Fahrenheit 451

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 10th grade June 2001

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Have you ever paid attention to the title of the chapters in a book? Did you know that they might be significant to the story? In the story Fahrenheit 451, one of the things that Ray Bradbury put in his book was the title in each chapter. In this novel each title to the three sections are significant to the general action occurring in that section.

The chapter titled " The Hearth and The Salamander" describes the beginning of the story and about society and Montag. It describes how the salamander represents Montag and the Hearth represents society. The hearth is a comforting fire, which symbolizes society in the story. The people are ignorant and don't know about anything. People didn't care that books were being burned. The society is comfortable with the destruction and the burning of books. All society was satisfied in their lives. The salamander symbolizes Montag. Salamanders could survive in fire and are able to removed itself from fire and still survive. Montage is trying to get out of society like a salamander tries to get out of fire. When Montag went to burn books at an old lady's house he notice that the lady loved her books and was going to stay and burn with her books. The old lady had a big influence on Montag and changed him on how he thought about books. Montag wants to turn away from society and wants to gain the knowledge of books. Therefore the title "The Hearth and the Salamander" describes how Montag is trying to get away from society.

The Chapter titled "The Sieve and the Sand" relates to how Montag tries to gain knowledge of books. Montag was on the subway trying to memorize a section in the Bible, but the words keep on slipping out of his head. Then he looked back, when he was a child, he tried to fill a sieve with sand. The quote, his hands were tired, the sand was boiling, the sieve was empty describes how hard he tired to fill the sieve with sand but it just couldn't be done. He thought that when he was reading the Bible it related to him fill the sieve. The words just went out of his head and wouldn't stay in. He had thought if he read faster some words might stay in his head but the words just fell through his head. Montag wants to gain knowledge by trying to memorize a section of the Bible but he was never taught to retain anything. As a result Montag couldn't gain any knowledge of books in the chapter, "The Sieve and the Sand." The last chapter "Burning Bight" relates to how the story is going to end. The quote, " that small motion, the white and red color, a strange fire because it meant a different thing to him" describes how he thought that the fire wasn't burning or destroying anything but the fire was warming to him. Montag had never seen fire look this way. He always saw it as burning something. The destruction and the burning of the city were significant to the title, "Burning Bright." Some jets had bombed the city and now the city was destroyed and burning. The quote, " The city looks like a heap of baking powder" describes how the city was long gone. The burning of the city was also a burning of hope for the rebirth of a new city. The hope they had for the rebirth of a new city was that the city would not have books being burned. Therefore the chapter "Burning Bright" describes the end of the book and how the fire that was burning the city was also a fire of hope for a new city.

The title of each section in the novel is significant to the actions occurring in each section of the book. So whenever you read a book pay attention to the chapter titles in each section and they might help you understand the section better.