In Fahrenheit 451, what is the beetle? Please describe it as accurately as possible.

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missy575's profile pic

missy575 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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A beetle is a car in Fahrenheit 451. It is described as a vehicle that hovers over the ground and moves at intensely fast speeds. It is described as a specific car in the chapter entitled "Burning Bright", the car of the police:

The beetle was rushing. The beetle was roaring. The beetle raised its speed. The beetle was whining. The beetle was in high thunder. The beetle came skimming. The beetle came in a single whistling trajectory, fired from an invisible rifle. It was up to 120 m.p.h. It was up to 130 at least. Montag clamped his jaws. The heat of the racing headlights burnt his cheeks, it seemed, and jittered his eye-lids and flushed the sour sweat out all over his body.

This was occuring as Montag was being chased. The beetle moved so fast that noises accompanied its presence. The beetle was in pursuit of its prey and it was not about to give up.

Another important feature about the beetle is that it is the same type of car that sounds like it might have taken out Clarisse. The beetle seemed as if it could see anything even though it was traveling at fast speeds.

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gmuss25 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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As was mentioned in the previous post, a beetle is a type of car in Bradbury's dystopian society throughout the novel Fahrenheit 451. Although Bradbury does not describe the shape of the vehicle's body, one can surmise that the car is round and probably resembles a Volkswagen Beetle. The beetle does not hover over the ground and does, in fact, have four tires. In the dystopian society, people enjoy driving the beetles, which can reach speeds up to 130 mph. In a conversation with Montag, Mildred expresses the joy she feels while driving the beetle at night when she reaches speeds up to 95 mph. Beetles also come in a variety of colors. Bradbury writes that Beatty's beetle is a yellow that resembles the color of flames. Montag also notices two silver beetles at the gas station. Interestingly, the beetles emit a blue exhaust. Clarisse ends up dying after she is hit by a speeding beetle, and Montag narrowly avoids the same fate as he crosses a boulevard.

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