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Renascence Vs. Fahrenheit 451

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Guy Montag's journey of enlightenment is similar to the journey of the speaker in the poem "Renascence".

In the beginning of the poem "Renascence", Edna St. Vincent Millay depicts a scene of her being surrounded by nature. The display she is describing is that of the coast of Maine, where Millay frequently visited when she was lonely and unhappy. She has no emotions toward what she is heeding on and refers to the mountains she views as "..the things that bounded me" (Renascence Line 12). Her perception of the landscape she contemplates is limited because the mountains serve as barriers to the outside world. At the time the poem was written, Millay was dealing with the limitations forced upon her by her society and depicts that frustration in Lines 1-14 of "Renascence". Guy Montag from Fahrenheit 451 is a fireman in a society that is striving to create a Utopia by burning books. His father and grandfather were both firemen so Montag follows in their footsteps and conforms to the dysfunctional society. As far as he knows, burning books is conventional so he doesn't question the practice. Montag's perception is limited in the sense that he conforms to society without examining the consequences of not having the books present. Limited perception in the poem "Renascence" and Fahrenheit 451 will eventually lead to the demise of the speaker of the poem and Montag if they don't realize their fault.

Realization of the speaker's faults in "Renascence" and Montag's faults in Fahrenheit 451 are necessary so that a change can take place. The speaker of the poem realizes her "great wound" (Renascence Line 52) while self-reflecting. The "great wound" ("Renascence" Line 52) represents the lack of emotion in her life. She seeks to rid herself of the "venom" (Renascence Line 54), or ignorance,

that is poisoning her. The speaker describes her "remorse of soul" (Renascence Line 56) while self-reflecting and begins to lose her limited perception and witness the feeling of emotion. Montag is an obedient victim to the society until he comes across Clarisse McClellan, a young, non-conforming outcast, who asks Montag the life-changing question of "Are you happy?" (Bradbury 10). At first, Montag doesn't even question if he is truly happy. Another meeting with Clarisse confirms that Montag isn't in love when he rubs a dandelion on his chin and no sign of the dandelion is present on him. Montag responds to a call that comes into the fire station stating that an elderly woman on Elm Street has been harboring books in her attic. After several failed attempts by the firemen to safely remove the woman from her house that is about to be burned, the woman strikes the match that lights her and her house containing books on fire. This is the moment that Montag begins to wonder if he truly is happy with what he is doing in his life. The speaker of "Renascence" and Guy Montag's realizations of their limited views



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