I have to explain at least two examples of Bradbury's figurative language used in an illustration that I have made from this quote from Fahrenheit 451: "It was a pleasure to burn . . . Montag...

I have to explain at least two examples of Bradbury's figurative language used in an illustration that I have made from this quote from Fahrenheit 451:

"It was a pleasure to burn . . . Montag grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame." 

I have to explain what the quote means and identify what types of figurative language are being used...

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amarang9 | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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In the first paragraph of the novel (the bulk of the quote between "It was a pleasure . . . driven back by flame"), Bradbury describes the kerosene hose to a "great python" and the kerosene is compared to venom. This would be considered a metaphor or an analogy. The quote/paragraph begins by stating that the fireman (Montag) took pleasure in burning and then goes on to describe the destructive nature of burning.

The metaphor/analogy describes the fireman's tools in terms of a snake, which can conjure images and associations with predators, especially with the comparison of the hose's/snake's fuel as venom. Not only does the kerosene help burn the house; it also is like (simile) venom in that it poisons things. The implications of this poison will become more clear as the novel progresses; the act of burning books is like a poison to society, making them a passive, thoughtless, nearly comatose group. The analogous comparison of the hose to the snake also contains a subtle allusion to the symbolism of snakes and serpents, particularly via the allusion to the Garden of Eden where the snake represents evil. 

So, in these first few sentences, Bradbury uses metaphor, analogy, and a possible interpretive allusion to snake symbolism and imagery with particular reference to the hose as predator, full of poison, and evil. This all helps to establish a violent, predatory, and destructive image of the fireman. 

The narrator continues to describe the pleasure with which the fireman burned things by metaphorically describing the fireman's actions like a conductor and the flames being his symphony: 

. . . and his 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. 

The fireman is, at this point, loving his work even though it is clearly destructive. Bradbury continues emphasizing the predatory nature of the fireman by metaphorically giving the books life, "while the flapping pigeon-winged books died on the porch and lawn of the house." 

The quote ends with the visage of Montag as he is pleased with his work. The metaphors, analogies, and allusions all help to establish the image of the confident, even happy, fireman and the destructive act of burning books. 

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