Summary 3 Burning Bright

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					     Summary 3 Burning Bright                             motorists who killed Clarisse. He creeps
                                                          into one of his coworkers’ houses and
     Opening through second visit with Faber              hides the books, then calls in an alarm
     Summary                                        55    from a phone booth. He goes to Faber’s
 5   Montag gazes at Clarisse’s empty house,              house, tells him what has happened, and
     and Beatty, guessing that he has fallen              gives the professor some money. Faber
     under her influence, berates him for it.             instructs him to follow the old railroad
     Mildred rushes out of the house with a               tracks out of town to look for camps of
     suitcase and is driven away in a taxi, and     60    homeless intellectuals and tells Montag to
10   Montag realizes she must have called in              meet him in St. Louis sometime in the
     the alarm. Beatty orders Montag to burn              future, where he is going to meet a retired
     the house by himself with his flamethrower           printer. Faber turns on the TV news, and
     and warns that the Hound is on the watch             they hear that a new Mechanical Hound,
     for him if he tries to escape. Montag burns    65    followed by a helicopter camera crew, has
15   everything, and when he is finished, Beatty          been sent out after Montag. Montag takes
     places him under arrest.                             a suitcase full of Faber’s old clothes, tells
     Beatty sees that Montag is listening to              the professor how to purge his house of
     something and strikes him on the head.               Montag’s scent so the Hound will not be
     The radio falls out of Montag’s ear, and       70    led there, and runs off into the night. Faber
20   Beatty picks it up, saying that he will have         plans to take a bus out of the city to visit
     it traced to find the person on the other            his printer friend as soon as possible.
     end. After Beatty eggs him on with more
     literary quotations, his last a quote from        Analysis
     Julius Caesar, Montag turns his                75 It’s perpetual motion; the thing man wanted
25   flamethrower on Beatty and burns him to a         to invent but never did . . . It’s a mystery. . .
     crisp. The other firemen do not move, and         . Its real beauty is that it destroys
     he knocks them out. The Mechanical                responsibility and consequences . . . clean,
     Hound appears and injects Montag’s leg            quick, sure; nothing to rot later. Antibiotic,
     with anesthetic before he manages to           80 aesthetic, practical. (See Important
30   destroy it with his flamethrower. Montag          Quotations Explained)
     stumbles away on his numb leg. He goes
     to where he hid the books in his backyard         Mildred’s betrayal of Montag is complete,
     and finds four that Mildred missed. He            and he realizes that she will soon forget
     hears sirens approaching and tries to          85 him as she drives away, consoling herself
35   continue down the alley, but he falls and         with her Seashell radio. Montag does not
     begins to sob. He forces himself to rise and      feel particularly angry at her, however; his
     runs until the numbness leaves his leg.           feelings for her are only pity and regret.
     Montag puts a regular Seashell radio in his       This part of the novel is dominated by the
     ear and hears a police alert warning people 90 final confrontation between Montag and
40   to be on the lookout for him, that he is          Beatty. Beatty’s ironic self-awareness, his
     alone and on foot.                                understanding that his choices have not
     He finds a gas station and washes the soot        made him truly happy, seems to grow
     off his face so he will look less suspicious.     throughout the novel, and it comes to the
     He hears on the radio that war has been        95 surface in his final scene, when his
45   declared. He starts to cross a wide street        behavior seems deliberately calculated to
     and is nearly hit by a car speeding toward        result in his own death.
     him. At first, Montag thinks it is the police     Montag remains emotionally detached in
     coming to get him, but he later realizes the      this section. He enjoys burning his own
     car’s passengers are children who would       100 house as much as he enjoyed burning
50   have killed him for no reason at all, and he      those of others, and he begins to agree
     wonders angrily whether they were the             with Beatty that fire is removing his
     problems. He imagines Mildred and his            fragments as transitional devices and one
     whole previous life under the ashes, and         lengthy sentence to convey the
     feels that he is really far away and that his    breathlessness of Montag’s flight.
