The Martion Chronicles


The Theme of Metamorphosis in the Novels of Ray Bradbury

In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles he uses the theme of metamorphosis to show how his characters survive reality. Through the characters in these novels he is able to show their survival through personal metamorphosis. Critic Willis E. McNelly states "The central tensions that permeate all of Bradbury's works are those of stasis, entropy, and change. Change will come, he seems to say?"(173). In the end these changes come at the expense of others, but bring with them the survival of? .
Many of Bradbury's characters have sorrows they cannot put behind them, scars that will not heal - all of which causes them to hurt others"(Beachams Guide to Literature for Young Adults 1852). The characters are not able to adapt or change to suit their own needs, Without doing this they not only hurting others and themselves. For example, in The Martian Chronicles the inability to adapt for some destroys them. In Bradbury's novels it is essential for the characters to change in order to go on with their life. The society is in which the characters either live in or lived in are destroyed, because of its inability to change, while the character, or some characters are able to survive.
Fahrenheit 451 allows a look at how a futuristic city with a totalitarian government might look and seem to be. "The core of the novel rests in the readers ability to share Montag's slow struggle toward consciousness, to move from official book burner to reader, to rebel, to book
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memorizer and ultimately to a citizen of a loving, caring, feeling world"(McNelly 174). The harshness of this government provokes Montag to rebel against it.
The differences in the characters and the futuristic setting allow for a realistic yet fantasy world in Fahrenheit 451. Guy Montag never had a problem with his beliefs, views, and culture until he got a new neighbor. Clarisse McClellan, his new neighbor made him question those beliefs and views, and ultimately set him up for the adventure of his life, which led to the demise of the world he grew up in.
"IT WAS A PLEASURE TO BURN. It was a pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed"(1). This is the first sentence and first reference to the theme of metamorphosis in Fahrenheit 451. The main problem suggested in this book is the fact that reading, let alone having a book in your possession is against the law and you can be jailed for it if you are caught. In this society there are people that challenge this law in the privacy of their own homes, bringing Montag into the picture. He is a fireman, but in this world the job description of a fireman is to start fires, where books can be found, instead of putting them out. The reason for this is to prevent people from reading. The government is against free thought, because through it change can and will occur. Wherever there are books the fireman eventually show up and burn them. Regardless of who or where, if books are found in a house the whole house is burnt to the ground, preventing change.
Montag's change begins with the arrival of a new neighbor, Clarisse McClellan. "I'm seventeen and I'm crazy. My uncle says the two always go together"(7). This is the response given to Guy when he asks the age of Clarisse. With this statement Guy knew that she wasn't the
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normal teenager. In their brief first encounter Clarisse asks him questions that no one has even mentioned before that night. Even the little question like "Have you seen the two-hundred-foot long billboards in the country beyond town? Did you know that once billboards were only twenty feet long"(9)? These questions took Montag by surprise and he thought them to be very humorous, but her next statement made him a bit "irritable"(9). "Bet I know something else you don't. There's dew on the grass in the morning"(9). With this statement Montag realized he never really thought about that and became angry. Although her questions annoyed him, he pondered on them, wondering about things that his society didn't allow, the answers.
One of the questions she asks him really bothers him, "Are you Happy?"(10). This question really affects Montag, because when he goes into his house he