Kira MasalaitisFrawlyEnglish12December 1 2017 Fire. The symbol of destruction, compassion, and renewal, is a prominent theme in the novel Fahrenheit 451, written by Ray Bradbury. Guy Montag, lives in a bleak, advanced United States where any and all books have been made illegal and have been replaced with entertainment and technology. The use of fire in the past was to give warmth and heat and has now been replaced for the use destruction and satisfaction. Montag’s job as a fireman is to burn books and houses that have books stowed away. Montag’s view of fire and burning items in the first act is destruction and has completely changed by the end of the book, when he views fire as a symbol of warmth. Montag’s indulgence of fire and burning changed through the time he spent with Clarisse, the old woman, and Faber. In the first sentences of the novel showed the way Montag loved being a fireman and his love of burning by saying “It was a pleasure to burn” (Bradbury 1). Montag meets Clarisse one night walking home from the firehouse on the sidewalk. She introduces herself as his new neighbor, the two talk for a while until Clarisse asks Montag if he’s happy. At first Montag is offended, thinking of course he’s happy, but then Montag starts to really think about his life and what he does with his life and realizes that he isn’t happy. Montag considered fire to be a symbol of eradication, but he also believed that fire does good, it keeps the ‘peace’, and it’s a solution to the some world’s problems, when in reality, fire destroys homes, books, people, and in the end, Montag’s life. This thought was deserted after his encounter with the old woman who burned not only the books she had but also herself in her own house. That was really the spark of Montag changing his life it troubled him and he had been “Trying to put it out, in my mind, all night”(Bradbury 48). Montag became appalled with burning and vomited at the smell of kerosene, which he described as a “perfume” before. Because of this Montag quit his job as a fireman and turned to Professor Faber, a retired English professor Montag encountered, for direction. The professor showed and told Montag that books have secret messages and hidden meanings, and should be valued. Through Montag’s encounters with Clarisse, the old woman and Faber, he realizes that the time he had spent burning books was wrong. This persuaded him to change his life.Montag changed his view of fire from it being entertainment and destruction in restoring and cleansing when an alarm, called by his wife and her friends, brought the firemen to his home. Montag wanted to burn his house because the narrator”He wanted to change everything, the chairs, the tables, and in the dining room the silverware and plastic dishes, everything that showed that he had lived here…” (Bradbury 110). He wanted to get rid of his old life and all memories of it. Montag had even said “If there was no solution, well then there was no problem, either. Fire was best for everything” (Bradbury 110). In this aspect, fire is used for cleansing,burn anything that is a problem. Amusingly enough, Beatty is one Montag’s problem, so Montag follows his own advice and burns Beatty alive. Montag successfully got rid of his previous life and Beatty.After Montag barely escapes the city where he used to live, the genuine meaning of fire is revealed to him. He meets the bunch of men that have no real home that have various different college degrees, where they warm themselves next to a fire talking and sharing ideas, making fire a symbol of warmth. One of the men in the group, Granger, brought up the legend of the Phoenix, a bird of fire, which appears at the end of the novel as a symbol of renewal and rebirth. Granger compares mankind to a phoenix when he said, “But every time he burnt himself up he sprang out out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing…” (156). Granger thinks that humankind has one profitable attribute over the phoenix, they learn from their mistakes. Granger wanted his group to remember past omissions and to change them and make sure that they don’t happen again. Granger hopes that the general public will realize its mistakes and make a new one society and life where knowledge and reading are treasured.In Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, fire symbolizes destruction and renewal. Montag’s interactions with Clarisse, the old woman, Faber, and Granger led him to think of fire in a different way. He used it to completely destroy his old life, which led to his ‘rebirth’ which is represented by the phoenix. Because of this, fire is a very meaningful and influential symbol in the novel.