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Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
Main Ideas

Key Facts

Main Ideas Key Facts

full title  Fahrenheit 451

author  Ray Bradbury

type of work  Novel

genre  Science fiction

language  English

time and place written  1950–1953, Los Angeles, California

date of first publication  1953 (a shorter version entitled “The Fireman” was published in 1951 in Galaxy Science Fiction)

publisher  Ballantine Books

narrator  Third-person, limited omniscient; follows Montag’s point of view, often articulating his interior monologues

climax  Montag’s murder of Beatty

protagonist  Montag

antagonist  Beatty, but also society in general

setting (time) Sometime in the twenty-fourth century; there have been two atomic wars since 1990

setting (place)  In and around an unspecified city

point of view  Montag’s

falling action  Montag’s trip out of the city into the country

tense  Past, with occasional transitions into present tense during Montag’s interior monologues and stream-of-consciousness passages

foreshadowing  Montag’s uncanny feelings of prescience; early descriptions of the Mechanical Hound; Montag’s nervous glances toward the ventilator shaft where he has hidden his books; discussion of the qualities of fire

tone  Foreboding and menacing, disoriented, poetic, bitterly satirical

themes  Censorship, knowledge versus ignorance

motifs  Paradoxes, animals and nature, religion, television and radio

symbols  Fire, blood, the Electric-Eyed Snake, the hearth, the salamander, the phoenix, the sieve and the sand, Denham’s Dentifrice, the dandelion, mirrors