     body is dead. Moreover, he claims that it is 55
 5   not exactly he who commits Beatty’s
     murder—he cannot tell if it’s his hands or       Burning Bright (continued)
     Beatty’s reaction to them that spurs him to      After leaving Faber’s through the death of
     the act. Beatty is described as no longer        the fake Montag
     human and no longer known to Montag           60
10   when he catches fire. Again, like so many        Summary
     other things in the novel, fire has two          Montag is able to watch the Hound track
     contradictory meanings at once. It               him by glancing through people’s house
     represents Montag’s subjugation and his          windows into their TV parlors. Literally
     liberation, and he achieves his final         65 everybody is watching the televised chase.
15   emancipation by abusing its power. Murder        Montag sees the Hound hesitate when it
     is, after all, a far worse crime than book       gets to Faber’s house, but it quickly runs
     burning. Only later does Montag                  on. As Montag continues to run toward the
     acknowledge what he has done and feel            river, he hears an announcement on his
     some remorse for his actions.                 70 Seashell radio telling everyone to get up
20   Montag is not as different from Mildred,         and look out their doors and windows for
     Beatty, and others as he thinks. In this         him on the count of ten. He reaches the
     section, he confides to Faber that he has        river just as the announcer counts ten and
     been going around all his life doing one         all the doors in the neighborhood start to
     thing and feeling another, an unconscious     75 open. To keep the Hound from picking up
25   dualism that resembles the conflicted            his scent, he wades into the river and drifts
     psyches of Mildred and Beatty. Also, when        away with the current. He avoids the
     he and Faber watch the sensationalist TV         searchlights of the police helicopters, and
     news coverage of his escape and the              then sees them turn and fly away. He
     chase, the possibility of watching the        80 washes ashore in the countryside.
30   unfolding drama on TV fascinates Montag,         Stepping out of the river, he is
     and he finds all the glitz and tabloid           overwhelmed by the sights, sounds, and
     glamour he has inspired somewhat                 smells of nature. He finds the railroad track
     flattering. If he is killed on TV, he wonders    and follows it. As he walks, he senses
     if he could sum up his whole life in a few    85 strongly that Clarisse once walked there,
35   words in the brief moments before his            too.
     death so as to make an impact on the             The track leads him to a fire with five men
     people watching. Montag has not yet              sitting around it. The leader of the men
     escaped from the culture against which he        sees him in the shadows and invites him to
     revolts—he is still concerned, even in his    90 join them, introducing himself as Granger.
40   most dire moment, with surface                   Granger reveals a portable TV set and tells
     appearances, fame, and sensationalism.           him that they have been watching the
     However, the last image at Faber’s house         chase and expecting him to come. The
     suggests a hopeful end for Montag and his        men at the fire, though homeless, are
     world: it is of rain (from the sprinklers),   95 surprisingly neat and clean, and have
45   countering the images of fire associated         considerable technology. Granger gives
     with the men pursuing Montag.                    Montag a bottle of colorless fluid to drink
     Bradbury’s writing style is particularly         and explains that it will change the
     poetic in this section. He uses figurative       chemical index of his perspiration so the
     language extensively (especially stage and 100 Hound will not be able to find him. Granger
50   circus metaphors) and often bends the            tells him the search has continued in the
     rules of grammar, using sentence                 opposite direction and that the police will
   be looking for a scapegoat to save                    Montag considers the moon, which in turn
   themselves from the humiliation of losing             reminds him of the sun and then of fire. He
   their prey. The men gather around the TV              concludes that the sun actually burns time,
   to watch as the camera zooms in on a man              scorching away the years and all the
 5 walking down the street, smoking a              55    people on the planet. This is a puzzling
   cigarette. The announcer identifies this              statement, but it means simply that time,
   man as Montag. The Hound appears and                  represented by the rising and setting of the
   pounces on him, and the announcer                     sun, will inevitably destroy people and
   declares that Montag is dead and a crime              everything they have worked for. He
10 against society has been avenged. The           60    realizes that if he continues to burn things
   homeless men reflect that the police                  as he has all his life, everything worthwhile
   probably chose the man to be their                    will be destroyed even more quickly. He
   scapegoat because of his habit of walking             begins to think of his life as having a
   by himself—clearly a dangerous and                    different purpose, of using his life to
15 antisocial habit.                               65    preserve rather than destroy. Soon after he
                                                         has these thoughts, he sees the flame that
   Analysis                                              the hobos warm their hands over. For the
   The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time . . .          first time in his life, he discovers that fire
   Time was busy burning the years and the               can sustain life as well as destroy it.
