To Read or Not to Read:
An Examination of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451
Is our society becoming less intelligent? There are many things we do that might suggest this; and it starts with the latest teenage generation. This group has grown up with more technology than any generation prior. From the internet, to cell phones, game consoles, and laptops that weigh less than a feather, it’s no wonder why reading a good book is not high on a teenager’s priority list. When it comes to reading, the only time most teenagers do it is when they have to in English class. And even then some of them just look it up on SparkNotes. For the most part, this generation has shifted its priorities to ...view middle of the document...
Throughout the novel Bradbury uses literary and rhetorical devices like personification, metaphors, and symbolism to strongly convey the dangers of a controlling government in an illiterate society.
One device that Bradbury uses is personification. He starts off the novel with an example when Montag thinks about how, “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten...” (1). Bradbury personifies the fire to show how destructive it is. Bradbury also wants to illustrate the connection and in some ways a bond between Montag and the fire he uses to burn the books. Another prime example of personification is when Montag is talking with his wife Millie about the problems in the world. Montag says that, “the world is starving, but we’re well fed” (70). Bradbury personifies the rest of the world to represent all of the poverty. Montag is realizing that people in his country do not care about the rest of the world’s problems, as long as they are still better off. This is mostly because people in this society only know what the government wants them to know and believe. These people cannot simply read an article about the impoverished in the rest of the world.
Another device Bradbury uses throughout the novel are metaphors. Early in the book, the protagonist, Guy Montag meets a girl named Clarisse who makes Montag start to question his job of burning books. Later that night, Montag stops by Clarisse’s house
because she and her family are a rare family in that they still have conversations with one another. This intrigues Montag to a point where he just wants to go into their home and listen to a genuine conversation. However, Montag does not go in and instead stands outside their door, “...very cold, his face a mask of ice...” (15). Bradbury uses this metaphor describing Montag’s feelings to show that he has become cold and emotionless because he cannot communicate with anybody around him. Bradbury suggests that when humans do not communicate with one another, we become almost robotic. Another metaphor Bradbury uses is when Montag’s captain, Beatty is explaining the dangers of books. Beatty states that, “A book is a loaded gun...Who knows who might be the target of a well-read man?” (56). Bradbury uses this metaphor to directly compare knowledge that books can hold to ammunition in a gun. The more books that people read, the more bullets they have to fire back against ideas and propaganda the government is trying to enforce upon society. Bradbury wants to illustrate how powerful, like a gun, books can be. He also wants to show how fearful the government is of books because they give people much ability to think freely.
Lastly, Bradbury uses symbolism prominently in the novel. First off, there is the symbolism of the Mechanical Hound. The Hound...