Quotes are phrases, sentences, lines, and paragraphs taken from a literary piece. These quotes express universal truths or situations. Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 has famous quotes given for different situations the characters go through. These quotations are often cited and referenced in daily lives. Here are some of the famous quotes with contextual explanations.
Quotes in Fahrenheit 451
“It’s fine work. Monday bum Millay, Wednesday Whitman, Friday Faulkner, burn ‘em to ashes, then bum the ashes. That’s our official slogan.”
Here Guy Montag, the protagonist, speaks to Clarisse. He is describing the motto of a fireman. He uses classical American authors to state the nature of his work. He means that their main duty is to burn books to ashes. It is their official slogan, too. Here the readers are introduced to the main challenge of the book and understand that knowledge was not allowed during that time. Guy expresses his satisfaction while burning books.
“I don’t know anything any more,” he said, and let a sleep-lozenge dissolve on his tongue.”
Guy Montag speaks this as a monolog to express his state of mind. He tries to sleep after taking the drug. He begins to feel strange and wonders about his work. He starts regretting his actions after meeting Clarisse. Hence, he took the pill sleep-lozenge to forget everything that he has come across during the day.
“Books bombarded his shoulders, his arms, his upturned face A book alighted, almost obediently, like a white pigeon, in his hands, wings fluttering.”
The narrator explains the firemen’s job. As they burn the books, it fell from every direction. One of the books is lit in Montag’s hand is compared to a white pigeon. Perhaps, the narrator is trying to personify the book by comparing it to a bird, has a life of its own, and is trying to be free.
“You can stop counting,” she said. She opened the fingers of one hand slightly and in the palm of the hand was a single slender object. An ordinary kitchen match.”
Here the old woman takes out kitchen matches to light the fire herself. She doesn’t want the firemen to destroy her house or her books. Out of pride, she asks the firemen to stop counting as they would then unleash the hound and other equipment to put her house on fire. These lines show how the old woman loved books and knowledge more than her life.
“She’s nothing to me; she shouldn’t have had books. It was her responsibility, she should have thought of that. I hate her. She’s got you going and next thing you know we’ll be out, no house, no job, nothing.”
Guy Montag is talking to his wife, who responds to him with indifference, saying the old lady is nothing to her. She adds that she should not have put books in her home as keeping books was considered against the law. She says that she hates that old lady and that next would be their turn. She warns Montag because he discovers his love for books.
“Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents.”
Faber speaks these words to Guy Montag while talking about the books and the society. Faber believes that the societies not building foundations on firm footings will eventually face destruction. That is, ultimately their fate. He further explains people who don’t know how to use knowledge will try to destroy it. Hence, the leaders were burning the books. He also confirms that such actions have occurred in the past as well.
“What is there about fire that’s so lovely? No matter what age we are, what draws us to it?” Beatty blew out the flame and lit it again. “It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted to invent but never did.”
Captain Beatty is talking to Montag when he and his crew come to set his house on fire on suspicion of keeping books. In these poetic lines, Captain Beatty is very dramatic and threatening at the same time. He reflects upon the discovery of fire and how man designed it for his needs. He sets Montag’s house on fire while boasting about his knowledge.
“Montag shut his eyes, shouted, shouted, and fought to get his hands at his ears to clamp and to cut away the sound. Beatty flopped over and over and over, and at last twisted in on himself like a charred wax doll and lay silent.”
The narrator speaks these lines when telling about Guy Montag killing his boss, Beatty to protect Faber. Beatty had tried to remove his earbuds, a communication device Montag uses to talk to Faber. They have a fight and Montag throws him into the fire.
“And he was surprised to learn how certain he suddenly was of a single fact he could not prove. Once, long ago, Clarisse had walked here, where he was walking now.”
The narrator describes Montag’s intuition saying that he is walking on the trail and recalls that Clarisse must have walked there. It is just an assumption and Montag’s memory of Clarisse before she died. In other words, Montag is following her path of keeping books and understanding them.
“Yes, thought Montag, that’s the one I’ll save for noon. For noon … When we reach the city.”
Montag remembers a few lines from the Bible, which he is deputed to keep in his memory and recall at a certain point. He believes that he will keep these lines in his head and recall them at noon when they are supposed to reach the city. The above lines reflect on the new life Montag was starting after the atomic war.