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Figurative language is descriptive language that is not meant to be taken literally.
In Part II, Montague is still reeling from Clarisse’s death and the appearance of books in his life. The imagery is all dark and dismal, even as he tries to get his wife to appreciate the forbidden books he now has.
The first example of figurative language is in the beginning of Part II. Personification is used.
The parlour was dead and Mildred kept peering in at it with a blank expression as Montag paced the floor and came back and squatted down and read a page as many as ten times, aloud. (p. 32)
Personification is when something nonliving is referred to as living. In this case, the parlour is described as “dead” because there is an overwhelming fear of emptiness and greyness as this section begins. The comparison exemplifies Montague’s feelings of loneliness and isolation. He is beginning to be unhappy with his current society, and trying to find something real in books. His wife is not sharing his appreciation for them. She is annoyed because books are not people.
This figurative example is continued, and more are added, as the conversation goes on.
He stared at the parlour that was dead and grey as the waters of an ocean that might teem with life if they switched on the electronic sun. (p. 33)
The simile compares the parlour to the waters of an icean when the sun is gone. He talks about switching on an “electronic sun,” and this metaphor reinforces the alienation of technology. There is no sun in Montague’s soul either.
Montague’s frustration reaches a height when he compares their existence to a cave.
Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes! (p. 34)
This metaphor means nothing to Mildred, who does not realize that Montague feels trapped. He wants to feel alive, because no one on television talks about real things. The irony is that Mildred thinks the people on television are real because she can see and hear them, but they talk about nothing whereas the books cover real ideas and truths.
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