Fahrenheit 451 Themes, Symbols, & Motifs

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for Fahrenheit 451


Fahrenheit 451 Themes

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Activity Overview


Valuable aspects of any literary work are its themes, symbols, and motifs. Part of the Common Core ELA standards is to introduce and explain these complex concepts. However, abstract ideas are often difficult for students to anatomize without assistance. Using a storyboard, students can visually demonstrate their understanding of these concepts, and master analysis of literary elements. For best practices, see our article with specific lesson plan steps on setting up your classroom and activities to teach themes, symbols, and motifs.

In the classroom, students can track the themes this novel uses to send a strong message to readers about free thought and knowledge.


Fahrenheit 451 Themes to Look For & Discuss

Knowledge vs. Ignorance

A major theme throughout the novel is the struggle between these two concepts. From the beginning, the people in this futuristic society have the perception of 'knowledge'. From the descriptions explaining the large role of media in the society to the interactive TV dramas that incorporate the viewer, the people appear well connected and informed. The media gives the perception that they have knowledge. However, this is not true; society has immersed themselves in the media to the point that they have become ignorant. Instead of thinking deeply and gaining knowledge from books and education, they have retreated into shallow feelings and comfortable media.


Censorship

In the novel, books are banned because the government believes they are dangerous to society. People's thoughts are also censored, as well as their actions. When Montag tries to explain his curiosity with books to his wife, she turns him into authorities out of fear.


Symbols and Motifs to Look For & Discuss

Fire

In the novel, fire and firemen are a paradox. Instead of fighting fires, firemen start them. Fire is often used to symbolize destruction, but also passion, or enlightenment. For Montag, fire represents the destructive nature of his work: condemnation and censorship. However, it also signifies the enlightenment that books later bring to his life.


Books

Books and knowledge symbolically threaten people's beliefs, begin revolutions, or change a society. Historically, books have frequently been looked at with a watchful eye, sometimes being banned or censored.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in Fahrenheit 451. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.


  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from Fahrenheit 451 you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for the example(s) that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

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