What is the significance of the quote the woman recites when the men arrive to burn her house  in Fahrenheit 451?

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jmj616 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted on

When Montag and his team of fireman arrive at a woman's house to burn it, she greets him with a quotation: "Master Ridley, we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.

The quotation is from Hugh Latimer, who lived from 1487-1555.  Latimer was an English clergyman who developed religious ideas that were considered heretical by the Church of England establishment under the leadership of Queen Mary.

In 1555, Latimer was sentenced to death, together with a colleague named Nicholas Ridley.  Just before being killed, Latimer addressed Ridley and uttered the words quoted above.  He seems to have meant that his sacrifice for his ideals will eventually help those ideas to become accepted.

This would also seem to be the intent of the woman in Fahrenheit 451.  By burning herself together with her books, the woman hopes to demonstrate and publicize her resistance to the firemen.


boedym's profile pic

boedym | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Yes as the other post said, that is the reference. The line implies it is said by a martyr, but also in this particular case, both "sayers" were 'burned" at the stake, so to speak.

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