Tag: Ray Bradbury

Celcius 232

“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” Frederick Douglas once said. Fahrenheit 451 addresses a society that books are to be burned by firemen whenever they were found. Contrasting to his job, Montag finds this inquiring and starts his journey of changing the world to a place full of books and new ideas. In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, the characterization of the protagonist, Montag, shows the change of his personality.

Montag is an ordinary looking fireman who is thought to be kind-hearted; however, he ponders the restrictions he has as a member of the society. At the beginning of the story, Montag is introduced just like the other firemen in the firehouse: “He hung up his black beetle-colored helmet and shined it; he hung his flameproof jacket neatly” (Bradbury 8). Ray Bradbury emphasizes the clothes that he wears as a fireman. The black beetle-colored helmet, and his flameproof jacket symbolize the appearance as a fireman. Moreover, when meeting Clarisse, Montag explained, “‘Kerosene… is nothing but perfume to me’”(10). As fireman’s job in his society was to burn books, kerosenes were always part of him. This was common among firemen, as they were all to use kerosene daily. Montag shows his kindness by talking with Clarisse and by accepting her ideas. Clarisse said, “‘The others would walk off and leave me talking… You’re one of the few who put up with me’” (27). Clarisse shares her thoughts about Montag by comparing him to other firemen. As he was one of the few that actually listened to Clarisse and her ideas, and made corresponding reactions to them, Montag was able to show his personality of kindness to Clarisse. As the society do not accept new ideas and knowledge, many of thoughts were ignored and thought to be crazy. However, unlike the others, Montag made connections to her questionings. Montag queried the society multiple times throughout the story. “I’ve been thinking…about the man whose library we fixed. What happened to him?” (37). After Montag had several conversations with Clarisse, he started to question about the actions he has done as a fireman. This included “fixing” libraries. Burning the libraries did not seem right for Montag as he thought of libraries as a place of knowledge and stories. Later in the story, he sets his mind that knowledge and books are important: “Montag was gone and back in a moment with a book in his hand” (100). As books give stories, knowledge, and common sense to people who read them, Montag read a poem to those who were foolish in voting, and even about their families. Even though Ms. Phelps had a strong emotional reaction when the poem was finished, Montag was sure that the contradicting ideas in books about society give a strong sense of community to all people. In conclusion, Montag, the compassionate average fireman, fights for the regulations as a citizen in his society.

I, just like Montag, also have thought differently from others and wanted to fight for my opinion. In a recent Model United Nations activity, I had contrasting opinions on restricting public awareness of countries about a specific issue. At that time, I was the only one who thought that public awareness should not be restricted since it would cause more confusion to the public. This made it difficult to address my opinion to other delegates in the committee just like Montag trying to say that books are beneficial.

Image Citation: “Guy Montag.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 4 May 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guy_Montag.

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A Sound of Change

What would you do when you meet a Tyrannosaurus rex during time travel? Would you bravely fight with the dinosaur, or would you run away just like Eckels, the protagonist? Eckels, after seeing the vast Tyrannosaurus rex, disobeys the rules on not going away from the path and receives a consequence that could be never thought of. In “A Sound of Thunder” by Ray Bradbury, small actions can result in great consequences.

Before going on the time travel, Eckels is warned by Travis that if a small change happens in the past no one can guarantee that the present time stays the same. Travis warns Eckels: “’Stay on the Path… We don’t want to change the Future… Step on a mouse and you crush the pyramids’” (Bradbury 225-227). The author emphasizes through Travis that a small change in the history can lead to consequences that cannot be altered back. Throughout the story, Travis constantly warns Eckels to stay on the path and do not modify the history. This explains the danger to the present times when the past is adjusted slightly. Another example of the theme is seen in the resolution of the story. Eckels becomes aware that he has changed the past. Eckels has only killed a little butterfly, but it resulted in the change of language and the presidential election. When Eckels come back to present time and he notices a change to the office, he cries, “’Not a little thing like that! Not a butterfly!’” (Bradbury 236). Eckels realizes the change of the English spelling and the result of the presidential election. The spelling of the signpost in the office changed, and the president became Deutscher instead of Keith.  A death of a little butterfly has caused a significant change in the history. He realizes that he cannot change the result of his misbehavior, and receives the consequence of death from Travis. Ray Bradbury constructs the theme of changes leading to consequences in the course of the story. It is the life lesson the Eckels learns after the time-traveling journey. This was warned from the exposition of the story, but he fully understands the meaning until he receives his consequence.

This theme could relate to dominos in real life situations. When building dominos, the slight touch of one block can result in the fall of myriads of other blocks. In “A Sound of Thunder”, the slight touch on the history from the butterfly has made the history fall and change. On the other hand, dominos could be rebuilt, but the history that has been already changed cannot be rebuilt. Do you think the time travel to the past was worth the danger to change the history?

Image Citation: Team, Glogster. “[2015] Edrea Low: A Sound of Thunder.” Www.glogster.com, edu.glogster.com/glog/a-sound-of-thunder-47370992/22gc2vp2be4?=glogpedia-source.

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