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Essay on 'Fahrenheit 451': Salamander Analysis

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The Salamander has long been thought to be a legendary creature capable of withstanding fire; if scorched, the salamander would survive. Bradbury purposely made this symbol one of the representations that come to mind placed in the hands of firefighters’ images for they would burn down houses left and right. While the Phoenix is quite nearly the same it is initially established as a firefighter’s emblem. A phoenix insignia is worn on the breast of the firefighters. Captain Beatty’s headgear and automobile both sport the symbol. Because of its association with fire, the firefighters utilize the Phoenix as an emblem, They feel that burning the goods of persons who stockpile contraband is the correct thing to do. The fire of those goods is considered a kind of reincarnation for the offenders in their community. They can finally move on from their criminal past. They are, however, hauled to prison rather than being offered a second opportunity as a free person. In this context, the phoenix is indeed a euphemism, meaning it contradicts itself. The Phoenix represents rebirth, yet the literature hoarders are denied this opportunity.

Salamanders are amphibians, like the phoenix, and were revered centuries ago as an emblem of longevity, rebirth, and desire. The salamander is a sign of strength, defense, and unbreakable will in the narrative. We may perceive a link between the lizard family and serpents which are often associated with evil, as found in the Bible, Eden Lost, as well as other religious works. The salamander was regarded as an enigmatic sort of witchcraft. People were afraid of the little monster because of the mythology. The salamander represents both fire and firefighters in Fahrenheit 451. When Clarisse saw the salamander emblem on Montag's arms, she knew what he did. Salamanders are the rails that firefighters ride on when responding to emergencies. As a result, the salamanders (trucks) represent fire. The firefighters wear a salamander patch, and a salamander picture is carved out onto the firehose which is used to spray gasoline and fire; their firetruck is known as the Salamander. Similarly, the firemen’s outfits have a phoenix on the front, and Captain Beatty wears a phoenix on his cap and travels in a phoenix automobile.

In terms of the other mythologic creature, the Phoenix, Montag is linked to it somehow. The emblem’s introduction early in the novel foreshadows the book’s subsequent events. Montag chooses to study the literature he has accumulated and has a conversion experience and rebirth. The name phoenix had previously connoted immortality, although, in Fahrenheit 451, only one chance was for the phoenix to burn out and be resurrected. The phoenix myth infused Montag's life, the literature, and the universe of Fahrenheit 451, with hope. Because the people had been deceived, the civilization was now dying and no one appeared to care. It was a scenario in which not only the bold but also those with the ability to think for themselves might assist in breaking the government's authority. Montag’s life had been full of ups and downs. He believed he had a nice life since he liked his job and was content. Montag quickly realized that he was unhappy and that his existence was meaningless. Mildred did not love him, and Clarisse, his sole companion (that he remembered), perished in a car accident. He was suddenly unhappy, but he could not figure out why. He assumed it was just because his spouse had set off the fire alarm, but the truth was that he despised her. “It’s strange, I don’t miss her at all.” (155)

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Montag was unsure about his marriage since marriage was meant to be based on love, but love had vanished from his marriage and was nowhere to be found. After his wife Mildred raised the alarm and informed the firefighters that Montag had books, his life was over. The novels were like a tasty piece of candy to Montag. He was not sure why he enjoyed them but he was constantly hungry for more. Montag’s soul died and was revived after Captain Beatty forced him to burn down his own house. His lovely existence was smoldering right across from his eyes. Montag was a firefighter, and like the phoenix, he rose from the ashes. Montag was reborn because he realized his life and the world were both wrong. He had no idea why this is incorrect, but he knew he had to fix it. Captain Beatty was turned into “a charred wax doll.” (119) by him. Montag had a glimmer of optimism now, although a little one given his belief that he could not accomplish anything. Montag, on the other hand, had broken the government’s control and was utilizing the books to his advantage. How odd because in the physical world, people were continually complaining about how individuals wasted paper, which meant they were wasting trees, but in Fahrenheit 451, every piece of wood that had been chopped down and used for books was being burnt away. “Books show the pores the face of life.” (83) according to the inhabitants of Fahrenheit 451.

People were afraid of books and unsure about them, the society hired firefighters to destroy them. Even though most people were afraid of reading, the books served as their phoenix, giving people hope. Montag and Faber, for example. Montag could never have seen the light if it had not been for the old woman destroying herself reading books, Montag might never have realized what books represented to humanity, thus the novels too have been reborn. Those books were supposed to be read, but Montag could sense what they intended for society even without reading them.

The society of Fahrenheit 451 was not the same as it is now. People were already equal, so they did not have to fight for them. Equal in every way, including physical and mental ability. However, one persistent issue was that everyone was always attempting suicide. They attempted it since life in Fahrenheit 451 was a horrible nightmare because no one was permitted to think, share their opinion, or enjoy life. Because the authorities believed they had eliminated the major force opposing them, literature, it appeared that humanity had no possibility of reforming. However, the people themselves remained hopeful for a better future and formed a coalition to assist in its restoration. Montag was among them; he, like many others, dreamed of a new society where people could be themselves.

Authors usually have a goal in mind when they write. The symbols hidden in this narrative can give a valuable life lesson or insight. Bradbury felt compelled to write on the fears he observed manifesting in the environment around him. Fahrenheit 451 is a message to humanity on the necessity of information and identity in a civilization that is so prone to corruption by misinformation, censorship, and instruments designed to divert attention away first from the realities of our existence.

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Essay on ‘Fahrenheit 451’: Salamander Analysis. (2023, September 25). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 30, 2023, from
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