Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Chapter 3 (pages 107-158) Analysis

Burning Bright

Beatty's description of Clarisse demonstrates how much he actually fears her. While Beatty is berating Montag he says, "You think you can walk on water with your books" (111), which is a clear allusion to Christ. Montag's realization that Beatty wanted to die demonstrates that despite all Beatty's talk of happiness, he found no real joy in life—like most of the people composing the American society of the novel.

The "carful of children" that almost kills Montag is further proof of how bad everything has become. Bradbury has portrayed a sick society so well that the reader does not mourn for it when it is destroyed. The reader might even find him or herself in the position of empathizing with America's enemies in the novel.

Bradbury's introduction of Granger and his exiles and people who have memorized books reinforces the idea that books are vitally connected to people, that they are more than just ink and paper. In fact, the exiles say that people are the works of literature. During his talk with Montag, Granger says, "We are also Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John" (145). Due to the previous religious allusions, and the fact that Montag becomes the leader of the exiles by the end of the work, one might read Montag as a Christ figure.

Bradbury is careful to end the novel by highlighting that books are indeed important, but they are not the sole salvation of mankind. The idea that introspection is perhaps a step toward man's salvation is underscored by Granger's final speech (see the "Important Quotes" section).