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Literary Devices in Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury employs various literary devices including symbolism, imagery, and metaphor. The symbol of fire represents both destruction and enlightenment. Imagery vividly describes the oppressive, dystopian world, while metaphors, such as the comparison of books to birds, emphasize the fragile and precious nature of knowledge.

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What are examples of literary devices in pages 113–136 of Fahrenheit 451?

Ray Bradbury's literary techniques describe what Montag is feeling, seeing, hearing, and doing.

Bradbury’s frequent use of simile, metaphor, and hyperbole brings to life Montag’s feelings. For instance, as he torches his house, Montag feels “great islands of perspiration drenching his armpits.” Indeed, such a great fire will cause extreme sweating, but comparing it to islands is an example of exaggeration to emphasize the excess heat. After the mechanical dog injects him with the needle, Montag’s leg feels “like a chunk of burnt pine log he was carrying along as a penance for some obscure sin.” Bradbury’s simile illustrates Montag’s lack of feeling in his leg; it is a dead weight that he must drag along as a burden which slows him down.

Later, the narrator describes the pains in Montag’s leg as “spikes,” “darning needles,” and “ordinary safety pins.” These metaphors indicate the level of pain he feels: at first, he is in extreme pain, then it gradually subsides in stages. Ultimately, Montag only feels “like someone [is] blowing a spray of scalding water on that leg.” As he attempts to run, Montag feels a “shotgun blast” in his leg; this description is both a metaphor and hyperbole designed to underscore the intensity of Montag’s pain. Each time his foot hits the ground, it brings on a fresh stab of pain, yet he must work through that pain to escape.

Bradbury uses imagery, personification, and onomatopoeia to describe what Montag is seeing and hearing. For example, the fire is described in great detail so that the reader experiences it along with the character:

The house fell down in red coals and black ash. It bedded itself down in sleepy pin-gray cinders and a smoke plume blew over it, rising and waving.

Bradbury personifies the flames, which knowingly consume the house and then brag about the action by waving in the sky. Meanwhile, the house is personified as giving in, going to sleep, as it is taken over by the flames. Bradbury creates a clear image of a structure crumbling in on itself in a ball of fire, smoke, and ash. What Montag hears is also clearly represented with onomatopoeia. For instance, the narrator describes the beetle’s “roaring” and “whining,” as well as the “whirring, clicking, [and] humming” of the Mechanical Hound. These sound devices compel the reader to experience the dread and fear that Montag experiences, as the sounds indicate the enemy’s approach.

Flashback and repetition bring the reader inside Montag’s thoughts. For instance, Montag thinks back to Beatty’s words as he struggles to process his action of killing Beatty in self-defense: “You always said, don’t face a problem, burn it.” Montag attempts to make sense of his action, but even though he feels he had no other choice, he is still horrified by the act of taking a life. Bradbury indicates Montag’s horror with repetition, which mirrors the scattered thought process of a person who has just committed a horrific act. Montag thinks,

You’re a fool, a damn fool, an awful fool, an idiot, an awful idiot, a damn idiot, and a fool, a damn fool.

His mind is spinning, and he struggles to process while knowing he must find a way to escape to save himself. Later, Montag also runs through past events in his life as he tries to make sense of the mess that his life has become.

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What are five literary devices used in Fahrenheit 451?

My best advice is to start with a couple that are really big (therefore easy) and move to a couple that are a little more obscure (hard to find).

Every book has a conflict (usually more than one).  Conflicts can be internal or external.  Consider in Fahrenheit 451 that one major external conflict (the idea of banning/burning books) leads to internal and more external conflicts for several characters.

Another literary element that would be pretty easy to write about with this novel is symbolism.  The most prominent symbol of course, is fire, but in this novel it comes to have many different but complimentary meanings.  Fire is typically a negative image - death, destruction, fire of hell, etc. - but think about with this book the way there can be a rebirth of ideas after the fire.  Like with anything else, revolutions often require death and destruction along the way.  With this novel, consider "revolution" on a more personal scale.

Finally, a couple of the smaller but certainly no less important literary elements are things like figurative language and imagery.  Figurative language includes any similes, metaphors, or uses of personification found in the book.  Sometimes authors do this to make small points, other times for bigger points.  Either way, if you can find a couple of examples that revolve around a common subject - it would be best.  Imagery of course, is description that appeals to the five senses.  Again, Fahrenheit 451 is full of imagery - consider the descriptions of the sound, smell and feeling of fire.

The best way to tie literary elements together in one essay is to write about how different elements are used to create a tone (which you said you've identified) or a theme.  Hopefully this has helped you get started.  I'll post a few links below that might also assist you.

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What structural and literary devices are in pages 71-101 of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Please note: The page numbers provided refer to the 1996 Del Rey/Ballantine edition, in which part 2 begins on page 71.

