What are some examples of connotation in Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury?
Connotation is defined as follows:
Suggestions and associations which surround a word as opposed to its bare, literal meaning.
Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 uses connotations masterfully, providing insight that goes beyond what is printed on paper.
In "The Hearth and the Salamander" section of the novel, Montag experiences an assault on his senses that comes from the full-length wall TVs.
A great thunderstorm of sound gushed from the walls. Music bombarded him at such an immense volume that his bones were almost shaken from their tendons; he felt his jaw vibrate, his eyes wobble in his head. . . .
The thunder faded. The music died. . . .
It was indeed remarkable. Something had happened.
Thunderstorms are literally enormous, earth-shaking events in nature. In this case, the thunder is not only used to describe the activity taking place on the screen, it also describes what is happening within Montag himself. While he mentions that something has happened on the TV when he feels "drowned in music and pure cacophony," the connotation is that something within Montag's world is beginning to shift, also in a gigantic way.
Ironically, the experiences shared on the TVs are meaningless and senseless, but the transformation to Montag's sense of self and his worldview will fuel his personal sense of rebellion. He will eventually be unable to resist in breaking with society's rhetoric and its expectations of its citizens.
Let us remember that connotation refers to the words, ideas and images that come to our mind when we look at a particular word. It is of course a key skill of authors and the kind of words they select and use deliberately to produce and create a particular impression or idea in our minds. One of the biggest examples of connotation in this novel is of course with the words "fire" and "burn." We automatically think of fire as being something destructive, cleansing and dangerous. Yet also the word "burn" has connotations of cleansing and purification.
We can see from the very first lines of this book how these connotations are linked to the theme when the narrator describes the "special pleasure" that Montag takes in seeing "things eaten, to see things blackened and changed." Fire has the ability to transform one thing into something completely different and to "bring down the tatters and charcoal ruins of history." Through this connotation, the strength of fire is something that is established.