What is the significance of the phrase the woman, who is turned in for having books, quotes before she is burned alive in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?

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kathik eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury, when the firemen go to burn down a woman's house because she has been hiding books, the woman 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."

This quote is an allusion to Hugh Latimer, a bishop from England. He and his friend, Nicholas Ridley, were about to be burned at the stake as heretics because they dared to teach their Protestant religious beliefs with which the Queen (known as Bloody Mary) did not agree.  By their deaths, they became martyrs. Latimer said the famous words that the woman whose house was about to burn in Fahrenheit 451, quoted before he and Ridley burned. The woman in Fahrenheit refused to leave her house, and like Latimer and Ridley, she too, went up in smoke, lighting a candle that would "never be put out." They were each willing to die for their beliefs.

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Fahrenheit 451

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