Fahrenheit 451 Questions and Answers
by Ray Bradbury

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What are some examples of allusions in the book Fahrenheit 451? Can you give me page numbers? Allusions are very hard for me to find, and I need them for an English assignment.

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Felicita Burton eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Please note: page numbers vary widely among editions so context is provided to aid your search.

The eNotes Guide to Literary Terms includes a definition of allusion along with several examples. One important feature to keep in mind is that allusion operates through the implicit associations it calls up. This distinguishes allusion from a direct, explicit reference. Allusions may include brief quotations, but are usually words or phrases that bring to mind an an event, person, place, thing, or idea—but without explicit mention of the source.

Around the middle of Section I, “The Hearth and the Salamander,” the firemen prepare to burn an elderly woman’s home, but she refuses to leave. In speaking of her books as containing totally contradictory ideas, Captain Beatty suggests they are multiple languages that are not mutually intelligible: “‘You’ve been locked up in here with a regular damned Tower of Babel.’” The tower is mentioned in the Bible, Genesis 11:1–9.

An allusion that is frequently used in everyday speech may become an idiom. An example spoken by Beatty occurs a few pages before the end of Section I, when he is railing against the excessive simplification of culture for popular consumption. He uses a water metaphor to compare the firemen’s efforts to stemming a “tide,” saying: “‘We have our fingers in the dike.’” This is an allusion to the story “Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates,” in which a Dutch boy saves his community by holding his finger in a hole in the dike so it will not break and flood them. It has entered general English-language usage as a metaphor for any valiant, but probably futile effort.

schulzie eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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An allusion is a casual reference to something that should be well-known by the reader.  It is generally meant to support an explanation, to give an example. An allusion can be about the Bible, history, mythology, or literature.  Bradbury uses all of these in his book. 

Some historical allusions are:

1. When the woman comes out of her house and says,

"Play the man, Master Ridley: we shall this day light such a candle by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out." (pg 36)

Later, on page 40, Beatty explains to Montag that those words  were spoken by a man named Latimer to Nicholas Ridley as they were being burnt alive at Oxford for heresy on October 16, 1555. The woman said it just before she ignited and killed herself in the flames.

2. Another historical allusion is 

"....when Mildred ran from the parlor like a native fleeing an eruption of...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 865 words.)

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