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Literary Devices in Fahrenheit 451

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Riya Raan

on 29 May 2014

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Transcript of Literary Devices in Fahrenheit 451

Literary Devices in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Allusion
"First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin" (Bradbury 34).
Alliteration
"Denham's dentifrice, Denham's Dandy Dental Detergent..." (Bradbury 79)
Analogy
"The salamander devours his tail!" (Bradbury 86)
Direct Characterization
"Darkness. He was not happy. He was not happy. He said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs" (Bradbury12).
Indirect Characterization
"'Sweet food of sweetly uttered knowledge.' Sir Philip Sidney said. 'Words are like leaves and where they most abound, Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.' Alexander Pope" (Bradbury105-106).
Allegory
"...trying to fill a sieve with sand...And the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering. His hands were tired, the sand was boiling, the sieve was empty" (Bradbury 78).
While on the subway, Montag remembers his childhood memory of himself sitting on a yellow dune and pouring sand through a sieve near the sea. In his memory, the sand represents knowledge and the sieve represents the mind. Bradbury uses the memory of Montag pouring sand through a sieve to say that when knowledge is abruptly poured into the mind, the mind cannot hold the knowledge.
Bradbury uses Benjamin Franklin to show irony. Benjamin Franklin was the founder of early fire brigades. He had created fire brigades to stop fires not to start fires. However, the firemen still consider him as the first fireman who was responsible for burning English-influenced books.
Denham's Dentifrice
The repeated consonant sounds are used to increase the noise in the society. The noise is a disruption to the mind. Therefore, the society uses the noise to disrupt people's thinking.
This quote refers to the Montag and Faber's plan of planting books in firemen's houses. In the society, if books are reported to be at someone's house, then that house has to be burned down by firemen. Thus, Bradbury compares an animal killing itself to firemen burning down their own houses.
Tone
"...Montag, you are looking at a coward. I saw the way things were going, a long time back. I said nothing. I'm one of the innocents who could have spoken up... but I did not speak and thus became guilty myself" (Bradbury 82).
In this quote, Faber tells Montag that he feels guilty for not warning the society. Faber is blaming himself for the state of society. This creates a self-accusation tone because the character is accusing himself and is not being accused by others.
After his encounter with Clarisse, Montag goes back home. Clarisse had questioned Montag's happiness. Montag keeps the question in mind. He enters his bedroom and finds it to be dark. Montag then realizes that he is not happy after thinking for so long that he is happy.
Captain Beatty is using quotes from books against Montag. Since Captain Beatty knows many quotes, he is a knowledgeable man. As well as, it can be inferred that he was an avid reader at a point in his life.
Flashback
"... the green park a year ago. The thought had been with him many times recently but now he remembered how it was that day in the city park when he had seen that old man in the black suit hide something, quickly, in his coat" (Bradbury 74).
When Montag had met Faber a year ago, Faber hid a book in his suit after he saw Montag. Montag, as a fireman, did not confiscate the book from Faber nor reported him. This hints that Montag from within himself did not agree with book burning either. Montag recalls Faber now because he needs a teacher who can teach him how to learn. Montag believes Faber to be the ideal person to teach him because he is a retired English professor.
Foreshadowing
"He stood looking up at the ventilator grille... and suddenly remembered that something lay hidden behind the grille..." (Bradbury 10)
Montag looking up at the ventilator grille creates suspicion. It hints that he is hiding something. The object he is hiding can be inferred and later confirmed to be a book.
Imagery
"Now the dry smell of hay, the motion of the waters, made him think of sleeping in fresh hay in a lonely barn away from the loud highways, behind a quiet farmhouse, and under a windmill that whirred..." (Bradbury 142)
This description creates a peaceful, calm image. After the hardship of escaping from the Hound, Montag is finally able to imagine and think of a happier place rather than the society. He is drifting away from the visuals of society to a better place in his imagination.
Metaphor
"...and his hands were the hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning..." (Bradbury 3)
Montag is comparing himself burning a fire to a conductor directing a symphony. This shows how Montag is proud of his job as a fireman. He believes he is doing a wondrous job by starting fires and burning books.
Situational Irony
"...he heard the fire sirens start up and run, and the Salamanders coming, coming to burn Mr. Black's house..." (Bradbury130)
"With his symbolic helmet numbered 451 on his stolid head..." (Bradbury 3)
Symbol
