What are some similarities between Dalmatians and the mechanical hounds in Fahrenheit 451?

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hmassman eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Great question! In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the similarities between Dalmatians and the mechanical hounds appear quite significant. Here are a few significant similarities to help you get started!

First, one of the most significant similarities is the use of Dalmatians and mechanical hounds by firefighters. In North American culture, Dalmatians are commonly associated with aiding firemen. In the book, this same purpose is served by mechanical hounds.

Subsequently, the skills of Dalmatians and the mechanical hounds appear quite similar. Dalmatians are commonly known for their keen sense of smell and their ability to track humans. Similarly, the mechanical hounds also have a keen sense of smell and ability to track. As the text shows:

“Mechanical Hound never fails. Never since its first use in tracking quarry has this incredible invention made a mistake.” 

Not only does the mechanical hound posses similar skills and serve a similar purpose, but the mechanical hound is also treated similarly to a Dalmatian. For example, the mechanical hound sleeps in a kennel, is played with by the firemen, and is even touched and talked to by Montag. As the text illustrates:

“The Hound half rose in its kennel and looked at him with green-blue neon light flickering in its suddenly activated eye-bulbs.”

Thus, there are multiple similarities between the mechanical hound and Dalmatians. The author might have utilized this comparison for several different reasons. Regardless, it creates a great comparison in the readers’ minds.