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An Old Book That Continues to be Relatable Today

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As human beings, we change constantly throughout our lives. In elementary school, I had sworn off pink and only wore my hair in a ponytail. Now, I’m sitting in class with a pink shirt on, hair curled, and a full face of makeup. People change and develop their character constantly and in Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury understands that. He uses literary techniques to express the theme that no one is too far gone to begin thinking for themselves.

The very first part of the novel is titled “The Hearth and The Salamander” and I believe this carries significance. The title symbolizes Guy Montag is the center of the fire. The characterization here shows that Montag had the power to put out the fire, but he hasn’t realized his potential yet. The salamander symbolizes Montag’s brand as a firefighter. He wears the symbol on his arm to mark who he is and what he does. The salamander characterizes his conformity and shows that he has the desire to go with what everyone else was doing. Looking back, I notice a similar conformity trend in my own life. In junior high we all wanted to be cool and we’d do anything to get there. If one person bought white converse, within a week, everyone had the shoes. Everyone dressed alike, talked alike, and acted alike. If anyone tried to be different, like Clarisse, we shamed them. Lucky for us, just like Montag, we went through character development and we aren’t those people anymore.

The second part is titled “The Sieve and The Sand” and Montag discovers who he is in this section of the book. After watching a woman burn for her books, he knew he couldn’t continue doing  what he was doing. The character development starts with imagery of a woman burning filling Montag’s head. The author uses imagery here to show how life changing this event was for Montag. He begged the woman to leave with him, but she’d rather die with books than live in a world without them. He starts to wonder and question and read, and the phase that Montage goes through directly parallels with teenagers as well. Around freshman year, everyone begins to differentiate themselves. Popularity isn’t nearly as important as it once was and every student wants to be viewed as an individual. No longer do we want our clothes to match everyone just like Montage didn’t want his knowledge to match everyone.The realization of individualism came later for Montage but it becomes a turning point in the novel.

The final part of the novel is titled “Burning Bright” and the characterized by it’s pathos. Montage finally discovers who he is and his purpose in life. Once he escapes from the town, he finds the group of exiled men. Their plan to memorize books and eventually rewrite them gives Montag fulfillment and the purpose he yearned for. When Montag perfectly fit in, he wasn’t ever happy. Montag had to be an individualist in order to serve his perfect purpose. Now, instead of just some firefighter, Montag would help restore history, Montag will make a different. This phase in Montag’s life parallels with the emotional phase my class is in now, finding out who we are and what individual passions we have. Hopefully we all find a purpose that benefits the world just like Montag’s. Hopefully we burn bright so we stand out in this world.

People experiences character development at some point in their lives and Bradbury really expresses how that works. He used lasting images, emotion, and characterization to make a novel written years ago still relevant today. I’m very glad I’m not the pin hating girl I was in elementary school and it just goes to prove that no one is too far gone to think for themselves.

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1 Comment

One Response to “An Old Book That Continues to be Relatable Today”

  1. Jordan Henry on April 16th, 2018 8:20 am

    You did a really good job mirroring the book with current lives. I liked how you added really relevant captivating parts of the book. Nice job.

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Lewis Cass High School, Walton, Indiana,
An Old Book That Continues to be Relatable Today