Fahrenheit 451


Ray Bradbury

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The Phoenix Symbol Icon
The mythologies of many Mediterranean cultures include the story of the phoenix, a bird that is consumed by flames but then rises from the ashes. The phoenix is a symbol for renewal, for life that follows death in a cleansing fire. After the city is reduced to ashes by bombers in Fahrenheit 451, Granger makes a direct comparison between human beings and the story of the phoenix. Both destroy themselves in fire. Both start again amid the ashes. If people keep books—which preserve the past and allow people to learn the lessons of prior tragedies—Granger hopes that humanity will remember the suffering caused by destruction, and will avoid destroying itself in the future.
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The Phoenix Symbol Timeline in Fahrenheit 451

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Phoenix appears in Fahrenheit 451. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Censorship Theme Icon
Conformity vs. Individuality Theme Icon
Upstairs, four firemen are playing cards. Montag complains to Captain Beatty (whose helmet has a phoenix on it) about the Hound's threatening gestures toward him. The Captain says the Hound doesn't... (full context)
Part 3
Mass Media Theme Icon
Action vs. Inaction Theme Icon
...aftershock of the bombs passes, the men eat breakfast. Granger relates the story of the phoenix, a mythical bird that built a pyre and burned itself every few hundred years and... (full context)