Need help understanding and analyzing Fahrenheit 451? Well don't burn the house down (I kid), get help with some thought-provoking quotes from the book.
1. Quote: White blurs are houses. Brown blurs are cows. My uncle drove slowly on a highway once. He drove forty miles an hour and they jailed him for two days (9).
Analysis: Clarisse tells Montag about her "strange" family, the one that actually converses with each other and enjoys nature. This shows just how shallow Montag's society has become. Nobody thinks, one of many Bradbury predictions that have come true.
For example, instead of taking the time to actually read this novel, you hopped online looking for some answers without taking the time to do your own analysis (Disregard that last part if, in fact, you read the novel and are just looking for a greater understanding of it (If you are looking for a greater understanding of it, we'll be over later to burn your copy of the book)).
2. Quote: They had this machine. They had two machines really. One of them slid down into your stomach like a black cobra down an echoing well looking for all the old water and the old time gathered there (14).
Analysis: Bradbury uses figurative language several times in the novel to give machines animal-like qualities. Here we have a simile, a stomach pump being compared to a snake. The snakes are here to revive Montag's wife who has attempted suicide again. Suicides are popular in Montag's society.
3. Quote: It's really fun. It'll be even more fun when we can afford to have the fourth wall installed. How long you figure before we save up and get the fourth wall torn out and a wall-TV put in. It's only two thousand dollars (20).
Analysis: I tried to help a friend put together a budget. He had massive credit card debt and no savings. I encouraged him to begin paying down his debt and create a savings program. He insisted it was impossible. We went over his expenses. He owned two giant TVs and paid nearly $150 dollars a month on cable. I suggested he cut his cable bill by $50 and start paying off one of his credit cards. He refused. He bought another TV for his bedroom. His wife lost her job and their home went into foreclosure. Now he has his three TVs in a one bedroom apartment. Bradbury was prophetic.
4. Quote: The mechanical hound slept but did not sleep, lived but did not live in its gently humming, gently vibrating, softly illuminated kennel back in a dark corner of the firehouse (24).
5. Quote: It doesn't think anything we don't want it to think (27).
Analysis: Another animal-like machine, the mechanical hound is a metaphor for Montag and other members of his society. The mechanical hound is simply programmed to function as if it were a living being, but has no original thought or motives. In a similar way, Montag and other members of his society are technically alive, but they do not trully experience life because they have no original thoughts; they only think what the TV tells him to think. Some claim this is another Bradbury prediction come true. I'm not sure. I have to check what Oprah says about it.
6. Quote: Don't step on the toes of the dog lovers, the cat lovers, doctors, lawyers, merchant, chiefs, Mormons, Baptists, Unitarians, second-generation Chinese, Swedes, Italians, Germans, Texans, Brooklynites, Irishmen, people from Oregon or Mexico The bigger your market, Montag, the less you handle controversy (57).
Analysis: Beatty explains the origins of banned books. This, however, is more of an authorial intrusion. I would say Bradbury's prediction has come true in the form of political correctness and the influence of special interest groups in Congress, but I don't want to offend anybody. In fact, I'll choose to be offended since I qualify for three of the above groups.
7. Quote: Montag: I've got an awful feeling I want to smash things and kill things.
Mildred: Go take the beetle (64).
Analysis: Although everyone may feel like smashing things once in a while, this quote demonstrates the brutality and violence that is common in this society. Mildred suggests the beetle because while driving it one sometimes runs over rabbits and other creatures.
8. Quote: The train radio vomited upon Montag (79).
Analysis: Great personification. If you don't think this prediction has come true, turn on your car radio on your way to school or work and count how many morning DJs tell fart jokes.
9. Quote: But who has ever torn himself from the claw that encloses you when you drop a seed in a TV parlor? It grows you any shape it wishes! (84).
10. Quote: I plunk the children in school nine days out of ten. I put up with them when they come home three days a month; it's not bad at all. You heave them into the 'parlor' and turn the switch. It's like washing clothes: stuff laundry in and slam the lid...They'd just as soon kick as kiss me. Thank God, I can kick back! (96).
Analysis: Bradbury predicts a future where TV influences and shapes individuals. I wonder what Barney would say about that? Or Keith Olberman? Or Sean Hannity? Or Dr. Phil? I'm glad we don't live in a world where TV is used as a baby sitter and families no longer speak to each other. That Ray Bradbury sure is crazy. The second quote contains a great simile comparing raising children to a chore, devoid of love or feeling.
11. Quote: "Go home." Montag fixed his eyes upon her, quietly. "Go home and think of your first husband divorced and your second husband killed in a jet and your third husband blowing his brains out, go home and think of the dozen abortions you've had, go home and think of that and your damn Caesarian sections, too, and your children who hate your guts! Go home and think how it all happened and what did you ever do to stop it? Go home, go home!" he yelled. "Before I knock you down and kick you out the door." (101).
Analysis: Nothing ends a fine night of socializing faster than the "go home and think of your dead husband and your dozen abortions" blast. I wouldn't recommend this line at your next dinner party.
What do you think of Bradbury's eerie prophecies? This could be the subject of a great paper!
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Ballentine Books. 1978.