In Fahrenheit 451, Faber says, "I'm the Queen Bee, safe in the hive. You will be the drone, the travelling ear." What type of literary device is this, and what does he mean?

In Fahrenheit 451, Faber's quote "I'm the Queen Bee, safe in my hive. You will be the drone, the travelling ear" is an example of metaphor. Faber compares himself to the queen bee of a hive, indicating a sense of self-importance. He compares Montag, by contrast, to a drone honey bee, which is a more common worker bee and much easier to replace.

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In the science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the literary device Faber uses when comparing himself to a queen bee and Montag to a drone is a metaphor. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a metaphor is

a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in the place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.

In this case, the relationship of a queen bee and a drone is symbolic of the relationship between Faber and Montag. It is not a precise metaphor, because it is worker bees, not drones, that fly outside the hive and gather nectar and pollen. However, Bradbury most likely intended a double meaning for the word drone: it is not only a type of bee that serves the queen, but also a type of surveillance device capable of gathering information. At the time this novel was written, rudimentary drones were already in use by the military.

Faber has just confessed his cowardice to Montag and explained his need to stay safely behind walls, hidden from sight. Just as the queen bee stays safely within the hive and other bees go outside to do the work, Faber will remain at his home and gather the information that Montag, and hopefully others, will supply him by means of the tiny radios inserted in their ears. Faber tells Montag,

If the drones die, I'm still safe at home, tending my fright with a maximum of comfort and a minimum of chance.

However, Montag does not see Faber's cowardice as betrayal. Instead, he says, "We all do what we do." In having Montag say this, Bradbury is continuing the metaphor of bees in a hive. Each person in the resistance has a role to play, and not all of these roles will be the same, just as Faber has a different task to perform than Montag.

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When Faber says he is the "Queen Bee, safe in the hive," he is using not one, but two metaphors. He means, first, that he will be buzzing advice into Montag's ear like a bee, but from the safety of his hive. The hive is thus the second metaphor, as he compares his home to a hive. Like a queen, he will be directing operations by talking into Montag's ear through the listening device he has devised. He compares Montag to a drone, a worker bee, because Montag will be the one out doing all the legwork. A darker implication might be that because Montag is taking all the risks, he might end up dead.

Calling Montag "the traveling ear" is an example of metonymy, a literary device in which a part stands for the whole. The most common example of this is calling a king "the crown," an example in which the item most identified with a ruler, his crown, is used to mean all of him. Montag's ear stands out to Faber as Montag's most important characteristic in this situation, so Faber uses it to mean all of Montag.

Faber, a former college professor, has a way with words, as we can see in this lively quote. In essence, he is communicating that because of the listening device, he and Montag will be closely connected and working together.

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Faber has convinced himself that he is too weak to try to change the society that he and Montag find themselves in great conflict with. Faber tells Montag that he has spent his free hours "fiddling with electronics" in the hope that he could design a device that a revolutionary effort might one day need. Though he says that he cannot be on the front lines himself, he has imagined being part of the action through this little device he has invented, a two-way radio that hides inside a person's ear.

He gives the device to Montag and tells him, "I'm the Queen Bee, safe in the hive. You will be the drone, the travelling ear." There are two metaphors here. Montag compares himself to the queen bee of a hive and compares Montag to a drone honey bee. While Faber may consider himself a coward, this metaphor conveys a definite sense of self-importance. The queen bee is central to a hive; her colony organizes itself around her needs in order to continue its own survival. In contrast, a drone bee exists to serve the queen and is much more easily replaced.

This metaphor indicates that Faber considers his intellectual capabilities crucial to the success of Montag's plans. Montag may be on the front lines of the battle, but Faber believes that his role is even more important, even if he does find it a cowardly position.

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"I'm the queen bee, safe in my hive. You will be the drone, the travelling ear" (90).

Faber says the above quote after giving his friend Montag a two-way listening device that he calls a "green bullet." The bullet is placed into the ear canal so no one can see it. Through it, Faber and Montag can speak and listen to each other inconspicuously. Faber declares himself a coward who will stay home and help Montag carry out their plans to sabotage the firemen. The plan is to plant books in firemen's houses so they will be reported and their own houses will be burned to the ground. Faber only wants to stay home and encourage Montag in his efforts, so he uses a metaphor when he says, "I'm the queen bee." This is a metaphor because he compares two unlike things in the same phrase and reference. However, once Faber says, "safe in my hive. You will be the drone," he is making an analogy. An analogy is an extended metaphor. Faber is showing that not only is he going to be a director of the plans like a queen bee, but he is also going to stay in the hive. Then, Montag is applied to the analogy by being compared to a worker bee, or drone, who goes about executing the orders of the queen.

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This is a metaphor, as Professor Faber suggests that he is a Queen Bee and that Montag will be safe as a member of his hive.  He uses this as well because he has found a way to listen in to the events surrounding Montag by using the earpiece and the receiver he has in his home.  And he can send Montag out on the various missions but Faber will do the thinking and the planning, Montag can simply go out and do the things he asks him to do without worrying about the details or the consequences or what will come next.

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