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What is an example of personification in Fahrenheit 451?

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couchpotato130 | Student, Grade 9 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:25 PM via web

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What is an example of personification in Fahrenheit 451?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 6, 2012 at 9:48 PM (Answer #1)

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Personification is the attribution of human or living elements to something inhuman or non-living. One good example comes in the first paragraph, when Montag is burning a house:

With the brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in his head...
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

The fire-hose, in this new world, sprays kerosene onto a fire, instead of water, and so the personification is of a dangerous snake spitting poison. The personification is not entirely accurate -- pythons do not have venom, but kill by constriction. However, the comparison works because a venomous snake is dangerous, just as the act of feeding a house fire. By applying a living metaphor to the fire-hose, it becomes less a tool used by Montag and more of a force in itself, a living thing that seems to destroy without reason.

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