20 people anyway, without any help from him.        70   As he contemplates the silence of the
   So if he burnt things with the firemen and            countryside, Montag’s thoughts turn to
   the sun burnt Time, that meant that                   Mildred. He realizes she would not be able
   everything burnt! (See Important                      to tolerate the silence and is saddened at
   Quotations Explained)                                 the thought. In contrast, Montag feels
25                                                  75   increasingly comfortable in the presence of
   Bradbury uses several devices to heighten             nature, becoming “fully aware of his entire
   the tension of the chase sequence,                    body.” He no longer feels that his mind,
   including the use of dramatic pauses (such            hands, and blood are separate entities, as
   as when the Hound pauses on Faber’s                   he did in the city. Montag becomes a whole
30 lawn), the description of the Hound’s            80   person for the first time.
   progress from Montag’s perspective, and
   the countdown to the “look-out” in which
   everybody is to open their doors. This latter         Burning Bright (continued)
   device effectively pits the entire city against       After the fake Montag’s death through the
35 Montag and creates a definite time factor        85   end of the novel
   (as opposed to the progress of the Hound,
   which is an undetermined distance away                Summary
   from Montag). Montag has to make an                   After witnessing the anonymous
   effort to remember that he is not watching            scapegoat’s death on the television,
40 a fictional drama but his own life unfolding     90   Granger turns to Montag and ironically
   on twenty million TV screens.                         remarks, “Welcome back to life.” He
   Montag leaves the frightening unreality of            introduces Montag to the other men, who
   the city, which he thinks of as a stage of            are all former professors and intellectuals.
   actors and a séance of ghosts, and enters             He tells Montag that they have perfected a
45 the world of the countryside, which feels        95   method of recalling word-for-word anything
   equally unreal to him because of its                  that they have read once. Each one of
   newness. Drifting peacefully down the river           them has a different classic stored in his
   into darkness, Montag finally experiences             memory. Granger explains that they are
   the quiet and freedom that he needs to                part of a network of thousands of people all
50 think.                                          100   over the country who have bits and pieces
                                                         of different books stored within their
     memories. Granger says that Montag is              again and again from its own ashes, and
     important because he represents their              comments that they will first need to build a
     “back-up copy” of the Book of Ecclesiastes.        mirror factory to take a long look at
     Finally, Montag’s reading has been              55 themselves. The men turn upriver toward
 5   validated by someone.                              the city to help the survivors rebuild from
     Granger says that his group is waiting for         the ashes.
