Analyzing the Changing Role of Fire in Fahrenheit 451

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Objective

SWBAT cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text by using quotations from Fahrenheit 451 to develop and support comments on character and theme.

Big Idea

The sun burns time. Montag burns houses. Is fire always bad?

Getting Started

20 minutes

At the beginning of class, we will review the homework. Students read 15 pages, selected a quote they liked and wrote about their choice in a paragraph (W.9-10.10 and RL.9-10.1). Each student will share from their homework today (SL.9-10.1).

 

Read: Everything burns

20 minutes

Before we pick up the reading, I will review an important section of their reading from their homework, which I explain here (RL.9-10.1).

 

Some students may have selected this quote in their written homework, in which case, we will discuss their homework last, so that it leads into the next section of reading. These lines are an important realization for Montag, who views fire as something that destroys, and he seen enough destruction.

 

Then we will pick up in the reading: pages 145-155. Immediately, Montag sees fire in a new light. It isn't destroying, but warming (RL.9-10.2). He has come across a traveling group of vagrants in the woods, sitting around a campfire. This marks the beginning of the end of the novel. Granger and the men in the forest show Montag a different life, the one he has been searching for; they sit and talk about everything, they sit in silence, they listen to each other. He sees this especially in contrast to what's happening in the city. They show Montag that the search in continuing without him because it's better to end successfully, killing another "Montag," than admitting that they lost him. We have talked and written about fire in this novel already, so we are prepared to contemplate the change in the role of fire and its symbolism. They will cite specifics from the text in order to comment on this change (RL.9-10.1).

Journal

15 minutes

After reading, we will write a journal response (W.9-10.10). I will ask students to think about what Montag is looking for in the faces of the men in the forest. He watches them and:

 

"He was looking for a brightness, a resolve, a triumph over tomorrow that hardly seemed to be there. Perhaps he had expected their faces to burn and glitter with the knowledge they carried, to glow as lanterns glow, with the light in them. But all the light had come from the campfire, and these men had seemed to different than any others who had run a long race, searched a long search, seen good things destroyed, and now, very late, were gathering to wait for the end of the party and the blowing out of the lamps."

 

Here are three short responses: example 1, example 2, and example 3. This is a good place to pause in the reading and write because it puts them in a position similar to Montag: he is searching for something and this question asks them to search for it too. Therefore, we're not really looking for the "right answer" here, but to search in the same way that Montag does (RL.9-10.4).

Character Charts

5 minutes

We will have a few minutes at the end of class to update our character chart. We met Granger in our reading today, so we will fill in the last box with his information. At this point, it's easy to see how similar some of the characters are: Clarisse and Faber are both described as pale, Granger and Clarisse are both like candlelight (RL.9-10.3).

 

Here's an example.