Symbolance In William Bradbury's 'Fahrenheit 451'

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Beyond the Obvious Did you ever think twice after reading the titles of the three parts of Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451? Examining the symbolic meaning of the titles is precisely what I will be doing in this essay. Bradbury’s book is packed with symbols and themes throughout the plot, some more subliminal than others. The titles are significant to the story, helping to convey the plot as Montag goes from an ignorant fireman to a rebellious outcast. Each of the titles communicates its own message and symbols relating to Montag’s life. The Hearth and the Salamander symbolizes Montag’s relationship with fire, the Sieve and the Sand symbolizes knowledge and the mind, and Burning Bright symbolizes Montag’s new life and rebirth. Why Bradbury chose …show more content…
The Sieve and the Sand accurately displays the situation in the book at the moment. Montag is desperately trying to memorize the bible, but despite his best efforts he can’t retain the information. The process reminds Montag of when he was young and tried “to fill a sieve with sand . . . and the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering” (Bradbury 74). The sieve symbolizes the human mind, while the sand symbolizes truth and knowledge. Montag attempts to memorize the bible, but the information falls through like sand sifts through a sieve. Bradbury wanted to use this imagery to illustrate how difficult and painful the situation is for Montag. In spite of his best efforts, he is unable to convince Mildred of the importance of books. Increasingly frustrated, Montag begins making irrational decisions, such as waving the bible in front of pedestrians and carelessly tearing the bible, his hands “like two men working together, began to rip the pages from the book” (Bradbury 84). By being unable to fill the sieve with sand or his mind with knowledge, Montag is becoming emotional just as he was when he cried many years ago on the beach. This is not entirely the fault of Montag, as his futuristic society has made it difficult for people to learn and retain information, thus creating the sieve. The toothpaste commercials are just one of the many forms of entertainment that flushes out …show more content…
To start, many people and places literally burn bright. For one, Montag’s emotions are burning bright as he is forced to burn his house down giving “the entire room a gift of one huge bright yellow flower of burning, the fireproof plastic sheath on everything was cut wide and the house began to shudder with flame” (Bradbury 111). Along with the house burning bright from fire, Montag sets Beatty on fire killing him. Lastly, the city is leveled by bombs causing it to burn bright. In general, part three is very climatic, so the name burning bright works well for Bradbury with the current atmosphere of the story. Despite the literal meanings, it is clear that there is a deeper symbolic meaning that the author intended. Burning Bright symbolizes the destruction of the old and incoming of the new. The best comparison is a phoenix in which “every time he burnt himself up he sprang out of the ashes, he got himself born all over again. And it looks like we’re doing the same thing, over and over” (Bradbury 156). Granger is clearly explaining that mankind bears a resemblance to the phoenix. Montag’s past is burning away, such as his house, wife, job, and old life, but just like a phoenix he will be reborn. With this group of intellectuals, Montag will gain a new life, and the burning bright symbolizes a beacon of hope, that mankind will learn from its mistakes and rise from the ashes. Bradbury uses

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