Discuss the use of alliteration in the beginning of Fahrenheit 451.

The opening pages of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 are filled with alliteration like “blazing and burning,” “her dress was white and it whispered,” and “Monday burn Millay, Wednesday, Whitman, Friday, Faulkner.”

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Alliteration is the repetition of initial sounds. It is used for literary emphasis and richness. Alliteration simply sounds appealing, and it helps authors focus readers' attention on important elements. That's why Ray Bradbury uses quite a lot of alliteration at the beginning of his novel Fahrenheit 451. Let's look at some examples.

In the novel's very first paragraph, we read that Montag's hands were the “hands of some amazing conductor playing all the symphonies of blazing and burning to bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history.” Aside from being a creative metaphor, the quotation features some excellent b-alliteration. The same letter is used again a few paragraphs later when the man “hung up his black beetle-colored helmet.” The h also alliterates.

A couple paragraphs after this, Montag sees a girl. “Her dress was white and it whispered,” the narrator relates, using a w-alliteration that actually does whisper. As Montag speaks to the girl, he uses alliteration when describing his work: “Monday burn Millay, Wednesday, Whitman, Friday, Faulkner.” The girl, as she speaks, mentions “the man in the moon” with its m-alliteration. As Montag thinks about the girl, he reflects on the “incredible power of identification” she has and how she watched “each flick of a finger.” He does not understand her.

A while later, when Montag finds that his wife has overdosed on sleeping pills, he thinks about the machine that slides down into her stomach. “Did it drink of the darkness?” he wonders. Notice the d-alliteration here. After she is treated, Montag notices that his wife's lips are “fresh and full of color.” The alliteration continues as the novel progresses, giving readers a linguistic treat as they pursue a dark story.

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