Ray Bradbury uses flashback for Montag’s memory of first meeting Professor Faber (p. 74). “[H]e found himself thinking of the green park a year ago….” Another instance is Montag’s memory of a visit to a church, where the images of saints were displayed (p. 95).

The author frequently uses metaphors. Montag tells Millie about the hospital breathing apparatus that restored her after her overdose, calling it a “snake” (p. 73). Referring to his difficulty in understanding the books’ meaning, he calls the content “mud” (p. 74).

Simile is also employed. One simile appears on page 73: “the parlor… was as dead and gray as the waters of an ocean….” While playing cards with Captain Beatty, Montag thinks of his fingers as animals (p. 105): “His fingers were like ferrets that had done some evil and now never rested, always stirred and picked and hid in pockets….”

Imagery is used consistently throughout this part of the novel. One especially vivid passage occupies most of page 95, in Montag’s flashback about the church visit. He recalls the visual qualities of the saints depicted there, including their “blood-ruby lips,” as well as the smells of incense and dust.

The meaning of the section’s title is provided through symbolism as well as flashback and imagery. Montag recalls a childhood experience at the beach (p. 78). The futility of constant striving to no avail symbolizes his frustrated desire to learn by reading, a frustration he hopes to overcome.

Once as a child he had sat upon a yellow dune by the sea in the middle of the blue and hot summer day, trying to fill a sieve with sand…. And the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering. His hands were tired, the sand was boiling, the sieve was empty….

[T]he silly thought came to him, if you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve.

Allusion is frequently featured. For example, Montag reads from Matthew Arnold’s poem "Dover Beach" (pp. 99–100). In several pages of dialogue during their card game, Captain Beatty alludes to numerous authors and their texts, sometimes quoting or paraphrasing a line from a play by William Shakespeare, whom he calls “Willie” while quoting from The Tempest: “A kind of excellent dumb discourse, Willie!” (p. 107).

Hyperbole is featured on page 73. Referring to the planes he hears flying overhead, Montag exclaims, “‘How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives!’”

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What are some literary devices used in Fahrenheit 451?

I will give you a few from Part 1 of the novel to start you off and then you can go back to the book and see if you can find some more - this novel is fullof literary devices.

With this brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous keronsene upon the world...

This simile compares the hose to a great python, which is interesting as the hose is compared to a monster which is engaged in destruction. This simile therefore emphasises the horror of the burning that Montag is engaged in.

He strode in a swarm of fireflies.

This is another simile that compares the remnants of burnt books that are flying around to a swarm of fireflies, again linking the character of Montag with fire.

Her face, turned to him now, was fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light in it.

This metaphor used to describe Guy's first impressions of Clarisse. What is interesting is the attractiveness of Clarisse compared to Guy's wife and also how vulnerable it makes Clarisse appear.

As for imagery, any scene that is trying to evoke the 5 senses (and there are lots of them) can be used as an example. Hope this helps and good luck in finding some more examples

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What are some literary devices used in Fahrenheit 451?

There are so many versions of the book that a page number won't be helpful, but I was able to find plenty within the first few pages of part two, so look there for these descriptions. Bradbury uses figurative language techniques all throughout his novel, and in part two, there are many examples. As he and Mildred sit and read books, he uses a simile and metaphor (both are when you compare two things; similes use "like" or "as", whereas metaphors don't) to describe the parlor:

"He started at the parlor that was dead and gray as the waters of an ocean that might teem with life if they switched on the electric sun."

Here he compares the t.v. screens to a dead ocean, and the power switch to an electric sun. Right after this, he uses another simile to describe the jet bombers going overhead. He states that they are "whistling like an immense, invisible fan, circling in emptiness." He compares them to a fan that is just churning up emptiness, a symbol for the emptiness of their society. Later, when Montag goes back to the station briefly, Beatty describes the pages of books burning with a simile and metaphor:

"like the petals of a flower...each becomes a black butterfly...swarms of black moths that had died in a single storm."

The pages of the book are describes as flowers, moths, and butterflies, all of them dying; this is a great way to describe how books-beautiful, delicate, and powerful things-are destroyed by fire and their society.

I'll stop there, since the format of the website allows for one question per day. I hope that helped for similes and metaphors. For examples of imagery, look for any instance where Bradbury uses the 5 senses to describe things (sight, scent, sound, taste, touch), and for personifcation, try to find a description where he gives inanimate objects human-like traits.

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What are some literary devices used in Fahrenheit 451?

Well, the good news is there are plenty of examples in this novel. I will give you a few from Part 1 of the novel to start you off and then you can go back to the book and see if you can find some more - careful re-reading of this novel will help you find some more. You might just want to read Part 1 again and see the examples I have picked out in context and then carry on to find others.

With this brass nozzle in his fists, with this great python spitting its venomous keronsene upon the world...

This simile compares the hose to a great python, which is interesting as the hose is compared to a monster which is engaged in destruction. This simile therefore emphasises the horror of the burning that Montag is engaged in.

