Ask a question

What does the symbol of the Salamander mean in Fahrenheit 451?

In Fahrenheit 451, there are several references to the Salamander badge for the firemen. What does it mean?

4 Answers by Expert Tutors

Tutors, sign in to answer this question.
David O. | Years of Experience in Many AreasYears of Experience in Many Areas
5.0 5.0 (1 lesson ratings) (1)

As bit of trivia, the reason the salamander is associated with fire, according to a history professor, is that when a wet log was thrown on a fire, salamanders would flee from crevices in the log.  Further, the slime on their bodies would react to the fire by forming a foam.  So many medieval people thought that salamanders were born in fire and started their lives with a fur coat.

Linda W. | CERTIFIED English, Spanish teacher experienced also in test prep.CERTIFIED English, Spanish teacher exper...

The salamander, long ago, was thought to live through fire.  Fire, of course, is instrumental in this novel, and so, the salamander is a symbol that is connected  to the symbol of fire and the destruction that fire causes in this novel.  However, there is survival through all this destruction, just like the salamander's ability to survive fire.:-)

Cathy S. | No Tears Tutoring! Individualized, Patient, and Empathic.No Tears Tutoring! Individualized, Pati...
5.0 5.0 (2 lesson ratings) (2)

In medieval times, it was thought that salamanders were born of fire, and could survive fire.  Later in history, cloth woven of asbestos was called salamander.  The salamander as a symbol of fire is drawn from these sources.

Chris S. | ESL, English, math, biblical studies, computer, philosophyESL, English, math, biblical studies, co...
5.0 5.0 (1 lesson ratings) (1)

The firemen had a salamander as their symbol since there was a myth that salamanders could live through fire.