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Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

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Presentation on theme: "Themes, Motifs, and Symbols"— Presentation transcript:

1 Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
in Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451

2 Theme: Censorship Why books banned? People just aren’t interested
TV Radio Fast cars people aren’t used to slowing down, concentrating, thinking

3 Books/ideas are bad Why make people who aren’t well-read feel bad just because others have? (wide-spread ignorance levels the playing field) Objections of special-interest groups that what is being said in books is offensive (political correctness)

4 Motif: Motif – as a literary element, an idea or image that is repeated or carried through an individual work A motif differs from a theme in that it can be expressed as a single word or fragmentary phrase, while a theme usually must be expressed as a complete sentence. Blood is an important motif in A Tale of Two Cities, appearing numerous times throughout the novel.

5 Motif: Paradox Paradox -- Where a situation is created which cannot possibly exist, because different elements of it cancel each other out. In 1984, “doublethink” refers to the paradox where history is changed, and then claimed to have never been changed. A Tale of Two Cities opens with the famous paradox, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”

6 Motif: Paradox Examples in °F 451: Things, or people are . . .
Dead and alive There and not there Seeing but not seeing Shells of people, not thinking, not mentally present although they are physically present; empty; grotesque What other examples from the text?

7 Motif: Paradox In the sense of the book itself:
Is this an example of art imitating life or life imitating art? Both? In American society today: Freedom is what makes America strong, yet it makes us susceptible to people who would take that away from us.

8 Motif: Nature Elements of the natural world are real, pure, and represent truth and innocence Clarisse Dandelions rain Presented as authentic, simple yet profound, beautiful Mechanical devices modeled after nature Snake Hound Presented as skewed, warped, grotesque

9 Symbolism: Symbolism -- The use of specific objects or images to represent abstract ideas. A symbol must be something tangible or visible, while the idea it symbolizes must be something abstract or universal.

10 Symbol: The Hearth and the Salamander
Hearth symbolizes home Salamander symbolizes the firehouse, the firemen, and their trucks Both deal with fire Hearth heats the home Ancient beliefs that the salamander lives in fire and is not burnt by flames

11 Symbol: The Sieve and the Sand
Sand symbolizes tangible truth Sieve symbolizes the human mind Together = the human mind trying to obtain elusive truths

12 Symbol: Phoenix In ancient Egyptian mythology and in myths derived from it, a mythical sacred firebird The phoenix is a male bird with beautiful gold and red plumage. At the end of its life-cycle the phoenix builds itself a nest of cinnamon twigs that it then ignites; both nest and bird burn fiercely and are reduced to ashes, from which a new, young phoenix arises. The bird was also said to regenerate when hurt or wounded by a foe, thus being almost immortal and invincible — a symbol of fire and divinity.

13 Symbol: Phoenix After bombing, mankind is a Phoenix that burns itself up and rises out of the ashes Refers to the cyclical nature of history Collective rebirth of mankind Resurrection of Montag

14 Symbol: Mirror Symbolizes self understanding or awareness through deep reflection Clarisse Granger says they should build a mirror factory

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