He strode in a swarm of fireflies.

This is another simile that compares the remnants of burnt books that are flying around to a swarm of fireflies, again linking the character of Montag with fire.

Her face, turned to him now, was fragile milk crystal with a soft and constant light in it.

This metaphor used to describe Guy's first impressions of Clarisse. What is interesting is the attractiveness of Clarisse compared to Guy's wife and also how vulnerable it makes Clarisse appear.

As for imagery, any scene that is trying to evoke the 5 senses (and there are lots of them) can be used as an example. Hope this helps and good luck in finding some more examples! This is great practice, so if you can read the text and pick out some literary terms by yourself you are doing really well.

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Which literary element or device shapes the theme of Fahrenheit 451?

Though many literary elements and devices are used throughout Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, two are most prevalent. Irony is used in the sense that the protagonist, Montag, is a fireman. One would normally expect that to mean his job is to put out fires; instead, he is tasked with starting them. In a sense, Bildungsroman (coming-of-age) is also employed throughout the story, though not in the traditional sense.

Before we get into the story, let us look at the definitions of the two literary devices listed above (provided here by the Ohio Department of Education and UC Berkeley):

Irony: "An irony of situation is when an event occurs that directly contradicts expectations."

Bildungsroman: "[T]racing the spiritual, moral, psychological, or social development and growth of the main character usually from childhood to maturity."

Very early in the story, Montag talks with a neighbor about his profession. This conversation gives a backstory for Montag, describing his role as a fireman and where he is currently at in his life. His neighbor, Clarisse McClellan, mirrors the reader in that she is ignorant as to what a fireman does (within the context of this story):

...then Clarisse McClellan said:
"Do you mind if I ask? How long've you worked at being a fireman?"
"Since I was twenty, ten years ago."
"Do you ever read any of the books you burn?"
He laughed. "That's against the law!"
"Oh. Of course."
"It's fine work. Monday burn Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn 'em to ashes, then burn the ashes. That's our official slogan."

These few lines act as a form of exposition, telling the reader a great deal about Montag's life in a relatively short amount of time. He is thirty years old and has worked as a fireman for the past ten years. This requires him to burn books, which are outlawed. Bradbury's use of alliteration in the last part of the quote helps showcase the monotonous routine of his work: Monday, he burns books; Wednesday, he burns books; Friday, he again burns books. The reader is also shown that Montag is at least aware of those three authors's names, though it is implied that he has not read any of them. This passage showcases the first use of irony in the story. In real life, firemen are tasked with putting out fires and saving people. Firemen in Fahrenheit 451, however, have the opposite job of starting fires, burning books, then "burn[ing] the ashes." This contradicts the reader's expectations of what constitutes a fireman.

In addition to irony, Bildungsroman is also used throughout the story—though admittedly, not in the traditional sense (i.e., "from childhood to maturity"). The previous passage clearly shows Montag is not a child. However, his discussion with Clarisse suggests that he missed out on the early inquisitive years that make up one's adolescence and help to form individuality. After meeting this new neighbor, Montag's mind awakens, and he begins his journey toward moral and psychological growth; he begins to read and collect books, questions the practice of burning books, and faces the figurative 'firing squad' for his newfound beliefs. He goes from ignorantly burning books because he is told to do so (much like a child told to clean his room, eat his vegetables, etc.), to forming his own beliefs about the importance of books and knowledge.

For further study on how Bildungsroman is shown throughout the story, you might investigate the specific ways in which Montag's lack of world/general knowledge early in the story mirrors that of a child. Then, you might compare that with his transformation later in the story to showcase his development and growth as a character.

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Which literary element or device shapes the theme of Fahrenheit 451?

The phoenix is a literary device that Bradbury uses to shape his theme of rebirth and renewal. It is one of the symbols of the firefighters because it represents rising up again from a fire. Montag, like the other firefighters, wears the "phoenix disc" on his chest to show he is impervious to the fires he helps to set. He was once proud of this symbol, just as he was once proud of his job.

But the phoenix has a wider meaning as a general symbol of renewal, change, and rebirth. The bird that can be reborn from the flames ironically changes for Montag from a symbol of book-burning to a symbol of his transformation into a person who wants to preserve books and the knowledge they contain.

At the end of the novel, Montag has joined an underground group living on the edges of society and working to save what he, as a firefighter, once sought to destroy. As Montag joins this renegade group, the phoenix comes to represent the message he is working to spread. As Granger says,

"There was a silly damn bird called a Phoenix back before Christ: every few hundred years he built a pyre and burned himself up. He must have been first cousin to Man. But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we're doing the same thing, over and over, but we've got one damn thing the Phoenix never had. We know the damn silly thing we just did. We know all the damn silly things we've done for a thousand years, and as long as we know that and always have it around where we can see it, some day we'll stop making the goddam funeral pyres and jumping into the middle of them. We pick up a few more people that remember, every generation."

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