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Symbols in Fahrenheit 451
Transcript of Symbols in Fahrenheit 451
The Sieve and the Sand
The title of part 2 refers back to Montag's childhood memory of trying to fill a sieve with sand to get a dime from his cousin. No matter how fast he put sand into the sieve, it would still fall through and he could not contain any of it.
This represents his attempt to memorize the bible. The more he reads, the more he forgets.
Towards the end of the novel...
Towards the end of the novel, fire becomes a symbol for life. Fire provides Montag, Granger, and their companions with warmth while they are living in the homeless camps along the railroad track.
The Hearth and the Salamander
The hearth, or a fireplace, is a traditional symbol for a home. This relates to the image of fire as a means of warmth and life.
In the beginning of the novel...
In the beginning of the novel, fire is used solely for the purpose of destruction. The firemen burn down the homes of innocent people and the life's work of numerous authors.
The Salamander is the official symbol for the firemen, which they wear as a patch on their chest. It is also what they name their fire trucks.
This refers to the ancient belief that fire salamanders could live in fire, just as the fire-proof suits allow the firemen to be unaffected by fire.
Symbols in Fahrenheit 451
A symbol is a literary device that contains several layers of meaning. It is when the author uses an object or action to represent something more than what it literally means.
The sand is a symbol of the truth Montag seeks and hopes to find by reading the bible.
The sieve s a symbol for the human mind, representing the inability of the people in this society to grasp or contain any important information.
In part 1 of the novel, Montag refers to Clarisse as a mirror. Clarisse, a foil character, reflects Montag's attributes and makes them apparent to himself. She is the one that makes him realize that he is unhappy, he does not love his wife, and that he never stops to think about anything.
At the end of the novel, Granger says they must build a mirror factory so that every one in their society can take a good look at themselves. This reference of mirrors symbolizes the need for the people to see themselves clearly.
Throughout the novel, blood refers to human feelings. Whenever Montag realizes or feels something, he feels it coursing through his blood.
Mildred, however, is quite the opposite. Whenever she may feel something, like when she tries to commit suicide, her blood is replaced by the "mechanical snake". Her blood has been poisoned by the pills and is replaced by the government workers.
451 degrees Fahrenheit
After the city is bombed, Granger compares their society to a phoenix, rising from the ashes and starting over again. This represents the new life that they hope will happen for this society, as well as Montag's spiritual rebirth.
451 becomes the symbolic number for the firemen. The wear the number on their helmet to represent the temperature at which paper bursts in to flames.