my essay on Fahrenheit 451
- Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:2 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:3 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:4 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:5 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:6 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:7 (NIV)
- Ecclesiastes 3:8 (NIV)
- Matthew 6:28 (NIV)
- Luke 12:27 (NIV)
- Revelation 22:2 (NIV)
In the book Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses Biblical references to convey the message that God will always provide for, take care of, look after, and watch over His children. These Biblical references open Montag’s eyes to the truth and turn him from a mindless drone into a protector of books and of creation. These references, found in New Testament books of Matthew/Luke and Revelation, and the Old Testament book of Ecclesiastes, highlight the importance of God’s creation.
On pages 78-79 Bradbury splices two Bible verses together, the first being Matthew 6:28
“See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. (NIV)”
And the other being Luke 12:27
"Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; but I tell you, not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these.(NIV)”
Bradbury’s hybrid version is “Consider the lilies of the field. They toil not, neither do they… (P78 L34-P79 L9)” These verses are really just Luke 12:27 with the world “field” added from Matthew 6:28 and the “how they grow” taken out most likely by mistake when confusing the two verses. Montag remembers these verses when he is on the subway. At first glance it might seem that this hybrid verse has nothing to do with the book or any overtly obvious themes. But when studied closer it is possible to see that Bradbury used this verse to try and show that Montag doesn’t understand what toiling is and that he doesn’t understand a field of lilies either because society is so focused on the unnatural world. However its actual meaning is distorted by being taken out of context. Verses 28-31 show that the actual meaning of verse 27 is to show how God loves the natural world and therefore clothes it in beauty, and that because of this His children will be more beautiful and more looked after than the lilies “which [are] here today, and tomorrow [are] thrown into the fire”
“ 28 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! 29 And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. 30 For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. (NIV ©2011)”
Given this meaning, there is a new connection that can be made, that when looked at in context, God will take care of and provide for Montag (obviously only if he is a child of God). It also can be interpreted that in the context of F451 the “Pagan world run[ning] after all such things” means the F451 society running after technology and fulfillment through unholy/ungodly methods.
When Montag is in the wilderness with the college professors, he starts to quote Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which goes as follows:
“1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.” (NIV)
In this particular part of the story, Montag is with his new friends and they have just witnessed the city being nuked. Watching an act of violence that tremendous is horrible, it is life being destroyed. Life wasn’t meant to be destroyed, that’s why the Bible says “thou shalt not murder.” God is described as I AM. Basically he is the entity of life or the creator of life. When you kill or murder, you’re destroying His creation. While Montag may not have known this from reading the Bible, he exhibits the reaction of someone who has. Out of this shock of seeing God’s creation destroyed he tries to comfort himself and others by quoting Ecclesiastes 3:1-8. He’s trying to make them feel better or ease their suffering by telling them that there is a time for everything. That death and destruction are inevitable, and that because of the fall of man, or the sin of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, sin and chaos will reign until the return of Jesus.
Finally on the very last page of Fahrenheit 451, Montag remembers Revelation 22:2 which goes as follows:
“On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations” (NIV)
He remembers this verse after the nuke is dropped. The author personally believes that he chose this verse to “save till lunch” because it talks about the leaves of the tree being for the healing of nations. Obviously the nation has just been attacked and gravely wounded, this verse gives him hope that one day there will be a tree that will heal the nation. The odd thing about this verse is that the NLT (which is a paraphrase or the interpretation of the Bible from the point of view of its creators) says the leaves of the tree will be used as medicine for the nations. This implies that it is for the healing of illness and not physical healing. When interpreted this way it means that the leaves will be used for medicine to heal the sick in the end times, this is a widely accepted theory. This verse also shows how creation benefits humanity. It shows how God provides even in the worst of times. By saying it bears twelve fruits, one for every month, it also shows how God provides indefinitely. He always will, there isn’t an off season with him, or a dry period, or weak harvest, or waiting for harvest!
In the book Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury uses Biblical references to convey the message that God will always provide for, take care of, look after, and watch over His children.
In the Matthew/ Luke reference, they show us, through an example using nature, that God always provides for His own and that while the world may run after temporary fulfillment they will be thrown into the eternal fire because they didn’t choose to follow God.
In the Ecclesiastes reference the poet attempts to offer comfort by telling us that there is a time for everything. That in everything God has a plan and that He is using whatever ordeal you are in to bring you closer to him or to make you stronger in him.
In the Revelation reference we are shown how even in the worst of times God provides for His children by giving them constant sustenance and healing even when times are the worst they will ever be (as interpreted by the NLT). It can also be interpreted that Jesus is the tree of life and that he heals the nations and that he constantly provides us spiritual food.
In all of these references, nature is used to show how God made creation to benefit us. First, in Matthew/Luke we see that if God cares that much for the flowers or lilies, then he must care about us infinitely more. This part of nature makes us praise God for his creation and its beauty and that he made it just for us to enjoy. Then in Ecclesiastes we are shown through a poem about natural occurrences that God cares and that there is a time for everything and that through all of these times God is there for us. This part of nature shows us how much God cares for us and how he will always be there.
Created almost 3 years ago