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A Splash of Color: Color Psychology in Fahrenheit 451
Color changes the way we perceive the world by altering emotion. Although each person’s comprehension of color differs with individual experience, certain colors ubiquitously evoke specific emotions. When reading about color, the reader pictures the color in his or her mind, thus evoking certain feelings to help them comprehend the text. In the human brain, the color pink is known to have a calming effect and resembles child-like innocence whereas the color grey represents emptiness. By using the motif of renewal represented by the color pink in contrast with the motifs of desolation and decay represented by the color grey in the novel Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury shows the disconnect of the citizens in the dystopian society from the natural order. By describing certain body parts of the people in the dystopian society as pink, Bradbury reveals some of the naïve, primitive emotions that humans inherently feel. Contrarily, grey represents the lack of ability to think. After Mildred has been rescued from her overdose of sleeping pills, “Her cheeks were very pink and her lips were very fresh and full of color and they looked soft and relaxed. Someone else's blood there” (16). After being knocked out, the pink in Mildred’s lips represents a physical rebirth of her body as she is resuscitated. Although Mildred is physically returning to the natural order, for she is regaining her life, with someone else’s blood circulating through her veins, she is losing a part of herself. This means she is being rebirthed as something different from what she was. By defying the order of birth, Mildred delinks herself from the natural order. Instead of suffering pain like a normal newborn, Mildred feels nothing. Without true struggle and pain, Mildred has no basis for happiness, making the quality of her life decrease. Moreover, sleep is the most vulnerable state for a human being, thus
through using the colors pink and grey in contrast to describe the actions of Beatty. disconnecting them from the natural order. By studying the ash. Eyes. Beatty is ironically using his knowledge and ability to think to reflect on . Additionally. reflect the inner thoughts of a person. studied the ashes as if they were a symbol to be diagnosed and searched for meaning” (59). his duty is to increase the amount of ash in society by literally burning knowledge in the form of books. As Montag is running down the street to avoid government capture. the citizens of this society are not able to synthesize emotion thus. Without the ability to think. life does not have any true meaning. the author is saying that the only time that people in society are innocent are when they sleep. Because the members of this society reflect back grey light in their eyes. a government official. is represented through his pink hand. Beatty’s prior knowledge. for the grey represents mental decay and loss of emotion. While Beatty is at Montag’s house to warn him about the adverse effects of knowledge. because of their reflective surfaces and their ability to portray emotion.Sarah Crucilla English 10 11/27/13 1 by describing unconsciousness as innocent when Mildred is knocked out. he “imagined thousands on thousands of faces peering into yards. like grey animals peering from electric caves. Bradbury proves their lack of ability to think for themselves. represent Beatty’s struggle between knowledge and his governmental duty to stop learning through the burning of books. On the other hand the grey appearance of the other average citizens when they are awake resembles their collective lack of ability to think. as well as Montag’s struggle to connect with nature. Bradbury portrays Beatty’s. Without the ability to synthesize ideas and emotion. faces with grey colorless eyes” (139). for they do not have the ability to synthase their own ideas and feel emotion. which are grey in color. As a fireman. The ashes that are laying in Beatty’s hand. acquired from reading. “Beatty knocked his pipe into the palm of his pink hand.
thus creating a life in which there is meaning for him. Through this. Furthermore. The pink cinders represent the innocence and renewal of a new day. Moreover. rising and waving slowly back and forth in the sky” (117). By destroying Montag’s house. through the contrast of pink and grey in nature. thus advocating for mechanisms that quell individuality. which is pink. Bradbury reflects the struggles of dystopian society to connect back to the natural order. Instead of living with the soulless people in society. Beatty is connected to the natural order. “It bedded itself down in sleepy pinkgrey cinders and a smoke plume blew over it. By burning down his house. rather than meaning created by society. This rebirth is reflected onto Montag both physically and mentally. this pink light represents the rebirth of knowledge within society. impacting the way he lives his life. fell in a heap of coal and ash. the contrast of the pink cinders with the grey ones represent how. exterior of this dystopian society. “Beatty’s pink. Beatty is giving Montag a chance to restart his life somewhere else. giving him a chance to restart his life.Sarah Crucilla English 10 11/27/13 1 government actions. he is physically destroying the remnants of his failed relationship with Mildred. shines as a beacon of light in the grey darkness of night. After Montag’s house. Although this proves that he is ultimately a government figure. which he burned down himself. when Beatty is driving up to Montag’s house to burn it down because of the illegal books inside of it. Montag will be able to live with people who are full of knowledge. changing from that of a government official to that of a revolutionary who likes books. even through the rebirth of new . phosphorescent cheeks glimmered in the high darkness” (110). for he has the ability to think for himself. Because Beatty has read books and thus has an ability to think for himself. Montag is now able to alter his ideas without the influence of government. Furthermore. he can then work together with them to lead back to the natural order. By disconnecting from the government Montag is able to begin to think for himself. Further. Beatty’s glowing skin.
so fully aware of the world that he would be afraid. thus proving that much like a child. instead of the slight emotion changes of the members of the citizens. This connects Montag to the natural order. the hobos “finished eating and put out the fire. leaning back towards the natural order in which humans can work together to create a society that maximizes each person’s interests. In addition. After the bomb was dropped on the city. The pink light of dawn resembles renewal of a new day as well as the rebirth of Montag’s life. the pink dawn represents the renewal of society. for it proves that he is reflecting on the past. with its innocent. In addition. horrible events. marks the places within the novel in which people regain their righteousness and the environment they live in is rebirthed. waiting for him. He would step carefully down. thus repeating similar. child-like connotations. people are not able to learn from their mistakes. The color pink. the past will still be there. Like a piece of clay that has not been sculpted. Montag can now create ideas instead of just postulating them together. and stand over the small miracle and at last bend to touch it” (143). Through this change. Montag’s hypersensitivity to the world proves that he now has the ability to learn new facts. after escaping the city. This links him to the natural human cycle of feeling a full range of emotion. Much like a newborn baby who has not experienced many of the things the world has to offer. this society now has the ability to be re-sculpted to include aspects of knowledge. Without reflection on the past. wiping out society completely. after Montag has met the hobos and the city has been destroyed by a bomb. .Sarah Crucilla English 10 11/27/13 1 ideas. Montag pictures that “there at the bottom of the hayloft stair. would be the incredible thing. The day was brightening all about them as if a pink lamp had been given more wick” (164). Montag will slip out of the dystopian society’s illusion of happiness. Moreover. children have imagination. for he will be able to feel a full range of emotions with his new knowledge of everything in the world. in the pink light of early morning. while dreaming about an illusionary farm.
Without emotion. they are not able to feel or enjoy life. destroying ones ability to create purpose and meaning in his or her life. dank connotations of the word grey mark the places in which thought is quelled in distinct repel from the natural order. . leading them to forget the emotions they feel with these experiences and altering their perceptions of thought.Sarah Crucilla English 10 11/27/13 1 The dark. When one steps away from nature. one becomes an automaton of his or herself. he or she steps out of the natural cycle of life. controlled by an external source rather than their own brains. but just move around.