Steven Spielberg once said, “Technology can be our best friend, and technology can also be the biggest party pooper of our lives. It interrupts our ability to have a thought or a daydream, to imagine something wonderful, because we’re too busy bridging the walk from the cafeteria back to the office on the cell phone. ” Both Steven Spielberg and Ray Bradbury noticed the effect technology has on people in their worlds. Ray Bradbury wrote Fahrenheit 451 originally as a short story titled “The Fireman” and the Galaxy Science Fiction published it in 1950; he later expanded the story into a novel published in 1953 called Fahrenheit 451.
Fahrenheit 451, even though written in anticipation of the future, is applicable today because the advancement of technology shares similarities to that of the 21st century, which he illustrated by his choice to include a variety of literary techniques to help the reader grasp the novels true meaning. Ray Bradbury continuously uses symbolic devices to generate the changes in Montag’s character. Bradbury uses Montag’s hands to show his recently found conscience. “Montag stood there and waited for the next thing to happen. His hands, by themselves, like two men working together, began to rip the pages from the book.
The hands tore the flyleaf and then the first and then the second page. … Montag… let his hands continue” (Fahrenheit 451, 84). Even though Montag does not want to ruin the book, he understands that that Faber’s help is more important. Bradbury also uses Montag’s hands to show his struggle with doing what is right and what he has learned through his lifetime. Montag’s hand closed like a mouth, crushed the book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest. Montag had done nothing. His hand had done it all, his hand with a brain of its own, with a conscience and a curiosity in each trembling finger, had turned thief.
Now it plunged the book back under his arm, pressed it light to sweating armpit, rushed out empty… he gazed, shaken, at that white hand” (Fahrenheit 451, ___). Through the passage the reader can see Montag struggling with what his conscious feels and with what his brain has known his entire life. Bradbury used Montag’s hands to show that his character became one that fights for noble causes. The man helped, and Montag helped, and there, in the wilderness, the men all moved their hands, putting out the fire together” (Fahrenheit 451, 147).
The metaphor suggests that the fire represents book burning and the men are there to put a stop to it- fulfilling Montag’s character change to that of fighting for what he believes in. By using Montag’s hands as a symbolic devise the audience s sees the character change from brainwashed to a completely new person who stands up for what he believes in. Bradbury employs different methods of characterization in order to construct Montag and Clarisse as round characters. The most common form used is character self-evaluation and he uses it to create depth in personality. Bradbury’s favorite point of view in the chapters is that of the author as limited narratorlimited, that is, to the perceptions of one character. One advantage of the viewpoint is that it includes the character’s perceptions of himself.
Whether these self-evaluations are objective or not, they still give us important clues to the character’s nature, conflicts, weaknesses” (ELIBRARY 3). This suggests that through self-evaluation, the reader learns the most about what makes that character stand out. By utilizing the method of definition by other characters, Montag and Clarisse are characterized in a way that makes them realistic. What incredible power of identification the girl had; she was like the eager watcher of a marionette show, anticipating each flicker of an eyelid, each gesture of his hand, each flick of a ginger, the moment before it began” (Fahrenheit 451,9).
Montag’s description allows us to see Clarisse as a round character seeing as how she is shown as extremely realistic. The third method used is authorial description and this, in addition to the self-evaluation and definition by other characters, adds to the characters behaving in a real life manor. Montag’s face was entirely numb and featureless; he felt his head turn like a stone carving to the dark lace next door, set in its bright border of flowers” (Fahrenheit 451, 107). Guy and Clarisse are round characters because Bradbury shows both as acting in real life manors. Through analysis, the audience sees that Bradbury uses character self-evaluation, definition by other characters, and authorial description to develop Clarisse and Montag as round characters. Bradbury’s choice of diction amplifies the book’s sensory details by utilizing metaphors.
The use of the Phoenix as a metaphor show the rebirth of a new world. “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” (Fahrenheit 451, 156). By using the Phoenix, the readers understand that as humans they have the power to better themselves and the world; unlike the Phoenix who does not remember and will most likely perform similar mistakes.
By utilizing evocative comparisons the jence can understand better due to descriptive words. “Such an implicit comparison – called a metaphor – shocks us by forcing us to assimilate a similarity between dissimilars” (ELIBRARY, _). The metaphors allow readers to visualize two different features as similar and can gain a deeper understanding of the two. The event of trying to fill the sieve with sand allows the reader to visualize the struggle of trying to fill your life with meaningless things: it will not fill you up. “Fill this sieve and you’ll get a dime! 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” (Fahrenheit 451, 74). With the metaphor, the reader clearly understands that Montag thought that by filling his life would feel full. By using evocative comparisons like the Phoenix and the sieve and the sand, the readers are better able to visualize and understand the book better. Fahrenheit 451 utilizes paradox with the intention of revealing the fact that people are alive but not actually living.
The hound is seen as alive and yet it is actually not living. “It doesn’t like or dislike. It just ‘functions. ‘ It’s like a lesson in ballistics- It has a trajectory we decide on for it. It follows through – It targets itself, homes itself, and cuts off. It’s only copper wire, storage batteries, and electricity” (Fahrenheit 451, 24). The passage explains how much people do not care for things. The dog is a hunk of parts just as a body is a hunk of parts. Mildred claims she is happy and then overdoses on sleeping pills. “Hell! ‘ The operator’s cigarette moved on his lip.
We get these cases nine or ten a night! Got so many, starting a few years ago, we had the special machines built… you don’t need an M. D. case like this, all you need is two handymen, clean up the problem in half an hour. Look’ – he started for the door – We gotta go… Someone else just jumped off the cap of a pillbox” (Fahrenheit 451, 13). Through the example the reader can see the dynamic of people’s happiness. It shows that even though people are alive, they are not truly living. People marry out of convenience rather than love.
Anyway, Pete and I always said, no tears, nothing like that. It’s our third marriage each. We’re independent. Be independent, we always said. He said; if I get killed off, you just go right ahead and don’t cry, but get married again, but don’t think of me” (Fahrenheit 451, 91). The evidence shows just how disconnected people are to others. No feelings are shown towards anyone. Through each paradox like the hound, sleeping pills, and marriage, the book reveals how numb the characters are to each other and the world around them.
Bradbury integrates verisimilitude into the book to invoke an emotional response from the readers. The Readers connect emotionally to Mildred’s suicide. “‘You took all the pills in your bottle last night. ”Oh, I wouldn’t do that,’ she said, surprised. ‘The bottle was empty. ‘ ‘I wouldn’t do a thing like that. Why would do a thing like that? ” she said. “Maybe you took two pills and forgot and took two more, and forgot again and took two more, and were so dopey you kept right on until you had thirty or forty of them in you” (Fahrenheit 451, 17).
The verisimilitude prompts readers gain an emotional connection due to Mildred not realizing how numb she is to the world. Bradbury informs us of what is so special about books in the first place. “There is nothing magical in them, at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us” (Fahrenheit 451, 79). The passage allows us to connect to the fact that the physical book is not what is important. The words hat show us how the world was, is, and should be are where the magic is.
There are three details missing in everyone’s life now-a-days that they can find in books. “Number one, as I said, quality of information. Number two: leisure to digest it. And number three: the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two” (Fahrenheit 451, 81). The example tells the reader how they can evolve as people. It shows them why they should care. With each of the three emotional responses achieved through each example, the reader is encouraged to connect with the book.