In Fahrenheit 451,what do the "hands without arms" symbolize in the quote,"He saw many hands held to its warmth, hands without arms, hidden in darkness"?in my edition of the book, it is on page 145

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schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Montag has just escaped the Hound.  The river has transported him to a place unknown to him, and yet he feels as if Clarisse has walked there.  It is night, and it is dark.  He sees the flickering flames of a fire ahead. He draws closer to it and watches it from the cover of the trees. The fire he had known all of his life was the fire that destroyed.  At the beginning of the book, Montag thinks,

"It was a pleasure to burn.  It was such a pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed." (pg 3)

Now he sees this fire differently. 

"It was not burning, it was warming" (pg 145)

He saw hands held up to the fire to get warmth.  He couldn't see the arms the hands were attached to because the night was so dark.  The fire only illuminated the men's hands and  faces.

"He hadn't known fire could look this way.  He had never thought in his life that it could give as well as take.  Even its smell was different." (pg 146)

He sees fire as a positive, constructive thing that gives warmth and comfort, not a destructive thing that burns, blackens, takes lives, and changes everything.  This symbolizes the change in him, the fire within him has changed.

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Fahrenheit 451

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