Pages: 3

Fire is what sets humanity apart. We would be fending for survival alongside lions, and apes had we not discovered this most dangerous too. Though it is not the tool we thought it would turn out to be.The motif of fire in Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, is a contradictory symbol. It is used to both create and destroy. It is also used to represent two basic instincts of humanity, its ambition for power and knowledge, and the constant need to ask “why?”. In the novel Montag is a fireman burning books, to preserve society. They burn to create a harmonious society, where “everyone is made equal”(bradbury). Destruction used to create, most definitely a counterintuitive concept. But that is both the nature of fire and of humanity. Flames need fuel to burn; wood, paper, coal. Societies need something else to …show more content…
Ambition is a spark that hits good kindling, which will then be fanned to a flame, an idea. Clarisse is the spark for Montag, and the kindling is his job.Prime placement for a person of his standing. He is the closest a person can legally get to books. His job also served as a catalyst, launching the flame of his idea to a blaze. Ambition is quickly and effectively snuffed out by burning the books. If the books have been burned there is no kindling to catch fire. Humanity outsmarts itself every time they use knowledge gathered to prepare for the future. Knowledge is a sensitive topic in fahrenheit 451. The government wants to limit knowledge to keep people happy. They believe the flame of knowledge will consume people with grief and displeasure. If they know more they will want more, they contain this by burning all of the knowledge. But flames cannot be contained, they burn through that which contain it, and that is what happens with Montag. Exposed to greater knowledge he is conflicted. Knowing the consequences, his humanity drives him to pursue freeing himself from