     humanity to become ready for books again
     so that they can be of some use to the             Analysis
     world. He says that the most important          60 Granger’s ironic welcoming of Montag back
10   thing they have to remember is that they           from the dead symbolizes Montag’s rebirth
     are not important in themselves, but only          into a more meaningful life. Bradbury
     as repositories of knowledge. Granger              employs butterfly imagery throughout the
     says they are prepared to wait for as long         book, specifically to describe the “death” of
     as it takes and will pass their books down      65 burning books, so the idea of
15   through succeeding generations if need be.         metamorphosis or transformation has been
     He accepts the possibility that someday            foreshadowed. The fact that the men can
     there will be another Dark Age and they            recover every word of books they have
     will have to go through it all again, but he is    read makes them living conduits to the
     confident about man’s determination to          70 dead. They playfully identify themselves to
20   save what is worth saving. They put out the        Montag by the names of long-dead
     fire and walk downstream in the darkness.          authors. The traces of the past contained
     Montag searches the other men’s faces for          in books offer these men multiple lives,
     some glow of resolve or glint of hidden            identities, and opportunities for rebirth. In
     knowledge, but he is disappointed. Seeing       75 this new life, Montag has the three things
25   this, the men laugh and tell him not to            that Faber told him were required for a full
     judge a book by its cover. Montag tells            life: exposure to nature and the world of
     them that he left his wife back in the city        books, leisure to think, and freedom to act.
     and worries aloud that something must be           When Montag sees the enemy bombers,
     wrong with him, because he does not miss        80 his thoughts turn to the people he has lost:
30   her and would not be sad if she were killed.       Clarisse, Faber, and Mildred. When the
     Granger tells him a story about the death          bombs obliterate the city, he suddenly
     of his grandfather, stressing that his             remembers that he met Mildred in Chicago,
     grandfather, a sculptor, was a man who             suggesting that he has somehow managed
     “did things to the world.” Granger believes     85 to feel the connection that was missing
35   that when people change even a small part          when she was alive. Granger’s story about
     of the world thoughtfully and deliberately,        his grandfather, with its moral about the
     they leave behind enough of their souls to         importance of leaving one’s mark on the
     enable other people to mourn them                  world, resonates with Montag’s desire to
     properly.                                       90 leave a meaningful legacy. From the
40   Suddenly, they see jets flash over the city        beginning of the novel he has been
     and drop their bombs; the city is vaporized        growing increasingly dissatisfied with a life
     by the explosion. The men are knocked flat         based on empty pleasures and devoid of
     by the shock wave. As he clings to the             real connections to other people. Montag
     earth, Montag mentally pictures Mildred         95 looks back at the city and realizes that he
45   just as she’s about to meet her death. He          gave it only ashes.
     suddenly remembers that he met her in              Granger compares mankind to the
     Chicago. Afterward, Montag thinks of the           phoenix, a mythological creature that is
     Book of Ecclesiastes and repeats it to             consumed by fire only to rise from its own
     himself. The aftershock dies down, and the 100 ashes in a cycle that it repeats eternally.
50   men rise and eat breakfast. Granger                He suggests that man’s advantage over
     compares mankind to a phoenix rising               the phoenix is his ability to recognize when
     he has made a mistake, so that eventually
     he will learn not to repeat it. Remembering
     the mistakes of the past is the task that
     Granger and his group have set for
 5   themselves. They believe that the
     collective memory represented by books is
     the key to mankind’s survival, and that this
     shared culture is more important than any
10   At the end of the novel, Granger remarks
     that they should build a mirror factory so
     mankind can look at itself. This recalls
     Montag’s description of Clarisse as a
     mirror in the beginning of “The Hearth and
15   the Salamander.” Mirrors are a symbol of
     self-understanding, of seeing oneself
     clearly. They can also multiply and
     propagate images, as reading and
     memorizing books multiplies the identities
20   and lives of Granger and the others.
     As they walk upriver to find survivors,
     Montag knows they will eventually talk, and
     he tries to remember passages from the
     Bible appropriate to the occasion. He
25   brings to mind Ecclesiastes 3:1, “To
     everything there is a season,” and also
     Revelations 22:2, “And on either side of the
     river was there a tree of life . . . and the
     leaves of the tree were for the healing of
30   the nations,” which he decides to save for
     when they reach the city. The verse from
     Revelations refers to the holy city of God,
     and the last line of the book, “When we
     reach the city,” implies a strong symbolic
35   connection between the atomic holocaust
     of Montag’s world and the Apocalypse of
     the Bible.

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