In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, why does the author depict the total destruction of the city at the end of the book?

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samson98 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451, author Ray Bradbury depicts the total destruction of the city to suggest that hopefully humanity will rise, like a phoenix, from the ashes and not make the same mistakes it did in the past. This is most evident through the words of Granger, who--after the destruction of the city--looks into the fire and simply says "Phoenix." Someone questions him, and he elaborates on the thought:

There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ, every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned himself up. He must have been first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again.

Granger then compares the plight of the phoenix to that of humanity.

And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we'll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping in the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation.

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Fahrenheit 451

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