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Fahrenheit 451

Ray Bradbury
Quotes Important Quotations Explained
Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 5

The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time . . . Time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burnt!

In this passage, Montag muses on the sun as he escapes the city and floats down the river in “Burning Bright.” Montag sees the stars for the first time in years, and he finally enjoys the leisure to think that Faber told him he would need in order to regain his life. He starts by considering the moon, which gets its light from the sun, then considers that the sun is akin to time and burns with its own fire. If the sun burns time (and, thus, burns away the years and the people) and he and the firemen continue to burn, everything will burn. These thoughts lead him to the conclusion that since the sun will not stop burning, he and the firemen must stop. In these lines, Bradbury repeats the word “burning” to communicate the sense of revelation that Montag experiences as he considers this and to subtly suggest that the ex-fireman must now redefine his ingrained conceptions of fire and burning, and, therefore, his identity and purpose.