Explain how the titles to the three parts of Fahrenheit 451 are significant to the general action that occurs within each part.
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Section 1 is entitled "The Hearth and the Salamander". The hearth (which represents the home or a fire within the home) has two significant aspects in this chapter. It first refers to the relationships (or lack of) that Montag has with his wife, boss, and Clarisse, and also refers to the woman who allowed herself to be burned down with her house and her books because of the impact that this event had on Montag. The Salamander is a symbol of the firemen.
Section 2 is entitled "The Sieve and the Sand". This refers to a memory that Montag has in this chapter. He recalls a time when he was very young that he was playing with a sieve and watched sand drain through it. It symbolizes how the ideas that have been drilled into Montag's head from the government are beginning to be drained from him as he realizes the real importance of reading.
Section 3's title "Burning Bright" can refer to the city burning down and how Montag sees it as he is safe in hiding with the book people or Montag's mind being metaphorically "on fire" with all of the knowledge that he has acquired.
"The Hearth and the Salamander"
These two items are evocative of Montag's job as a fireman. The hearth is linked to fire, for example, while the salamander is one of the firemen's official symbols. This is significant because Part One of the novel introduces and develops the idea that Montag is dissatisfied with his job and is beginning to question the firemen system more generally.
"The Sieve and the Sand"
The image of trying to fill a sieve with sand is reminiscent of Montag's struggle to gain knowledge during Part Two. He wants to understand the world contained in books, for example, which leads him to meet with Faber. Together, the two men concoct a plan which will enable them to bring down the fireman system.
This is linked to the destruction of the city, which takes place at the end of the novel. This destruction creates an optimistic ending, however, because it suggests that Montag and his group will successfully rebuild the city and convince the survivors to read again.
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