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Ray Bradbury

Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Kyr was a firmach, a manipulator of fire as well as an explorer of the universe. He yearned to see the worlds outside his own. A place without responsibilities and where he could uncover something new.

Their two races had a history, they were me Kyr was a firmach, a manipulator of fire as well as an explorer of the universe. They also find something much more complicated. Get A Copy. Kindle Edition , pages. More Details Other Editions 1. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Forbidden Flame , please sign up. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.

Sort order. Aug 13, Renee rated it it was amazing. A great read-the first of many from this author. When Kyr and Evander met, it wasn't the best circumstances. Wounded and wary, Evander was guarded and unsure of how to react to the man that saved his life. Kyr only wants to travel and learn, not babysit. He has also learned that being alone is the only way he can live.

The fact that their two races have been enemies for so long that nobody even remembers how the feud started is also hanging over their heads. Neither of them were looking for a fri A great read-the first of many from this author. Neither of them were looking for a friend, let alone anything more; but sometimes the best things happen when you least expect it.

The main question now is this-can there ever be a future for two complete opposites with different dreams? He views himself in the mirror after a night of burning and finds himself grinning, and he thinks that all firemen must look like white men masquerading as minstrels, grinning behind their "burnt-corked" masks. Later, as Montag goes to sleep, he realizes that his smile still grips his face muscles, even in the dark. The language — "fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles" — suggests that his smile is artificial and forced.

Soon he will understand that this small bit of truth is an immense truth for himself. At present, Montag seems to enjoy his job as a fireman. He is a "smiling fireman. Montag smiles, but he is not happy. The smile, just like his "burnt-corked" face, is a mask. You discover almost immediately when Montag meets Clarisse McClellan that he is not happy. By comparing and contrasting the two characters, you can see that Bradbury portrays Clarisse as spontaneous and naturally curious; Montag is insincere and jaded.

Clarisse has no rigid daily schedule: Montag is a creature of habit. She speaks to him of the beauties of life, the man in the moon, the early morning dew, and the enjoyment she receives from smelling and looking at things.

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Montag, however, has never concerned himself with such "insignificant" matters. Clarisse lives with her mother, father, and uncle; Montag has no family other than his wife, and as you soon discover, his home life is unhappy. Clarisse accepts Montag for what he is; Montag finds Clarisse's peculiarities that is, her individuality slightly annoying. Despite all these differences, the two are attracted to one another. Clarisse's vivacity is infectious, and Montag finds her unusual perspectives about life intriguing. Indeed, she is partly responsible for Montag's change in attitude.

She makes Montag think of things that he has never thought of before, and she forces him to consider ideas that he has never contemplated. Moreover, Montag seems to find something in Clarisse that is a long-repressed part of himself: "How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who refracted your own light to you? At the very least, Clarisse awakens in Montag a love and desire to enjoy the simple and innocent things in life. She speaks to him about her delight in letting the rain fall upon her face and into her mouth.


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Later, Montag, too, turns his head upward into the early November rain in order to catch a mouthful of the cool liquid. In effect, Clarisse, in a very few meetings, exerts a powerful influence on Montag, and he is never able to find happiness in his former life again. Yet, if the water imagery of this early scene implies rebirth or regeneration, this imagery is also associated with the artificiality of the peoples' lives in the futuristic dystopia of Fahrenheit Each night before she goes to bed, Mildred places small, Seashell Radios into her ears, and the music whisks her away from the dreariness of her everyday reality.

As Montag lies in bed, the room seems empty because the waves of sound "came in and bore her [Mildred] off on their great tides of sound, floating her, wide-eyed, toward morning. She has abandoned reality through her use of these tiny technological wonders that instill mindlessness. The Seashell Radios serve as an escape for Millie because they help her avoid thoughts. Although she would never — or could never — admit it, Millie Montag isn't happy either. Her need for the Seashell Radios in order to sleep is insignificant when measured against her addiction to tranquilizers and sleeping pills.

When Millie overdoses on sleeping pills which Bradbury never fully explains as accidental or suicidal , she is saved by a machine and two machinelike men who don't care whether she lives or dies. This machine, which pumps out a person's stomach and replaces blood with a fresh supply, is used to foil up to ten unexplainable suicide attempts a night — a machine that is very telling of the social climate. Montag comes to realize that their inability to discuss the suicide attempt suggests the profound estrangement that exists between them.

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He discovers that their marriage is in shambles. Neither he nor Millie can remember anything about their past together, and Millie is more interested in her three-wall television family. The TV is another means that Mildred uses to escape reality and, perhaps, her unhappiness with life and with Montag. She neglects Montag and lavishes her attention instead upon her television relatives. The television family that never says or does anything significant, the high-speed abandon with which she drives their car, and even the overdose of sleeping pills are all indicators for Montag that their life together is meaningless.

