In "Fahrenheit 451", what major event coincides with Montag's escape and in what ways are the two related?

Expert Answers
Lynn Ramsson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag is able to make his escape from the Hound and into the safe haven of the book people just before the jets start bombing the city. The two events are related in a couple of important ways.

Montag's escape and survival gives him an opportunity to be like Granger's phoenix himself. A phoenix emerges from the embers of a fire and lives on, stronger than ever, and Montag can reinvent his life in a similar way now that he has the know-how and the experience. Montag is able to think in this optimistic way because the city as it previously existed will soon be destroyed. Without the destruction of the city and Montag's previous way of life, there is no way for Montag to start over, like the phoenix.

The phoenix is an important symbol in the novel. It would not be able to work without the constant motif of fire that runs throughout the book. The drama of Montag's escape and his plan to go back to the city once it has been destroyed are heightened by Granger's explanation of the phoenix. As well, the phoenix makes the motif of fire understandable in a positive way that contrasts with all of the destructive elements of fire that run through the novel up until this point.

teacherscribe eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The major event is that the city is bombed and destroyed.  If you look back at the novel, you will see that Bradbury laces the novel with references to war and imagery of fighter jets screaming by.  This gives the reader the impression that war is imminent.  It also fulfills the idea that the society, so full of violence and ignorance in part because of a lack of books, is doomed and is destined to destroy itself.

Montag's escape is related to the war because now he - and the other book men - will have the chance to return to the city and help the society rise from the ashes, like a phoenix, which one of the book men references in an anecdote he tells.

Had the war not began, Montag would have had to stay exiled in the woods with the other book men. The stage, though, is now set for the men to return to the city and use the wisdom of literature to help start things over and, hopefully, learn from the mistakes that doomed the city in the first place.