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Fahrenheit 451: Allusions
Transcript of Fahrenheit 451: Allusions
Allusions within Fahrenheit 451
Fahrenheit 451 contains many allusions, including historical, mythological, literary, and biblical references. Ray Bradbury uses these allusions to provide a point of reference for how the characters in the book relate to events and literature we've already experienced.
Originally, mythology was used to explain occurrences that didn't have a clear reason (for example, lightening and thunder were said to be the results of Zeus' anger). In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury uses mythological allusions to represent the veiled corruption in society.
These allusions show the irony of how the people yearn for and need knowledge, yet they burn and despise books.
These allusions imply that even though the book is fiction, the issues presented relate back to issues of the past.
Bradbury uses biblical allusions to show the parallels between the way Guy Montag found and taught enlightenment the how Jesus led his followers to salvation.
Ray Bradbury alludes to events in history, mythological tales, literary pieces, and biblical stories in Fahrenheit 451 to provide a point of reference for how the characters in the book represent the readers in their reactions to events and literature.
"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but as everyone made equal” (Bradbury 55).
The American Constitution (signed September 17, 1787) is an important American historical document. It established fundamental law and basic rights for citizens.
“Established, 1790, to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies, First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin” (Bradbury 32).
Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) was a famous printer and writer during colonial America. He is best known for writing the Poor Richard's Almanac, involvement in opening the first subscription library, and establishing the Philadelphia Fire Company.
“Do you know the legend of Hercules and Antaeus, the giant wrestler, whose strength was so incredible so as long as he stood firmly on the earth? But when he was held, rootless, in midair, by Hercules, he perished easily” (Bradbury 79).
Ancient Greek mythology can be traced back to about 750 BCE and comprises of hundreds of stories about gods and goddesses, demi-gods and goddesses (including Hercules), and countless other mystical beings.
‘Where’s your common sense? None of those books agree with each other. You’ve been locked up here for years with a regular damned Tower of Babel” (Bradbury 35).
The Tower of Babel is located in Shinar, where people on earth were intent on creating a tower that reached to heaven in order to be closer to God. God then scattered them across the earth in an attempt to stop them from creating this tower claiming that it would do more harm than good.
“‘And on either side of the river there was a tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month; And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations’” (Bradbury 158).
The tree of life is written about in the end of the bible (Revelation 22:2) it one God’s last message to the people. It relates back to the idea of eternal life and the idea that the people will continue serving God for eternity. Life will be new, and those that are ill will be healed once they come in contact with God
Fairchild, Mary. "The Tower of Babel - Bible Story Summary." About.com
Christianity. About.com, n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013.
"Revelation, Chapter 22." Discover Revelation. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2013. <http://www.discoverrevelation.com/Rev_22.html>
"phoenix". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 26 Sep. 2013 <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/457189/phoenix>.
“There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned him-self up. He must have been first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again.” (Bradbury 156).
Ancient Egyptian mythology has been deeply entwined with culture and government for centuries, focusing often on figures of extreme power including Isis, Anubis, and Ra (the sun god who had the head of a hawk).
"This age thinks better of a gilded fool, than of a threadbare saint in wisdom's school." (Beatty 103)
This comes from a play called Old Fortunatus by Thomas Decker. In this play, a man is debating whether he should study because he loves to or not because then he'll lose the opportunity to earn money.
"The dignity of truth is lost with much protesting." (Beatty 103)
Beatty quotes Act III Scene II of a play called Catiline His Conspiracy by Benjamin Johnson. This play is based off of a man named Catiline who began a revolution. He used his military skills, intelligence, and power in order to fulfill his goal
"A dwarf on a giant's shoulders sees the furthest of the two." (Beatty 103)
Originally written in a note from Isaac Newton to his rival, John of Salisbury also used it in his writing called Metalogican.