Directions: Read through this model Part III once just for the gist. On your second read through, highlight the central idea, literary device, claim, evidence, and all parts of the interpretation that you see using this key.
central idea = BOLD literary device = underline claim (C) = yellow evidence (E) = lime interpretation (I)
explanation of quote = teal
connection to lit. device = purple connection to central idea = blue
In his novel,
, Ray Bradbury presents the central idea that humans need to
feel a connection with others in order to be fulfilled. He believes that people are negatively impacted when they do not form friendships or have love for one another. Many of the characters who live in
Bradbury’s futuristic society are unable to create meaningful bonds, which makes them unpleasant people. Bradbury uses characterization to demonstrate this central idea.
One of the main characters in the novel, Clarisse, describes herself as, “very social indeed”
(pg. 29). Clarisse is not like the people around her because she takes the time to really see the world, she is generous, and she is selfless. Because of these positive traits, she is able to befriend another character, Montag, and she feels fulfillment and lives happily until her untimely death. On the other hand, Mildred is the opposite of Clarisse because she is selfish and unobservant. Her husband indirectly characterizes her as, “a little girl lost on a plateau where there used to be trees,” and says that “the walls were always talking to Mildred” (pg. 44). This means that Mildred’s character has become totally disconnected from other people and even from the real world, making her unable to form a true bond with her husband or her “friends” because she is constantly watching television; she is actually so deeply unfulfilled that she later tries to commit suicide. Mrs. Phelps is a final example of what happens to people who do not form meaningful connections with others. She can be characterized as heartless, self-centered, and unintelligent. When speaking about her husband, she says, “It’s our third marriage and we’re independent” (pg. 95). Marriage should not be taken lightly and should occur when two people truly love each other; the fact that Mrs. Phelps has been married three times and admits that she would be unaffected if her husband died in the war shows just how shallow her relationships are, as well as how meaningless her life is.
Through his use of characterization, Bradbury provides his readers with examples of characters who lead both full and empty lives in order to demonstrate the concept that humans need to feel a connection with others in order to be fulfilled. Clarisse, a social girl who seeks out relationships with others, lives a meaningful life, while Mildred and Mrs. Phelps both fail to create or maintain bonds with others, causing neither to know real happiness nor to live purposeful lives.