What does the line "he strode in a swarm of fireflies" mean?

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price7781 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Associate Educator

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In this excerpt, Bradbury is using a metaphor to compare the sparks and embers from burning books to fireflies.  Montag, a fireman whose duty is to burn books, is walking through the aftermath of a fire, and these embers are fluttering around him as if he is striding through a field full of lightening bugs.  Bradbury is an expert at using figures of speech like this to give his reader’s a visual picture of what is going on.  There are so many metaphors and similes of fire throughout the book, and this is just one of them.   Fire is used as a device in the novel to get across two opposite ideas.  Although fire destroys, it is also a symbol of light and knowledge.  In the scene where Montag is walking through the embers, he is really walking out of the dark and symbolically into the light and knowledge he later receives in the novel when he finds out that books need to be preserved and not destroyed.

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