Similes In Fahrenheit 451

What are five similes (with page numbers) found in part 1 of Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury uses similes throughout his novel Fahrenheit 451 to communicate or emphasize qualities of people and things. For example, he compares Montag's false happiness to a mask, emphasizing that he is pretending to be something that he is not.

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A simile is a figure of speech in which two unlike things are compared using the words like or as. This is not to be confused with a metaphor, which also compares two unlike things but does so without the use of like or as. Similes and metaphors accomplish the same goals, but they differ in how they do so. For example, "His heart is like gold" compares someone's heart to gold with the use of the word like; therefore, it is an example of a simile. If the same comparison between a heart and gold is made without the use of like or as, it would be an example of a metaphor: "His heart is gold."

Similes are used often in Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451. Here are some examples of similes from the first part of the book, entitled "The Hearth and the Salamander":

Bradbury uses a simile to describe Clarisse's face: "She had a very thin face like the dial of a small clock" (12). He compares the girl's face to the dial of a clock. Soon after, he describes her using a simile again, this time comparing her face to a mirror: "How like a mirror, too, her face" (13). He compares her face to a mirror to communicate her face's ability to reflect the feelings and emotions of those who look upon it.

Bradbury uses a simile to describe Montag's facial expression:

He felt his smile slide away, melt, fold over, and down on itself like a tallow skin, like the stuff of a fantastic candle burning too long and now collapsing and now blown out (14).

He compares Montag's fading smile to the melting wax of a candle that has been left burning for too long. A simile is used again to describe Montag: "He wore his happiness like a mask..." (14). Montag's false happiness is compared to a mask, emphasizing that he is pretending to be something he is not.

Bradbury uses a simile to describe Montag's entry into his bedroom: "It was like coming into the cold marbled room of a mausoleum after the moon had set" (14). The bedroom is comparable to a mausoleum because of how cold, dark, and dreary it is and also because of the feelings of dread it evokes. Montag is filled with dread upon opening the door to his bedroom, as one would be upon entering a mausoleum.

Bradbury uses a simile to describe Mildred's appearance just before Montag discovers that she has overdosed: "Her face was like a snow-covered island upon which rain might fall" (16). Bradbury compares Mildred's face to a snowy island, illustrating how cold and distant she is.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 23, 2020
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A simile is a figure of speech that compares two different things.  Often the things are nothing alike at first glace, but the comparison helps bring to light characteristics of each that a person might not have noticed before.  

One side note, the page numbers that I will provide might not match up correctly with your book. There are a lot of different printed versions of the book, so there might be some discrepancy between my pages and your pages.  

Page 4: Montag is talking to Clarisse and she says the following: 

"Oh, just my mother and father and uncle sitting around, talking. It's like being a pedestrian, only rarer. My uncle was arrested another time-did I tell you?-for being a pedestrian. Oh, we're most peculiar."

Later on that same page, Montag describes her face.  He describes it as the following: 

She had a very thin face like the dial of a small clock seen faintly in a dark room in the middle of a night when you waken to see the time and see the clock telling you the hour and the minute and the second, with a white silence and a glowing, all certainty and knowing what it has to tell of the night passing swiftly on toward further darknesses but moving also toward a new sun.

Moments later, Montag describes her face with another simile. 

He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know that refracted your own light to you?

Then immediately following that thought, Bradbury uses a simile to describe Clarisse's demeanor. 

What incredible power of identification the girl had; she was like the eager watcher of a marionette show, anticipating each flicker of an eyelid, each gesture of his hand, each flick of a finger, the moment before it began.

Montag's thoughts about Clarisse stand in stark contrast to his thoughts about his wife on page five.  

His wife stretched on the bed, uncovered and cold, like a body displayed on the lid of a tomb, her eyes fixed to the ceiling by invisible threads of steel, immovable.

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Figurative language adds a deeper dimension to writers' descriptions and expressions of thought. Bradbury uses figurative language to effect. At times, his similes reflect the character who speaks. For instance, in Part II, Mrs. Bowles, a friend of Mildred, describes the advantages of having a soldier for a husband. She states that she has two children, but she "plunks" them into school nine days out of ten. Then, she says,

I put up with them when they come home three days a month...You heave them into the 'parlor' and turn the switch. It's like washingclothes; stuff laundry in and slam the lid." 

Also in this section of the novel, Montag, who has begun to steal books is at the fire station and the men are playing poker. Beatty has just tossed a book in the trash can.

In Beatty's sight, Montag felt the guilt of his hands. His fingers were like ferrets that had done some evil and now never rested, always stirred and picked and hid in pockets, moving from under Beatty's alcohol-flame stare.

As the men play cards, Beatty laughs and tells Montag to keep his hands above the table. As he speaks, he quotes Alexander Pope, revealing how well read he is,

'Words are like leaves and where they most abound,
Much fruit of sense beneath is rarely found.'

Montag is ill at ease at the table as Beatty talks.

Silence. Montag sat like a carved white stone.

Then, the firemen get a call. As they drive, Montag recalls when he tried to read to them.

How [much reading to them was] like trying to put out fires with water pistols, how senseless and insane. 

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Bradbury uses "extended similes".  They are longer and more involved.

pg 48: "The electric thimble moved like a praying mantis on the pillow, touched by her hand."

pg 37: "A book  lit, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering. "

pg 37: "Montag's hand closed like a mouth, crushed the book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest."

pg 31: "Montag, you shin that pole like a bird up a tree."

pg 10: " She had a  very thin face like the dial of a small clock seen faintly in the dark room in the middle of a night when you waken to see the time and see the clock telling you the hour and the minute and the second, with a white silence and a glowing, all certainty and knowing what it had to tell of the night passing swiftly on toward further darknesses, but moving als toward a new sun."

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