Why do all of the firemen in Fahrenheit 451 look alike?

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In part one, Montag is at the firehouse waiting for the next alarm when he notices that the faces of the firemen playing cards are exactly alike. Each fireman has soot-covered eyebrows and is sunburnt around their cheekbones from standing in close proximity to thousands of fires. Montag also notices that the firemen playing cards have a feverish look in their eyes as they stare into their platinum igniter flames whenever they light their pipes. The firemen have charcoal hair and ash-smeared cheeks as well. Each fireman shares the same characteristic grin, which is cold and never goes away. Montag then thinks to himself,

Had he ever seen a fireman that didn't have black hair, black brows, a fiery face, and a blue-steel shaved but unshaved look? These men were all mirror-images of himself! (Bradbury, 15).

The fact that each fireman is indistinguishable from the next corresponds to Bradbury's theme of conformity and the absence of individuality. Every fireman conforms to society's expectations, and their filthy, intense appearance corresponds to their occupation. On a literal level, each fireman has charcoal hair and a steel face from working next to flames each day. Figuratively, each fireman thinks the same and subscribes to the dystopian society's oppressive social norms. After meeting Clarisse, Montag begins to analyze himself and realizes that he looks and behaves like every other fireman, which motivates him to alter the trajectory of his life.

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In Part One, while he is playing cards at the firehouse, Montag looks around and notices that he and all the other fireman look exactly the same:

Had he ever seen a fireman that didn't have black hair, black brows, a fiery face, and a blue-steel shaved but unshaved look? These men were all mirror-images of himself! 

Montag wonders if the fireman are deliberately chosen because they share the same physical attributes.  Specifically, he wonders if the state has intended to create a league of firemen who are carbon copies of each other:

Were all firemen picked then for their looks as well as their proclivities?

By doing this, the state has created an army of men who not only look alike but also share the same purpose. They are, therefore, united in both their physical form and their intent. As such, the individual firemen have merged into one single identity; a living embodiment of the fight against book-reading.

For Montag, this realization emerges as he begins to question his own identity and starts to ask more profound questions, like whether or not he is really happy. The fact that he has finally noticed that all firemen look the same suggests that he no longer feels connected to the others. He has realized that he wants to regain his independence, to take charge of his own identity and his own destiny.

It was perhaps intended that fireman would look the same to keep them united but, in an ironic twist, it is this attribute which contributes to Montag's desire to rebel. 

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In the book Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, Montag notices that all of the firemen look similar. Although there are several possible explanations for this, one factor was the effects of the firefighters' work. As the book reveals:

“Montag looked at these men whose faces were sunburnt by a thousand real and ten thousand imaginary fires, whose work flushed their cheeks and fevered their eyes.”

And…

“They and their charcoal hair and soot-colored brows and bluish-ash-smeared cheeks where they had shaven close; but their heritage showed.”

Thus, as Montag’s thoughts reveal, the firemen were impacted by their occupation. As a result of causing numerous fires, their physical appearance was altered by their career, such as their skin becoming burnt.

However, as some scholars illustrate, it is interesting to note that perhaps society also encouraged the firemen to all appear the same and not differentiate from one another. Due to this book’s emphasis on the loss of individual identity, it seems quite plausible that the society also impacted the firefighters' physical appearance as well.

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