Foreshadowing In Fahrenheit 451

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

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One excellent example of foreshadowing in Montag's introductory scenes comes just after he meets Clarisse for the first time. He seems entirely content in his work, happy to burn books and help the government keep the status quo; however, Montag's slide into individualism has already begun. As he enters his home, he has a moment of uneasiness:

Of course I'm happy. What does she think? I'm not? he asked the quiet rooms. He stood looking up at the ventilator grille in the hall and suddenly remembered that something lay hidden behind the grille, something that seemed to peer down at him now. He moved his eyes quickly away.
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451, Google Books)

It is discovered later that Montag has already stolen books and hidden them in his house; his innate curiosity is stronger than his cultural programming. This moment is quickly forgotten because of Mildred's apparent suicide attempt, but comes back in force when he continues to steal books from fires. Eventually, he publicly displays a book hidden in his vents, and reads to guests; it turns out that he has stolen dozens of books, possibly unconsciously at first, and hidden them in his ventilator shaft.


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