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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fahrenheit 451: More Religion

The whole thing about fire can also be related to the Bible in very many ways. Fire has many meanings in Christianity, and it comes up in the stories of the Bible many times. There is the pagan burn in which the golden calf was made, and then there is also Moses' burning bush. Fire represents both heresy and the presence of a divine presence. This divine character should be strong and all-encompassing. Fire in Fahrneheit 451 also has multiple meanings that potentially turn over themselves. In the beginning, fire is the symbol of a smothered society, in which the public is blocked from the truth and many distractions clog the brains of the masses from seeing and thinking clearly and sanely. As it is, the people do not even know why they are not allowed to read books, or possess books, or even see books. However, as the novel progresses, Montag is able to turn the fire around on his oppressors, like Captain Beatty, and use it against them, unfortunately in ways to harm them. By ridding himself of the pressure society puts on him, he is able to win his freedom from the stranglehold of the police and his job. Finally, Bradbury uses language and imagery directly from the Bible to end the novel. In the last pages, as Montag and Granger's group walk up the river to find survivors after the bombing of the city, Montag desperately tries to remember passages from the Bible that would be appropriate for the situation they are in. He thinks of Ecclesiastes 3:1 that reads, "To everything there is a season," and he also thinks of Revelations 22:2, "And on either side of the river was there a tree of life, and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nation." This second verse also suggests of the holy city of Heaven. Finally, the last line of the novel suggests a strong symbolic connection between the atomic killings in Montag's world the Apocalypse in the Bible.

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