In his fiction based novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

In his fiction based novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury utilizes symbolic images of and the mind stirring use of foreshadowing to reflect on how the corruption of independent minds can lead to an oppressed dystopia. Within the title of the beginning chapter, regarding Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury provides the audience with a conjunction of two images, the hearth, and the salamander.  These two images represent the horrific impact from burning books on a society.  A hearth is an area in one’s home that surrounds the fireplace, while a salamander is a mythological beast who has the ability to live in fire and not be harmed.  Both of these images have some relation to the element of fire, which is the most prevalent icon in Montag’s life throughout the novel.  However, in Fahrenheit 451, these two images exude a much greater meaning than a simple floor in front of a fireplace and a fiery beast.  These two compelling images focus on Montag’s home life as well as his occupation of being a fireman.  The hearth embodies the fire which heats Montag’s home and the salamander, an official symbol of the firemen, is used for transportation as it is also the name of the men’s fire trucks.  For Montag however, having a salamander (a beast who lives in fire without being harmed) be his official symbol is quite ironic.  For instance, in the line of duty, Montag is harmed emotionally and psychologically from fire, through the process of burning books.  While believing he is doing the right thing, Montag eventually realizes that he simply does not agree with the process of burning books.  This realization of Montag’s is seen through the destructive effect from the parlor walls or tv has on individuals.  Montag’s wife, Mildred, in particular, being but not being as she “lived, but did not live” inside the “parlor walls,” distancing herself from reality.  The hearth or “home” used by Bradbury displays the effect of how burning books or “knowledge” by the salamander can create an oppressed, reliant individual.Following the imagery of the hearth and the salamander, is the next conjunction used by Ray Bradbury, and also found within the second chapter’s title, the sieve, and the sand.  These two images symbolize Montag’s effort to comprehend as he reads the forbidden literature.  The sand represents Montag’s knowledge that eludes him, while the sieve serves as his mind attempting to make the knowledge that he learns permanent.  According to Montag, “if you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve” (Bradbury 74).  This thought of Montag’s was proven false when he was faced with a repeating “Denham’s Dentifrice” advertisement while attempting to read and memorize each line of the Bible lying in his hands.  This incident sparked one of Montag’s oldest memories, when “some cruel cousin” (74) bet Montag a dime if he could simply fill the sieve with sand.  The faster Montag poured the sand the faster it fell through the sieve, and the faster he read the more knowledge he lost.  The people of “higher power” in Fahrenheit 451 oppress the public by forbidding the beautiful pieces of literature and eliminating the concept of self-thinking. There is also a great deal of symbolic imagery pertaining to insects in Fahrenheit 451.  Bradbury incorporates the mechanical hound, which is an eight-legged machine beast that has the ability to sense the presence of books.  The firemen, including Montag, use this beast to help destroy knowledge and promote ignorance.  This spider-like mechanical beast finds and destroys books or knowledge, which affects the medium in which the public gain entertainment.  In this process of eradicating knowledge and building ignorance, the public loses the ability to critically think and develop a personal, individual opinion.Ray Bradbury’s marvelous use of foreshadowing helps the audience obtain a greater understanding of his literature, as it hints and ties major events together.  One of the first sights of foreshadowing in Fahrenheit 451 is towards the beginning of the novel when Montag is standing in the middle of his home hallway, talking to his wife, Mildred, about the overdose of sleeping pills from the night before:  “He stood looking up at the air-conditioning vent in the hall for a long time.”(Bradbury 17).  This action of Montag’s, staring at the hallway vent, hints towards a later affair that occurs because the vent is actually the place where more than twenty books are stashed in secret.  At this moment of Montag’s life, he finally thinks for himself.  He puts his fireman badge on and, while staring at the vent, questions everything he once knew and believed.  He comes to the realization that books create opinion and a sense of personality.  He then decides to ask Mildred about how her night went.  Mildred claimed she had no idea what happened the night before while feeling hazy and quite hungry.  After Montag informed Mildred about how her night went she wouldn’t believe him, “she would never do such a thing” (Bradbury 17).   Throughout his futuristic novel, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses both the symbolic imagery and the compelling use of foreshadowing to display how the corruption of independent minds can lead to an oppressed dystopia.