In Fahrenheit 451, what is an example of syntax and diction?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Fahrenheit 451 is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury.

Syntax and diction are very important in writing; syntax is the structure of a sentence, while diction is the deliberate use of words and synonyms. Ray Bradbury, as a classic author of sci-fi and fantasy, used words and sentence structure in very specific ways. In Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury used many grammatical devices to evoke important themes, such as isolation and dehumanization. When Montag's wife Mildrid attempts suicide, two men arrive to pump her stomach and change her blood. Montag is struck by their casual attitude.

And the men with the cigarettes in their straight-lined mouths, the men with the eyes of puff-adders, took up their load of machine and tube, their case of liquid melancholy and the slow dark sludge of nameless stuff, and strolled out the door.
(Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451)

For syntax, Bradbury uses a type of sentence called "run-on." The sentence is broken by commas, but with no other dividing punctuation. The sentence is breathless, not impersonal, and so draws the reader in with a presumed familiarity.

For diction, the use of non-medical terms acts to create an emotional distance between the patient and the treatment. Mildrid's blood is "liquid melancholy," not the stuff of life but instead of misery and isolation. Her stomach contents are a "slow dark sludge of nameless stuff" instead of simply poisoned material. The operators consider this a simple procedure, not even needing medical expertise, but Bradbury's writing creates the sense that even if the procedure is successful, the patient is still isolated from humanity, without ambition or purpose.

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