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The Peculiarities in Writing Style of Ray Bradbury

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Humans have come up with numerous theories about what the future may hold; some predict new technology and better lives, while others predict a dystopia of complete chaos and disaster. Ray Bradbury had a different vision when he wrote Fahrenheit 451. In his novel, Ray Bradbury champions individuality while raising awareness for the oppressive menaces of technology in society through a series of juxtaposing characters, metaphors, similes, and allusions.

Throughout the course of the novel, Bradbury encourages readers to challenge the notion of conformity. Clarisse McClellan, Guy Montag’s neighbor, is the immediate individualist who emphasizes the growing danger of society’s oppressive actions. Clarisse is viewed to be very peculiar since she has always asked questions rather than just obeying society’s standards like the rest. She complains how “nobody says anything different from anyone else” (Bradbury 31). Clarisse desires more knowledge and uniqueness, a concept that is forbidden in a society where books are burned, causing an absence of imagination and individual intelligence. Antithetically, the other adults in this novel are so brainwashed that they are led to believe that books are just “mush” and meant to “hurt people” (Bradbury 101). Rather than reading, these people use technology as a distraction from reality, avoiding books in fear that they may speak about events or stories that people may relate to, causing them to experience emotions that they would prefer to avoid. When Guy Montag asked his wife to turn off the parlor, a form of entertainment similar to a television, his wife replied: “That’s my family” (Bradbury 49). Mildred cares more about her show than Montag, even calling it her family, giving it more love than an actual person. This ultimately creates a void in humanity, resulting in a robot-like society.

Bradbury employs various metaphors to illustrate an imagery of emotions. Throughout the novel, it is implied that the burning of the books is an evil-doing. When hosing down houses and books with fire, it is depicted as a “great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world” (Bradbury 3). Just as a snake’s venom poisons its victim, the destruction of knowledge poisons and burns society, an action symbolic of a far greater danger: the death of creativity and individuality. Montag tells his wife that “books can get us half out of the cave” (Bradbury 34). Montag is comparing their society to a cave, demonstrating the willful ignorance their society holds as everyone immerses themselves in technology, blinding themselves to the issues surrounding them. He also addresses how books can enlighten a culture, bringing them out of the dark, blinded place they live in.

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Similarly, Bradbury utilizes similes to demonstrate a visual description along with delivering vivid emotions within the novel. When Montag was destroying a book while on the job, his “hand closed like a mouth” (Bradbury 37). By destroying the book, Montag is being mindless and conforming to society. His actions illustrate his voice and individuality being stripped from him, as his hand crushing the book is compared to a mouth shutting. Bradbury portrays the significance of books throughout the novel. When a book is dropped into Montag’s hands, he relates it to a “white pigeon” with “wings fluttering” (Bradbury 37). Describing it with such poetic language, it signifies the beauty of books. By glorifying books, it challenges the evil reputation that society has given them.

Bradbury demonstrates the significance of knowledge of history through allusions, giving a deeper meaning to the novel. When the woman refused to give up her books by staying in her burning house, some of her last words were “Play the man, Master Ridley” (Bradbury 36). This is a reference to Hugh Latimer and Nicholas Ridley in 1555, revealing the woman’s knowledge about these people through reading books. Furthermore, they illustrate the power and knowledge these books have to offer, emphasized by a woman who was willing to be burned alive for these books. Justifying the necessity to destroy books, it was stated “Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it” (Bradbury 59). Individuality and one’s expression is restricted in order to keep society at rest. However, this creates a lack of representation of individuals in society and assists people in avoiding their feelings and the issues of reality, which is undoubtedly an unhealthy and harmful coping mechanism.

The juxtaposition of characters and utilization of figurative language by the author allow the reader to perceive the message Ray Bradbury presents in the novel. The comparison of individuality and conformity in a society manifests the significance of one’s own thoughts and literature. As the importance of knowledge and individuality is emphasized, it becomes unequivocally clear that it is obtained through literature. Bradbury encourages the audience to continue their interest in reading as it creates one to learn from the past and form their own thoughts and opinions. Ray Bradbury hopes to ensure our current society does not blindly follow its norms and get distracted by technology, avoiding their reality and the issues surrounding it.

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The Peculiarities in Writing Style of Ray Bradbury. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-peculiarities-in-writing-style-of-ray-bradbury/
“The Peculiarities in Writing Style of Ray Bradbury.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-peculiarities-in-writing-style-of-ray-bradbury/
The Peculiarities in Writing Style of Ray Bradbury. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-peculiarities-in-writing-style-of-ray-bradbury/> [Accessed 3 Feb. 2023].
The Peculiarities in Writing Style of Ray Bradbury [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2023 Feb 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-peculiarities-in-writing-style-of-ray-bradbury/
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