Blog post by Sera Lew:
Over the second quarter that I read, many events took place, and a lot of questions were answered. I do not want to simply summarize what happened over the course of my reading. What I do want to focus on is the main recurring symbol of a lily (or a flower). When Montag talks to an old English Professor named Faber about books and the society they lived in, Faber states, “‘We are living in a time when flowers are trying to live on flowers, instead of growing on good rain and black loam. Even fireworks, for all their prettiness, come from the chemistry of the earth. Yet somehow we think we can grow, feeding on flowers and fireworks, without completing the cycle back to reality’” (Bradbury 79). I was taken aback by this quote not only by what it conveyed but the craftsmanship of the metaphor itself. What Bradbury presents to a reader is a metaphor that gives the reader something to ponder on and analyze. Faber was comparing the flowers growing atop of all the other flowers to the society that they are living in during their current time. The reader learns that the society lived in during the current time does not value education like we do now (the reader’s current time). In their society, books are burned as the government believed that too much controversy and two sided arguments occurred through literature. What the society wanted to accomplish is a biased free zone, only made up of facts, and nothing else. They never regarded or liked any historical characters as they too brought many conflicts and arguments among the people as many argued on what the person really did, or who was better. So, viewing back to this metaphor, I thought that Bradbury did an excellent job explaining the situation in a nutshell. The flowers growing on top of flowers represented that their society built off of the main base of the old society, yet they never looped back around to “cycle back to reality.” The society that they lived in was so high off the ground that the people soon forgot where they came from, and nor did they care what had happened in the past. Faber refers to the earth as some sort of a powerful figure, as it ties the world together, even in fireworks. However, when society is built atop of an old society without revisiting the past, they no longer grow off of the good “rain and black loam.” What is Ray Bradbury trying to convey? Well, the way I took it apart, I thought that the rain and the black loam (soil) represented the main roots to building a society. However, because the flower grew on top of the other flower instead of using the “rain and black loam” there comes a society that becomes unnatural, and something that doesn’t loop back into reality.
After analyzing this quote, this caused me to look back upon my reading to find more hidden messages that I didn’t catch before. It opened my eyes to see the expertise style of writing that Bradbury presented as each and every sentence written had a meaning. I often found that sometimes, when reading a book, I tended to not pay attention to much detail in scenes that seemed unimportant. However, from reading this book, it has opened my mind as a reader, and it has made me more aware of a lot of the small hidden details. So, when I looked back to the part where Montag is on the subway, trying to remember parts of the bible, he recites in fragments over a loud toothpaste commercial, “‘Consider the lilies of the field…They toil not, neither do they…’” (Bradbury 74-75). When I looked back on this scene, I realized the recurring flower/ lily symbol brought up once again. I found myself surprised after finally analyzing what Bradbury was trying to convey. I researched the full quote, and it stated, “Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin” (Luke 12:27). Relating the meaning back to the story gave me an “Ah ha!” moment. (which is extremely awesome when the idea finally makes sense). As I slowly began to take apart the meaning of the quote from the bible, it connected to the symbolic meaning of flowers more and more. Here’s how I broke it down. Firstly, I defined that Bradbury uses the symbol of flowers to represent the society that Montag is living in. When taking apart the quote from the bible, I thought that the main message it was trying to convey was the idea that lilies do not need to go through extremely hard labor to turn out beautiful. I then related this quote to what Faber had said to Guy. Faber mentioned that their society that they were living in did not grow and cycle back down to the earth making it almost artificial (in a sense). I made the connection that their society is made up so artificially that it does in fact “toil and spin,” and it does not grow into a beautiful society. Because the community was so far from natural, not letting the good soil or rain help it grow, it grew from hard labor and became unnatural.
Maybe it’s too far of a reach, but let me know future commenters on what you think. I would rate this quarter a solid 9.5/10. This book is developing a well thought out story, and the metaphors that Bradbury uses are phenomenal.