Fahrenheit 451 Fahrenheit 451 question

If the houses are fireproof, how can the firemen set fire to them?
Owen Owen Jun 27, 2011 02:30PM
After reading this book, I had one question: It says that the houses are fireproof, but the firemen burn them. I don't get it. How does that work?

Fireproofing doesn't mean something can't ever be burnt. It just means it's more resistant to fire. Soaking anything in an accelerant wouldn't be a good idea, even if it is labelled as "fireproof."

Spraying it with a flamethrower probably isn't a cool idea either ;)

Marina (last edited Aug 12, 2011 12:59PM ) Aug 12, 2011 12:58PM   1 vote
The purpose of firemen was to burn books, not houses. They made people leave, then burn books inside the house. The lady who refused to leave her books ended up burned to death because she refused to leave the house. Presumably sometimes if there weren't too many books and they took pity on the person, they would take the books out and burn them outside. Otherwise, the offender would be left with the burnt-out house that I guess could be cleaned out and made inhabitable again. In such a consumerist culture, I don't see them destroying property unnecessarily.

Vic (last edited Nov 24, 2011 04:06PM ) Nov 24, 2011 04:03PM   1 vote
I was pretty sure that there was some kind of fireproof "sheath" that protected all the houses and made them fireproof; and when someone's house got burned down, the sheath was taken off and the house was then like any normal house today, so it burned. The houses definitely burnt because the main character, Guy, had to burn his own house down.

It's been a little while since I've read this book, but my impresson was that, since Beatty and Co. used kerosene/other propellants, the burning process was artificially accelerated simply for the firemen, and "natural" fires (those that would be started in residential ares for less nefarious reasons) would not be affected by those accelerants.

deleted member Jun 30, 2011 06:29PM   0 votes
I think that there are a few things hidden in the book that might give a bit of an answer.

Many of the people who still had books were considered oddities and lived in houses that were old/not fireproof.

Also, the firemen do not use water in their hoses, but rather have a strong kerosene. If you douse anything with enough lighter fluid you can at least get it to catch fire/heat up to a point that makes it useless or disfigured.

I am not certain that the term fireproof means that the houses contents are protected, it may simply mean that a house would contain a fire rather than spread it throughout the neighborhood.

Not sure, just a few ideas.

i guess ray bradbury purposely leaves this to you to figure out

Maybe he had a senior moment... at 33...

deleted member Jun 27, 2011 02:44PM   0 votes
huh....That's a good question

Maybe in the future, or whatever, they are more stupid and they made the word "fireproof" because they thought it meant something else? I'm not sure. I guess it's more of the author's error than the people in the book.

"fireproof houses" should be seen as a metaphor for a dystopian reality where the dangerous uncertainties of life have been overcome by sacrificing creative/individual thought, feeling and identity. Such metaphoric devices are one of the hallmarks of Bradbury.

Folks remember Science fictions MAIN goal is to take you to another place and let you see the situation in a DIFFERENT perspective. That is a mark of a good writer. I have 40 plus years on most of you. Remember fireproof houses, flying cars, moon vacations. The author took one point out of our supposed future.

Tyreese (last edited May 02, 2015 11:39PM ) May 02, 2015 11:38PM   0 votes
Why? Would you have fireproofed the House ? , a giant paragraph has been left out . Its like a loop , the only logical explanation is they fireproofed houses so that firemen could burn their books inside of them, or they did it to stop fires an save countless lives, but clearly in the movie they throw out the books and burn them outside, in account that Guy montage burns his own house with books inside and kills Beaty.
p.s. i read the book first

Maybe It has something to do with the books in the house... Maybe it was special fire built to burn fireproof houses.

If you soak anything with enough kerosene, it will burn.

This is the wrong question. A more important question is: why were books banned? Why did firemen burn books? Maybe we should burn televisions instead. Montag's wife was the ultimate airhead; she spent her days watching insipid shows on the wall screen(we now have the wall screens). One of the most interesting characters is Clarissa(claire=light); she walks, she thinks, she reads, she talks to people. And her family does not have a working television. In the future, no government will have to burn books because people won't read them, except for a few "eccentrics."

deleted member Jul 08, 2011 02:35AM   -1 votes
I don't think the houses are burnt, just the books. And (I know it isn't a good idea to compare the book to the movie, but I do really like the movie) in the movie (!) they burn the books in a pile outside the house. So maybe they recognised that the houses were 'fireproof' or something, but they were after the books really, not the houses. I honestly have no idea though. Good book at any rate!

Well, books would still burn in a fireproof house, right? Like burning paper in a metal trashcan.

Mark Hunter One thing I've learned as a firefighter is that no matter how "fireproof" a building supposedly is, the stuff inside can cause a deadly fire. Calling ...more
Dec 24, 2011 10:23PM · flag

Houses were burnt to the ground in the book, not just the books. Of course the Author's point of making them fireproof was to prevent the possibility accidental fire so that the role of *firemen* would be completely reversed. I think it was a fairly simple literary move that wasn't meant to be dwelt on.

The greater point was that the role of firemen were always to protect society from danger, but societies perception of danger was greatly warped over time. "Fireproofing" the houses was just a quick and easy method to do this without wasting a lot of pages on it.

U 25x33
Tyreese Logical explanation, but why would did they fireproof the house.there's got to be a reason to do so. I've used that word "accidental fire" in my proje ...more
May 02, 2015 11:33PM · flag

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