For Montag, these discoveries are difficult to express; he is only dimly cognizant of his unhappiness — and Millie's — when he has the first incident with the Mechanical Hound. In some sense, the Hound's distrust of Montag — its growl — is a barometer of Montag's growing unhappiness.

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Captain Beatty intuitively senses Montag's growing discontent with his life and job. Beatty is an intelligent but ultimately cynical man. He is, paradoxically, well-read and is even willing to allow Montag to have some slight curiosity about what the books contain. However, Beatty, as a defender of the state one who has compromised his morality for social stability , believes that all intellectual curiosity and hunger for knowledge must be quelled for the good of the state — for conformity.

He even allows for the perversion of history as it appears in Firemen of America : "Established, , to burn English-influenced books in the Colonies. First Fireman: Benjamin Franklin. When the curiosity for books begins to affect an individual's conduct and a person's ability to conform — as it does Montag's — the curiosity must be severely punished. When Montag is called to an unidentified woman's house "in the ancient part of the city," he is amazed to find that the woman will not abandon her home or her books. The woman is clearly a martyr, and her martyrdom profoundly affects Montag.

Before she is burned, the woman makes a strange yet significant statement: "Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out. He was convicted of heresy and sentenced to burn at the stake with a fellow heretic, Hugh Latimer. Latimer's words to Ridley are the ones that the unidentified woman alludes to before she is set aflame. Note that a couple visual metaphors for knowledge were traditionally of a woman, sometimes bathed in bright light or holding a burning torch.

Fahrenheit Summary & Analysis Part 1 | Test Prep | Study Guide | CliffsNotes

Ironically, the woman's words are prophetic; through her own death by fire, Montag's discontent drives him to an investigation of what books really are, what they contain, and what fulfillment they offer. Montag is unable to understand the change that is taking place within him. With a sickening awareness, he realizes that "[a]lways at night the alarm comes.

Never by day! Is it because fire is prettier by night? More spectacle, a better show? Her stubborn dignity compels him to discover for himself what is in books.


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If Clarisse renews his interest in the sheer excitement of life and Mildred reveals to him the unhappiness of an individual's existence in his society, the martyred woman represents for Montag the power of ideas and, hence, the power of books that his society struggles to suppress. When Mildred tells Montag that the McClellans moved away because Clarisse died in an automobile accident, Montag's dissatisfaction with his wife, his marriage, his job, and his life intensifies.

As he becomes more aware of his unhappiness, he feels even more forced to smile the fraudulent, tight-mouthed smile that he has been wearing. He also realizes that his smile is beginning to fade. When Montag first entertains the idea of quitting his job for awhile because Millie offers him no sympathetic understanding, he feigns illness and goes to bed. In all fairness, however, Montag feels sick because he burned the woman alive the night before.

His sickness is, so to speak, his conscience weighing upon him. Captain Beatty, as noted earlier, has been suspicious of Montag's recent behavior, but he isn't aware of the intellectual and moral changes going on in Montag. However, he recognizes Montag's discontent, so he visits Montag. He tells Montag that books are figments of the imagination.

Fire is good because it eliminates the conflicts that books can bring. Montag later concludes that Beatty is actually afraid of books and masks his fear with contempt. In effect, his visit is a warning to Montag not to allow the books to seduce him. Notice that Beatty repeatedly displays great knowledge of books and reading throughout this section. Obviously, he is using his knowledge to combat and twist the doubts that Montag is experiencing.

In fact, Beatty points out that books are meaningless, because man as a creature is satisfied as long as he is entertained and not left uncertain about anything. Books create too much confusion because the intellectual pattern for man is "out of the nursery into the college and back to the nursery.

Another interesting point discussed by Beatty in this section is how people view death. While discussing death, Beatty points out, "Ten minutes after death a man's a speck of black dust. Let's not quibble over individuals with memoriums.

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Also in this discussion between Beatty and Montag, the reader can question whether Clarisse's death was accidental, as Beatty states, "queer ones like her don't happen often. We know how to nip most of them in the bud, early. The major developments of Part One surround the degenerated future in which books and independent thinking are forbidden. Notice, however, Bradbury's implicit hope and faith in the common man by representing the life of a working-class fireman.

Though Montag isn't a man of profound thought or speech, his transformation has occurred through his innate sense of morality and growing awareness of human dignity. Note, as well, the dual image of fire in its destructive and purifying functions. Although fire is destructive, it also warms; hence, the source of the title of Part One, "The Hearth and the Salamander. In ancient mythology, the salamander was a creature that could survive fire. Possibly Montag himself is represented in the salamander reference. His job dictates that he live in an environment of fire and destruction, but Montag realizes that the salamander is able to remove itself from fire — and survive.

This connection between books and birds continues throughout the text and symbolizes enlightenment through reading.

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Here, vehicles resemble beetles in the dystopian society. In the concept of nature, the salamander is a visual representation of fire. In mythology, it endures the flames without burning.