Fire is an interesting symbol in Fahrenheit 451 because it symbolizes two different things. Through the firemen, who burn books and wear the number "451" on their helmets, fire symbolizes destruction. (451°F is the temperature at which paper and books burn.) Yet at the same time, Clarisse reminds Montag of candle-light, and so fire, when controlled, symbolizes the flickering of self-awareness and knowledge.
Fire Quotes in Fahrenheit 451
The Fahrenheit 451 quotes below all refer to the symbol of Fire. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Simon & Schuster edition of Fahrenheit 451 published in 2013.).
Part 1 Quotes
It was a pleasure to burn.
"We must all be alike. Not everyone born free and equal, as the Constitution says, but everyone made equal. Each man the image of every other; then all are happy, for there are no mountains to make them cower, to judge themselves against. So! A book is a loaded gun in the house next door. Burn it. Take the shot from the weapon."
Part 2 Quotes
"Those who don't build must burn. It's as old as history and juvenile delinquents."
"They are so confident that they will run on forever. But they won't run on. They don't know that this is all one huge big blazing meteor that makes a pretty fire in space, but that someday it'll have to hit."
Part 3 Quotes
"What is it about fire that's so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?... It's perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did. Or almost perpetual motion. If you let it go on, it'd burn our lifetimes out."
"Now, Montag, you're a burden. And fire will lift you off my shoulders, clean, quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic, aesthetic, practical."
Fire Symbol Timeline in Fahrenheit 451
The timeline below shows where the symbol Fire appears in Fahrenheit 451. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.