AP Critical Essay on Ray Bradbury

Essay by ebonicana1High School, 11th gradeA+, June 2007

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Ray Bradbury is a widely-celebrated American author, and he easily earns praise from many critics. One such critic, Kingsley Amis, offers Bradbury credit because he appreciates his concrete style of writing. Amis believes that Bradbury’s solid symbols define his writing, but that is arguable. Bradbury’s reflective narratives, especially in Fahrenheit 451, are his greatest triumph. The author’s ability to capture a very human but true narrative is his most impressive asset.

Amis applauds Fahrenheit 451’s “conciseness and objectivity.” He describes the novel as a “fast and scaring narrative” that does not waste its time on trivial details. Bradbury, according to Amis, uses key symbols in his novel. For example, Bradbury’s most recognizable symbol is fire, which represents society’s fascination with destruction of any idea that is uncomfortable. “Fire is bright and fire is clean,” according to Bradbury’s vision of a declining cultural society (60). In fact, “the world was full of burning” (141).

Such powerful metaphors as this are simplistic descriptions of Bradbury’s main point. However, his symbolism is not the only wonder.

Bradbury’s greatest victory in Fahrenheit 451 is his introspective narrations. The author incorporates elaborately imagined detail through, paradoxically, plain but heartfelt language. This marks Bradbury’s signature style. Bradbury has the ability to understand the strange process of though and realization. Montag, specifically, can hear better when he is not in conversation. For example, in one case, as Montag was “lying there it seemed that he saw every single grain of dust and every blade of grass and that he heard every cry and shout and whisper going up in the world now. Silence fell down in the sifting dust, and all the leisure they might need to look around, to gather the reality of this day into their sense” (161). Bradbury’s most powerful voice of narration...