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In "Fahrenheit 451", why does Bradbury have Montag memorize the book of Ecclesiastes...

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johnnydeeplov... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 11, 2009 at 12:30 AM via web

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In "Fahrenheit 451", why does Bradbury have Montag memorize the book of Ecclesiastes and Revelation?

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pmiranda2857 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 11, 2009 at 3:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Montag has a very significant role in the new society, he carries the memories of these two important passages from the Bible he will be the new prophet, he has emerged from the darkness a changed man, he will spread the new message that he holds in his memory to more people, sharing the message of life after the days of destruction.  Montag takes on a symbolic representation as both a Jesus-like, prophet-like figure very important to the future of society.

The passage from Revelations talks about the tree of life, very significant to the circumstances that Montag, Granger and the other book people are experiencing.  It speaks of healing, Montag memorizes these important passages to help people to remember that they should never give up hope. If Montag is experiencing the end of the present world, the Bible reminds him and the others of God's promise and to keep the faith.  It reminds them to remember that after the darkness comes the light.

"Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever"

 

Bradbury introduces religious symbolism into the book by suggesting that the war that takes place as Montag and Granger and the other book people are walking is the fulfillment of the Book of Revelations coming of the apocolypse.  But it also represents hope for the future, both Revelations 22:2 and Ecclesiastes 3:1, speak of a future that is filled with newness and life.

"1There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: 2a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, 3a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, 4a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, 5a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain, 6a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, 7a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, 8a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace."

The above passage talks about how everything has a season, to allow the reader to understand that Montag's world will change, it will emerge from this darkness into a new season.  And also to make the reader understand, in the context of history, that things in life are cyclical, nothing lasts forever, but the earth and sky, all other things pass away, they come and go.

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