Symbolism in "Fahrenheit 451" by Ray Bradbury

Essay by cookidHigh School, 11th gradeB+, February 2007

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Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 depicts the struggle of a fireman in a world of equality through censorship. Guy Montag's troubled character is conflicted with feelings of conformity and a longing to find the truth. People often fall into the trap of disillusionment, digging themselves into a hole much too large to handle. Trapped in his own ignorance his whole life, Guy Montag bound by his duty as a fireman finally is disgusted with being content and feels the need to escape. Ray Bradbury's message is that disillusionment is a good thing when it encourages escape from undesirable conditions.

Disillusionment in Montag's life is caused by government control of consequences; in Fahrenheit 451 Bradbury is able to convey that ignorance and disillusionment go hand and hand. The book makes reference to the phoenix, it is known to be a mythical multi-colored bird of Arabia, with a long history of artistic and literary symbolism, the Phoenix is one of a kind.

At the end of its five-hundred-year existence, it perches on its nest of spices and sings until sunlight ignites the masses. After the body is consumed in flames, a worm emerges and develops into the next phoenix. The phoenix, like the people that dwell within the city can not preempt their mistakes they make in society due to their ignorance. At the time Montag was talking to Clarisse he self consciously states that "[h]e wore his happiness like a mask . . ." (26; pt.1). Finally aware of his own discomfort Montag avoids confrontation only furthering his disillusionment of his diseased world. Montag understands that he has been unhappy all his life and now is trying to cope with his unhappiness. At this time Montag perceives that he's not only unhappy with his life but he is unhappy...