Similes In Fahrenheit 451

Please provide five similes from part 2 ("The Sieve and the Sand") of Fahrenheit 451.

One simile from part 2 of Fahrenheit 451 is used to describe Mildred when Montag confronts her about his unwillingness to burn great literature:

"See what you're doing? You'll ruin us! Who's more important, me or that Bible?" She was beginning to shriek now, sitting there like a wax doll melting in its own heat.

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Bradbury is known as a lyrical writer, focused on creating mood through the use of literary devices. Similes are a device in which two seemingly unlike things are compared using the words like or as. Bradbury uses this device frequently in his novel. In the following sentence, for example, he uses not one but two similes:

The men ran like cripples in their clumsy boots, as quietly as spiders.

This describes the firemen as they quickly respond to a fire alarm. Montag does not know at this point that it is his own house that they are heading to. While we would not use the term "cripples" today, it was acceptable in the early 1950s to describe disabled people. The first simile describes the awkwardness of running in fire boots, while "quietly as spiders" describes how silent the men are. Both are negative images, showing how the perception of firemen has changed since the beginning of the book.

Three other examples of similes are the following:

First, the narrator describes the firemen racing by car to respond to the call as "like the food in the stomach of a giant." They are jerking and jolting around as the car moves very quickly. This simile suggests that they have been swallowed by something bigger and unpleasant that controls them.

Second, after listening to Beatty talk, we are told that "Montag sat like a carved white stone," meaning that he is not responding to Beatty's goading.

Finally, showing that he feels guilty about owning books Montag reveals his nervousness while in the firehouse:

His fingers were like ferrets that had done some evil and now never rested.

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When Montag shows his wife a copy of the Bible, she panics and tells him that he must give the book to Captain Beatty. When Montag attempts to get Mildred to see the value of the Bible and literature by authors such as Thoreau and Jefferson, she is filled with terror:

"See what you're doing? You'll ruin us! Who's more important, me or that Bible?" She was beginning to shriek now, sitting there like a wax doll melting in its own heat.

This simile demonstrates the fragility of Mildred's character, who lacks the strength and resolve of her husband. The use of fire and heat in this simile is especially meaningful, considering that Montag is being asked to burn all great pieces of literature.

Later, Montag takes a train to meet Faber. The atmosphere is tense as he journeys to him, and his lungs scream with the effort of moving air. He barely exits the train in time and then listens as it continues on without him:

A voice drifted after him, "Denham's Denham's Denham's," the train hissed like a snake. The train vanished in its hole.

The train is a manmade object, and it is characterized with a particularly evil persona using this simile. This also helps to increase the mounting tension as Montag approaches Faber.

Faber reminds Montag of the way people willingly gave up literature and other forms of printed material. No one had to force it from their hands:

I remember the newspapers dying like huge moths. No one wanted them back. No one missed them. And the Government, seeing how advantageous it was to have people reading only about passionate lips and the fist in the stomach, circled the situation with your fire-eaters.

In the beginning, people simply didn't care about reading things like the newspaper anymore. They are equated to moths, which circle around in the night looking for light but which most people fail to even notice. Likewise, newspapers were simply ignored until they faded from existence, which gave their government the means and motive to begin burning other forms of printed material.

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In the second part of Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, many similes that can be found. Bradbury is a master at writing different types of figures of speech and "The Sieve and the Sand" has proof of that. One simile can be found when Montag remembers Captain Beatty talking about what burning pages of a book resembles:

"Delicately, like the petals of a flower. Light the first page, light the second page. Each becomes a black butterfly" (76).

The above simile compares a book's pages to the petals of a flower, which suggests how fragile and delicate they are when placed under a flame.

The next example of a simile is found when Montag rides the subway to Faber's house. He remembers the night when he stumbles upon his wife's pill bottle as follows:

"The night I kicked the pill bottle in the dark, like kicking a buried mine" (77).

The image created with this simile links the empty pill bottle to a land mine, because after kicking it, he finds his wife on the bed in a drug-induced coma. For him, finding his wife in such a state of emergency is as shocking as finding a bomb.

Then, when Faber discusses how society's interest in education and literacy declines, he compares it as follows:

"How like a beautiful statue of ice it was, melting in the sun" (89).

Education and/or literacy are likened to a statue of ice that slowly melts away from society. It is an interesting image as one can imagine the sculpture slowly dripping out of existence.

After Montag speaks with Faber, he goes home for the evening. His wife's friends come over while he is eating his dinner and he observes them as they enter his home as follows:

"They were like a monstrous crystal chandelier tinkling in a thousand chimes" (93).

The women's voices are compared to one big chandelier whose different pieces of crystal sound off at once to create a high-pitched noise, like chimes. 

Finally, Mrs. Phelps uses a simile when she compares how easy it is to rear children in front of televisions:

"It's like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid" (96).

Mrs. Phelps believes that all one needs to do to parent children is to plop them in front of the television and leave them alone. 

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