What is an example of euphemism in Fahrenheit 451?

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

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The most obvious example of euphemism in Fahrenheit 451 is the use of the word "fireman" to refer to a person who actively sets fires, instead of a person who tries to put them out. In today's society, such a person would be called an "arsonist," not a fireman, but the government in the novel has revised both history and language to use the word in a different manner. A firetruck now is a truck filled with kerosene, with flamethrowers, and the fireman's traditional rescue dog is now a Mechanical Hound, with eight legs and a poison needle in its nose to kill people who try to escape or fight the system. By changing the meanings of these long-standing words, the implication of "I called the fireman" takes on a very different meaning.


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