How is the salamander an allusion in Bradbury's Farenheit 451?

Expert Answers info

booboosmoosh eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2003

write4,119 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

In Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the salamander is referred to continuously.

In "The Hearth and the Salamander," the book's first section, we are introduced to Guy Montag, a fireman—except that rather than putting out fires, in this society he is a fireman that starts them: burning books—and homes that hide the books.

The salamander is a symbol that Guy wears on his uniform; his fire truck is called a salamander. This is an allusion to the mythology once associated with salamanders. Many years ago, it was believed that salamanders lived within fire, were born of fire and (like Moses' "burning bush") would never be consumed by the flames.

The salamander is important to the story because of the prominent place fire holds in the novel. However, it is also important to Montag: for at the beginning, like the mythical salamander, he loves his job burning things.

It was a pleasure to burn.

It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.

As the story begins, Montag is superficially satisfied with his life. He burns houses, a true crusader for a government that does not want its population to...

(The entire section contains 603 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial