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Light vs Darkness in "Fahrenheit 451"

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Gage Johnson

on 16 July 2014

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Transcript of Light vs Darkness in "Fahrenheit 451"

Light and darkness were constant themes in the novel, "Fahrenheit 451.
The first chapter in the book is named, The Hearth and the Salamander. The hearth represents a fire in a home, made for warmth and comfort. The salamander represents the firemen of that time. These two different representations of fire is shown throughout the book.
"It's a pleasure to burn..."
The novel began by describing fire as an exciting pleasure. It gave Montag and the other firemen, a thrill. It gave them pleasure to destroy books with fire. The fire made them feel alive. Fire, in this case, was light to them.
"Montag had rarely seen that many house lights."
Very early in the book, Montag met Clarisse. He described her in terms of light:
"Her face was slender and milk white."
"Her dress was white and it whispered."
"Her face bright as snow in the moonlight"
"Her face, turned to him now, was fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light of electricity..."

When he arrived at Clarisse's house, it was well lit. When asked, Clarisse said that her family was inside, talking and laughing. That was very strange to Montag and it brought a new idea of light and life to him.

"He was not happy"
After Montag's meeting with Clarisse, he went home and when he opened his bedroom door he found complete darkness. The dark room was described as a tomb. It was in this darkness that Montag realized how truly unhappy he was.

The light of the fire that he thought was "light" to him he began to see as darkness. The unusual lights in Clarisse's home began to show him that happiness would be found in enlightenment which is what the fires were set to destroy.
The woman burns with her books
When the firemen responded to an alarm at an unnamed woman's house, rather than leave her house and allow the firemen to burn her books, she chose to burn with them. It was during this fire that Montag realized that the alarms only went off at night. This was another step to his realization that the fires that he once thought of as life were actually a darkness to life. It was also during that call that Montag stole a book. That would turn out to be the beginning of his true enlightenment.
Montag hides in the dark...
After Montag killed Beatty, he fled from the area hiding in the shadows and dark. This darkness, helped save his life. He also planted books at Mrs. Black's house and called the authorities. The name, Mrs. Black, and the fact that Montag hid books at her house so that it might be burned, show the darkness that Montag felt about his own house being burned and showed the enlightenment that Montag had already found in realizing what he thought was light or good (burning houses because of books) was actually very dark.
Montag Finds Companions in the Dark
After fleeing from the police, Montag found a group of men that welcomed him. Although the men are described using dark colors (dark-blue denim pants, etc) they are also described as clean and neat. This darkness represented a new light to Montag. The fire that the men sat around was not a fire that represented bad things or darkness but it represented warmth and comfort.
In the novel, "Farenheit 451," light and dark were both used to describe both good and bad things. Many times things that once represented light in Montag's life changed to represent something dark and then changed again. An example of this is in the beginning of the book, the fires represented good in Montag's life. This changed when Montag began reading books. At that time he realized what he thought was light in his life (fire) was actually a darkness. In the end of the book, when he sat around the campfire with the other men, the fire once again represented light in his life. Another example is the darkness of night. Montag used to work at night. The darkness of night when he was working was a good thing to him. When Montag began to realize that it was wrong to keep books away from citizens, he also realized that the fire alarms only went off at night. This changed night from representing a good thing to him to representing a bad thing. Later in the book, the night provided the darkness he needed for safety so, the night once again became a good thing. This itheme of light vs. darkness was carried throughout the book.


Light vs Darkness in "Fahrenheit 451"
"Fahrenheit 451" illustrated a journey from darkness to light.
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