Motifs are recurring structures, contrasts, and literary devices that can help to develop and inform the text’s major themes.
In the beginning of “The Hearth and the Salamander,” Montag’s bedroom is described first as “not empty” and then as “indeed empty,” because Mildred is physically there, but her thoughts and feelings are elsewhere. Bradbury’s repeated use of such paradoxical statements—especially that a character or thing is dead
Animal and Nature Imagery
Animal and nature imagery pervades the novel. Nature is presented as a force of innocence and truth, beginning with Clarisse’s adolescent, reverent love for nature. She convinces Montag to taste the rain, and the experience changes him irrevocably. His escape from the city into the country is a revelation to him, showing him the enlightening power of unspoiled nature. Much of the novel’s animal imagery is ironic. Although this society is obsessed with technology and ignores nature, many frightening mechanical devices are modeled after or named for animals, such as the Electric-Eyed Snake machine and the Mechanical Hound.
The narrative also contains references to the miracle at Canaa, where Christ transformed water into wine. Faber describes himself as water and Montag as fire, asserting that the merging of the two will produce wine. In the biblical story, Jesus Christ’s transformation of water into wine was one of the miracles that proved his identity and instilled faith in his role as the savior. Montag longs to confirm his own identity through a similar self-transformation.
The references to fire are more complex. In the Christian tradition, fire has several meanings: from the pagan blaze in which the golden calf was made to Moses’ burning bush, it symbolizes both blatant heresy and divine presence. Fire in
Finally, Bradbury uses language and imagery from the Bible to resolve the novel. In the last pages, as Montag and Granger’s group walk upriver to find survivors after the bombing of the city, Montag knows they will eventually talk, and he tries to remember appropriate passages from the Bible. He brings to mind Ecclesiastes