Literary Essay Example: Fahrenheit 451 Narrative Structure

Published: 2022-02-21
Literary Essay Example: Fahrenheit 451 Narrative Structure
Essay type:  Narrative essays
Categories:  Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1275 words
11 min read

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is a dystopian story revolving around an era when books were banned, and it was illegal to find anyone in possession of the book. The story generally has three major parts which involves the introduction of the story and the protagonist, followed by the section where the protagonist meets a dilemma and has to seek advice from Faber, and the last part where the protagonist is faced with the challenge of running away from his family and life before the denouement of the narrative. Ray Bradbury uses different and unique styles in achieving the best way to tell the story but the one that allows the successful flow of the story is the application of the narrative structure. A narrative structure refers to the literary element offering a structural framework underlying the order in which a story is presented to the audience. This paper aims to discuss the several steps of the narrative structure and how the author utilized this element to tell the traditional parts of the Fahrenheit 451.

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Exposition often offers the significant background information on a story such as the backstory of the challenge before it is encountered or even the characters. The exposition starts when the author began by introducing the main character Montag who is a fireman that enjoys his work, which mainly entails burning books. The reader encounters this sentiment from Montag's statement, "It was a pleasure to burn" (1). Ray Bradbury goes the extra length to describe the protagonist as an individual who possesses a unique art of burning books. In this context, the audience encounters a dystopian world in autumn that is far advanced than the current society regarding medicine and technology. Such events stir curiosity in the readers and as questions relating to why an advanced society would resort to burning books. The latter part of the exposition in the story comes when one day Montag meets Clarrise and in their conversation, Clarisse asks him if he is happy. Though the question appears to be innocent, it ushers in the sense of conflict in Montag who starts questioning his work. The conflict in the book is furthered when Montag encounters Mildred as she attempts suicide by burning herself along with her books. Despite the fact that Montag has often enjoyed his line of work for a long time, watching Mildred creates a conflict on why someone would go to such extent and ends up taking a book, an item that he should be destroying.

The Rising Action

Rising action refers to a series of events that help in creating interest, suspense and tension within a narrative and Ray Bradbury employs this on several occasions. The rising action is used in the book to highlight Montag exploring free thought. The rising action begins after Montag witnessed the old woman burning herself along with her books out of the fact that she never seeks to use fire as a source of strength and not destruction. The event sickened Montag and he begins to question his role in building or destroying the society. Montag slowly learns about the history of the cities and how everything was before the command to burn books when Captain Beatty explains why they burn books after realizing that Montag took a book. The revelation opens Montag's eyes and triggers curiosity. The element allows the reader to see a change of heart in Montag but develops suspense as the audience are left to wonder whether Montag will go against everything he believed in, which was that books are bad. The rising action thus helps the readers to transcend into liking Montag who has suddenly gotten a passion for reading and is finally enlightened.


The climax is a literary element that helps the reader see the struggle between two forces within a story, and in this book, it is Montag, a previously honest fireman who enjoyed burning books, and the system that encouraged him to burn books. The climax begins when Montag decides to read a poem to his wife and friends who had come to his place to watch television. The group are utterly disgusted and offended and they threaten Montag that they would file a complaint against him. However, the first sense of climax occurs when it is Montag's wife who reports him for possessing and reading books. In turn, this surfaces Captain Beatty's suspicion. The conflict of the story, nonetheless, occurs when Montag and Captain Beatty receives an alarm only to realize that it is own house that should be burned down. The point here highlights the aspect of loyalty as Montag's wife chose to be loyal to her preserved way of life and not her husband. The epitome of the climax occurs when Montag is forced to burn his house down. It is in this process that the author reveals the struggling forces as Captain Beatty knocks Montag on the head and dislodges the earphone that Montag used in communicating with one of the rebels known as Faber (Bradbury 112). When the Captain promises to hunt down Faber, Montag is forced to confront the opposing force by killing Beatty and flees for his safety.

Falling Action

Falling action is the part of the narrative that presents the audience with the prevailing force after the establishment of the climax and in this case, it begins with Montag running away while being hunted by the Mechanical Hound. In this part of the narrative, the author successfully shows the decision made by the protagonist and hints to the audience the possible solution to the problem encountered in the exposition. Though Montag is wounded while running from the Mechanical Hound, he recovers and kills the predator. It is evident that the author relaxes the tension that occurred at the climax by showing that the protagonist is prevailing against the forces that were against him. At this point, the protagonist, Montag, rises above the antagonist which is the system that banned books. However, the other suspense occurs and the readers are left to wonder how Montag will resolve the existing issue. The author presents the solution when Montag starts to go to the homes owned by the firefighters to give each of them books. The final suspense occurs when Montag flees from Faber's house while he is haunted by another Mechanical Hound. The falling action ends with a subtle victory when Montag jumps into a river and is carried to a different location.


The denouement is the last part of the story highlighting resolution of conflicts by creating a sense of catharsis. Ray Bradbury provides this by showing that the character is ushered into the community of readers outside the city. The other readers offer Montag comforts while the city TVs lie that Montag died hence presenting renewal and restoration among the audience. The bomb that goes off in the city resolves the conflict allowing Montag and the other readers who had left the city to go back and help to build an Elysium that allows reading.


The book Fahrenheit 451 utilizes all the elements of the narrative structure explicitly thus creating an easy flow of the story and allowing the readers to shift with the current of proper storytelling. Ray Bradbury used all the necessary elements of narrative structure by first presenting the audience with the background information, followed by events that build up to the greatest interest or climax and then unravelling the conflict of the story before offering the solution. Therefore, the story development using the narrative structure allows the audience to easily follow up on the events narrated by the author.

Work Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. Ballantine Books, 2010.

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Literary Essay Example: Fahrenheit 451 Narrative Structure. (2022, Feb 21). Retrieved from

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