Fahrenheit 451 Essay

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In the novel Fahrenheit 451 fire represents warmth, destruction and renewal. The main character of the novel, Guy Montag, lives in a futuristic setting of the United States where books are illegal and people only look for entertainment in their television. Montag’s job is a fireman and he is required to burn books and the homes of other citizens that own books. Guy’s understanding of fire at the beginning of the book is destruction and devastation, but towards the end of the novel it is changed to a symbol of warmth and renewal. Montag enjoys burning the books and just fire in general until his perspective is changed by an old women and Faber. “It was a pleasure to burn. It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.” (3) Montag thought of fire as a symbol of destruction and he thought of fire as a good thing. He considered fire to be the solution to the problems of the world, but instead all it did was destroy people’s houses, books, and the city. After Guy saw an elderly lady burn herself and her books in her own home he became disgusted with fire and he even puked when he smelt kerosene. Montag eventually quits his job and shows up to professor Faber for help. Faber explains to him that it’s not the books themselves that can bring peace, but instead it’s the meaning that the books carry. Once Montag realizes that burning books was wrong Faber’s message to him made him change his lifestyle. Montag changes his view of fire as entertainment and destruction to cleansing and renewal when an alarm brings the firemen to his own home. Montag wanted to change his entire house so he wasn’t against burning it. He wanted to get rid of everything about his old life and all the memories of it so he could start a new one. “Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.” (60) Beatty talking to Montag about how fire could be

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