Handling a Burnt Cookie

You walk into a room with a sudden rush of happiness with the scent of delicious cookies filling your sinus instantly making your stomach rumble. One chocolate chip representing the whole chocolate chip cookie is a symbol for something greater than it actually is. In Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses motifs and symbolism to create a dominant idea about conformity and individuality.Bradbury shows his views by using the motifs and symbols of hands, good fire, and bad fire. Fire can be seen as an image of destruction, anger, danger, and death.

The bad fire portrayed in Fahrenheit 451, changes Montag’s view on his life and how it is truly destructive. The conformed woman “vanished into the volcano’s mouth” (93), while they were “like a native fleeing an eruption of Vesuvius” (93). Social life was not an aspect in their new culture because they would go straight to what was taking away ideas of individuality. The conformity the ladies have is destructive to their potential and they were doing it to themselves by diving into the destruction themselves. Fire is beautiful and dangerous and destructive.

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Many aspects of fire are bad and will draw you in making it hard to break the siren song it puts in you in. The “gorging fire that burned the evening sky red and yellow and black” (3) as the nighttime “wind turned dark and black with burning” (41). Night sky being taken over by the fire is like what the fire was doing to the others; consuming them with wrong beliefs. Destruction of the peaceful night and the anger it had toward the night. Fire was killing the knowledge inside of the buildings being burnt.

Fire is represented by a bad fire motif in Fahrenheit 451, emphasizing how destructive, and dangerous it is to Montag. Fire can also be seen as a symbol of love, warmth, and as a sign of something good. A new beginning was given to Montag and also helped enhance his knowledge as well as gain more. Montag walked up to Granger’s camp and saw fire that “was warming” (145) and he was amazed because “he hadn’t known fire could look this way” (146). The new view of fire on Montag impacted him in the end of the novel to open up and allow individuality to fully run his life.

Warmth is one way Montag realized fire is not all bad and how it allows silence. Fire also brings people together that allows knowledge instead of destroying it. For the first time Montag saw people “putting out the fire together”(154) and before putting out the fire, saw “silence gathered all about the fire and the silence in the men’s faces”(146). Gathering together even through silence, is enough to spread something Montag never had before; a true community. The motif of good fire is represented to Montag through warmth and showing Montag that fire is not always destructive.

Fire can be used as a benefit to bring people to together instead of drive them apart. Hands were portrayed as an individual being, doing an act to individuality or conformity. Montag did not know when his “hands” were doing something to break him from conformity. “His fingers were like ferrets that had done some evil and now never rested” (105) because of how he “always stirred and picked and hid in pockets” (105). Montag’s “hands” took a risk to break through conformed boundaries.

Montag was restless and worried because of those movements. The motif of hands represents the whole body and Montag is only partially into individuality because he does not have the knowledge to break through conformity. Adapting from conformity to individuality is a hard transition because of the difference in knowledge and environment views. The new environment allowed Montag’s fingers to be “clawed into the dirt” (161) and be by the fire that had “hands held to its warmth” (145). Montag has a better understanding of the world now from a little bit of knowledge and support. He sees how hands were close to fire and not actually lighting it, and also feeling the dirt and nature around the fire.

Montag learned that you must do something to get where you want to be and not just sit around standing letting it happen. Bad fire, good fire, and hands are some of Bradbury’s motifs to enhance his ideas and keep the reader from becoming conformists. The cookie is delicious and is worth the extra work to transform that ordinary chocolate chip to a magnificent cookie. Look for the deeper meaning and not just the cookie cutter boundaries. Break the boundaries and be a sugar cookie in a group of chocolate chip cookies; be yourself. Work Cited: Bradbury, Ray.

Fahrenheit 451. Del Ray, 1982. ?