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How is the setting of the RIVER significant to Fahrenheit 451?How does it impact the...

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lalagirl | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 23, 2010 at 8:37 AM via web

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How is the setting of the RIVER significant to Fahrenheit 451?

How does it impact the atmosphere,mood,tone,and how it aides the reader in becoming a part of Montags world? What are some good concrete details to go with this? Thank you!!!!

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sboeman | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted June 23, 2010 at 11:48 AM (Answer #1)

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In literature, movies, poetry, etc., water is often symbolic of rebirth, a new awakening, or similar to baptism -ever see The Shawshank Redemption, where Andy Dufresne, the main character, escapes prison through a sewage drain, then falls into a body of water, emerging as a reborn free man?

Bradbury also uses water as a symbol of rebirth in Fahrenheit 451.  In the novel, Clarisse accuses Montag of neglecting to really notice the world around him - he doesn't taste raindrops, doesn't know what happens when dandelions are rubbed on his skin, etc.  However, after his new awakening and subsequent escape via the river, he emerges on the other side and, voila!  He now notices these tiny details.  In the text he describes these through many sensory descriptions: "a dry river smelling of hot cloves", "a billion leaves on the land; he waded in them..." and many more (Bradbury 144); in fact, he even states "...he was filled up with all the details of the land.  He was not empty.  There was more than enough to fill him"; hence, he is reborn.  Even the fire "...meant a different thing to him" now (145).

The tone of the remainder of the novel takes a turn - there is less urgency and aggression now since he is no longer being hunted and he eventually meets Granger and his friends.  As far as aiding the reader in becoming a part of Montag's world, I think we are as curious as Montag is about Granger and his people as we are at this point: we learn, as Montag does, that there are still people out there who desire learning and abhor censorship.  We also learn about the plight of Montag's old city; in other words, the reader and Montag learn things at the same time.

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johncena123098 | Student, Grade 10 | eNoter

Posted January 16, 2012 at 4:25 AM (Answer #2)

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