Use Of Irony In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

1430 words - 6 pages

In Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, irony is often used to convey information and contribute more to the overall theme of the novel. Many parts of the book contain this irony because it works well for fueling either the main antagonist or protagonist actions. Fahrenheit 451 is a book based on the ideals of a “utopian society” where books are illegal and burned if they’re found. Firemen are ordered to burn books and all houses that contain them, versus putting out fires and protecting people. In communities people don’t think, they cannot be ‘intellectuals’, and they are forced become drones of the government’s ideals. In the novel Farenheit 451 irony is used to express the complex ideas of the society, but also gives the book more understanding and meaning by making us think differently, how characters are ironically told not to.
First if all, one ironic example in the story is the fact that firemen are starting fires when they burn books, when firemen are supposed it put fires out. On page 8, Bradbury writes as Clarisse argues softly with Montag,
'Is it true that long ago firemen put fires out instead of going to start them?’ ‘No. Houses. have always been fireproof, take my word for it.’ ‘Strange. I heard once that a long time ago houses used to burn by accident and they needed firemen to stop the flames.’ He laughed.
Bradbury's quote is ironic because throughout Farenheit 451, firemen are starting fires as to burn books that are banned. it is ironic because in reality firemen put out fires instead of starting them. Clarice brings this up and Montag has to disregard so, because she's thinking too much. It goes against the morals of their society that firemen could be "helping people" by starting and killing others who are a threat to their beliefs versus heros that help the people solely for their own health and safety. In the story, the government forces their own ideals on the people [including firemen], making the firemen seem like the evil-doers while the government has their backs. In ways they are similar and this turns around to the book as a whole, with two groups of antagonist forces that get in the way of Montag's overall purpose. Overall the irony of the firemens' stance in the society contributes to the theme of the story as a whole by characterizing the evil and darkness that the firemen have inside them, similar to the government.

Some examples of irony in Farenheit 451 not only are used to relate us to the book, but also to secretly hint at and support the protagonist’s [Montag’s] actions. They represent how Montag starts to question hs authority and begins to belive in what needs to be done. Bradbury says on page 51, “There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.” This quote is ironic because in the Farenheit 451 Montag and others are supposed to believe that books should be seem as evil things, that do not...

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