Irony In Fahrenheit 451

What are some examples of irony in Fahrenheit 451?

some verbal, dramatic, situational irony in the book

Expert Answers
gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Verbal Irony: At the end of Part Two, Captain Beatty sarcastically inquires about Montag's physical condition and enthusiastically implies that Montag will enjoy going on the next call, which happens to be Montag's home. This is a clear example of verbal irony because Captain Beatty is not concerned about Montag's well-being, nor does he think Montag will enjoy destroying his own home. Captain Beatty says,

"Montag, you don't look well? I'd hate to think you were coming down with another fever...You'll be fine. This is a special case. Come on, jump for it!" (Bradbury, 52)

Dramatic Irony: A good example of dramatic irony takes place in Part One when Mildred overdoses on sleeping pills. Montag watches as an operator pumps his wife's stomach using a suctioning machine that resembles a snake. When Mildred wakes up in the morning, she wonders why she feels hungry and does not know that she had her stomach pumped. However, the audience is aware that Mildred had overdosed and had her stomach pumped the previous night, which makes this scene an example of dramatic irony.

Situational Irony: The entire novel is filled with examples of situational irony, which is when something happens that the audience does not expect, and the final outcome of an event or certain aspects of the novel do not meet the audience's expectations. From the beginning of the novel, Bradbury uses situational irony by depicting how firemen actually set books on fire instead of putting them out. Also, brutality is encouraged and intellectual thought is forbidden throughout the dystopian society's school system. In order to become a valued member of society, Montag must flee the city and join a traveling group of hobo intellectuals. Instead of being revered scholars, the intellectuals dress like homeless individuals in order to avoid the authorities, which is another example of situational irony.

schulzie eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The pages quoted are from my edition of the book which is ancient.  If you cannot find the exact quote in the book, you may need to look at the page ahead or behind it.

When Montag tries to communicate his distress over the burning of the old woman, Mildred replies “She’s nothing to me: she shouldn’t have had books.  It was her responsibility, she should’ve thought of that.  I hate her.  She’s got you going  and the next thing you know we’ll be out, no house, no job, nothing.”(pg  51.   Mildred is worrying about a dead old woman having this affect on Montag, and the fact of the matter is, she turns in the alarm on him.  She causes her life to have no house, no job, nothing by doing what the government says, not by breaking the law.

Another example of irony is Captain Beatty’s speech to Montag . He tells Montag

“Who knows who might be the target of a well-read man? Me? I won’t stomach them for a minute.”  Pg 58.  

 The fact of the matter is, Montag is the target of a well-read man, Beatty.   When Montag returns to the firehouse, Beatty quotes John Donne, Sir Philip Sydney ,and  Alexander Pope.  He tells Montag of a dream he had where Montag quoted Dr. Johnson. He continues to taunt Montag with quotes from many different areas.  Pg 107.  When Montag is about to set him on fire, he spouts Shakespeare.  The man was well-read.