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Fahrenheit 451 Section Symbols Essay

By rkaur Sep 28, 2011 790 Words
Rashmeet Kaur
Mrs. Falato
8th grade Advanced Language Arts
25 August 2010
Ray Bradbury’s timeless classic, Fahrenheit 451, is divided into three sections. The title of each section has a meaning relevant to the story. The first section being, “The Hearth and the Salamander” also has a significance. When fire was first discovered, it was used for good things, like for warmth, cooking food, etc. for those people, fire was essentially a savior, and it represented comfort and survival. Hence, the hearth also represents how fire was formerly used and seen as good. The hearth, also a traditional symbol of the home, represents Montag’s home life, his relationship with Mildred, the parlor, and Clarisse. At the start of Fahrenheit 451 the hearth, or fireplace, is know for giving warmth and goodness. In the beginning of the novel, fire is described as positive and non-destructive.

A salamander is a mythical creature believed to live and survive in fire. In Fahrenheit 451 a salamander is a fire truck.. The salamander also represents how fire in Montag's society is used for and seen as evil. Somewhere along the way, society and people have twisted the originally good qualities of fire into something destructive and terrible. The same thing that warmed homes and allowed the ancients to survive, is now used to destroy homes and the ideas of the ancients. Montag, in a perspective way, does survive fire. Because he starts the fires, he is never under suspicion. The salamander is symbolic of Guy Montag who is described as a one because he works with fire, enduring its danger. Yet, he continues to believe that he can escape the fire and survive, much like a salamander does. Both the hearth and the salamander deal with fire, which is a major aspect in Montag’s life.

The second section of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is called “The Sieve and the Sand”. The sieve and the sand are symbols and metaphors in the second part of the book. They represent Montag’s quest for knowledge, and being incapable of holding on to all that he wants and needs to remember. “The Sieve and the Sand’ refers to two incidents: one from his childhood and one from the present. In the incident from his childhood, a wicked cousin challenged Montag to fill a sieve with sand for a dime. He of course is unable to do so. Montag ends up frustrated, tired, and with no sand in the sieve. The other incident involves Montag's attempts to memorize the Book of Ecclesiastes from the Bible, but the jingle from the advertisement for Denham's Dentifrice keeps playing while Montag is on the train. The words to Ecclesiastes fall through his memory just like the sand went through the sieve all those years ago. Just as he was as a child, Guy Montag is frustrated at his inability to hang onto the words he's trying to memorize. This world he lives in without books has encouraged people to live for the immediate moment; it's a world of sound bites and expediency. By filling every place with mindless sounds such as the advertisement jingle, people can't concentrate and do any serious thinking. If people can't think, they are much more easily controlled.“…if you read fast and read all, maybe some sand will stay in the sieve. But, he read and the words fell through…” (78). This is just what society, and the government in the book, want people to be like. By banning books, people's minds have been turned into sieves unable to hold thought.

The third and final section of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is entitled “Burning Bright”. This title can apply to two different ideas. The first being the sun. The sun is always burning brightly in the sky. The sun burns time, as well as itself. “The sun burnt everyday. It burned time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him” (141). He explains that he would have to stop burning or the sun would have to stop burning. But, he understood that the sun can not stop burning. So, he had to stop what he was doing.

The second idea is how the campers or the “Book People” have decided to memorize books. Their plan is to memorize while there are still books and then when the war is over they’ll be able to rewrite them. Their future will be bright because of the books. Granger, the leader of the “Book People”, and the others want to preserve literature through the Dark Ages.

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