Juxtaposition
Mood
Mildred says, "Well, this is a play comes on the wall-to-wall circuit in ten minutes. They mailed me my part this morning...When it comes time for the missing lines, they all look at me out of the three walls and I say the lines" (Bradbury 20). Clarisse says, "I guess it's the last of the dandelions this year... Have you ever heard of rubbing it under your chin?" (Bradbury 21)
Bradbury uses Mildred to represent the society, and he uses Clarisse to represent the opposite of society. Mildred represents the society by being obsessed with mindless entertainment that is projected to her through her television walls. Clarisse, however, represents the opposite of society by enjoying real-life experiences such as exploring nature. Bradbury places Montag's interaction with Mildred right before Montag's interaction with Clarisse to emphasize the difference between being obsessed with entertainment and gaining real-life experience. This emphasis is a major theme in Fahrenheit 451 that is obsession with materialism and entertainment versus real-life connections and experience.
"The rain was thinning away and the girl was walking... with her head up and the few drops falling on her face" (Bradbury 21). Clarisse says, "The rain feels good... I love to walk in it" (Bradbury 21).
Montag leaves home after having a brief, unsatisfying conversation with Mildred. When he leaves home, he sees Clarisse walking in the rain. She has a conversation with him about how she enjoys walking in the rain. This quote creates an uplifting mood from the previous atmosphere with Mildred because Clarisse is simply enjoying the rain.
Motif
The idea of mirrors is repeated throughout the book in these quotes.
"He saw himself in her eyes..."(Bradbury 7)
"How like a mirror, too, her face" (Bradbury 11).
"These men were all mirror images of himself!" (Bradbury 33)
"Come on now, we're going to build a mirror factory first and put out nothing but mirrors for the next year and take a long look in them" (Bradbury 164).
In these quotes, there are references made to mirrors. Mirrors are mentioned throughout the book to emphasize the need for one to examine oneself and to become self-aware in Montag's society. Since people do not think, they do not know who they are themselves. Also, since people do not think, they cannot realize that their society is unhappy. Mirrors like Clarisse or the firemen made Montag realize the truth about his society. Thus, mirrors were mentioned throughout the book to put emphasis on the need of the society to see and change itself.
Paradox
"The Mechanical Hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live..." (Bradbury 24)
The Mechanical Hound is a complex creature. It appears to sleep like a normal hound, but really it is put into sleep mode or is turned off when it is off duty. The Hound is an automated creature created by man using nuts and bolts. Therefore, it cannot actually live like a creature of nature, but it is still considered to be alive.
Personification
"...to shove a marshmallow on a stick in the furnace, while the pigeon-winged books died on the porch..." (Bradbury 3)
Bradbury describes the books to be like pigeons flapping their wings. Therefore, when the books are burning they appear to be "dying" like poor pigeons flapping their wings. This equates book burning to killing poor pigeons making Montag's job as a fireman seem horrid.
Repetition
"The jet bombers going over, going over, one two, one two, one two..." (Bradbury13-14)
Repetition is used to state that the jet bombers are always passing overhead. As well as, repetition emphasizes the violence in the society. It is also used to hint that the society is on the verge of war.
The firetrucks are coming to Mr. Black's house who is a fireman himself. Montag put a book in Mr. Black's house, therefore, the firemen have to burn down the house. The irony here is that instead of being responsible for stopping fires, firemen in this society are responsible for starting fires.
In Montag's society, a regular fire call involves burning the structure not the structure's owners.
The symbolic numbers 451 are on the fireman's helmet.
The number, 451, symbolizes Montag's job as a fireman. The number also represents the temperature at which paper burns. Since 451 stands for the paper burning temperature, the number represents Montag's job accurately.
The guy is covering his face because he feels ashamed and guilty like Faber.
Jet bombers are flying through the sky like they are in Montag's society.
Dentifrice is a powder or paste that cleans teeth. Toothpaste is a type of dentifrice.
The salamander ate a small chunk of its tail, and therefore its tail is disconnected. It is "devouring" itself.
People in the society believe they are "happy," but Montag has realized that he is not happy.
Captain Beatty quotes Alexander Pope who says that "words are like leaves..."
Mildred
Clarisse has a dandelion.
Simile
"Her face was like a snow-covered island..." (Bradbury13)
Montag describes what Mildred looks like after entering his bedroom. Mildred is compared to an island with snow. This implies that Mildred is an isolated person who is disconnected from her surroundings. It also implies that Mildred is cold person.
Project by Fariha Rahman
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