Part One is entitled "The Hearth and the Salamander," which are two symbols that represent Montag's life as a fireman. A hearth is the brick stone in front of a fireplace and is traditionally a symbol of the home, which corresponds to Montag's life as a fireman. Montag's occupation as...
Part One is entitled "The Hearth and the Salamander," which are two symbols that represent Montag's life as a fireman. A hearth is the brick stone in front of a fireplace and is traditionally a symbol of the home, which corresponds to Montag's life as a fireman. Montag's occupation as a fireman takes precedence in his life, and he enjoys the sensation of burning books. Bradbury illustrates how burning novels for a living affects Montag by writing,
"Montag grinned the fierce grin of all men singed and driven back by flame. He knew that when he returned to the firehouse, he might wink at himself, a minstrel man, burntcorked, in the mirror. Later, going to sleep, he would feel the fiery smile still gripped by his face muscles, in the dark. It never went away, that smile, it never ever went away, as long as he remembered" (1).
Essentially, Montag's job as a fireman encompasses his entire life, which extends to his home and influences his personality. Therefore, the hearth, which relates to fire and the home environment, is the dominant image in Montag's life at the beginning of the novel.
The salamander in the title of Part One relates to the symbol on Montag's uniform and is the name of their firetruck. The salamander also symbolically represents Montag's life as a fireman. In ancient times, it was believed that salamanders were mythical creatures that could survive in fire. There are several images of the salamander depicted in Part One. Bradbury writes,
"He [Montag] stood in the hall of his house, putting on his badge with the orange salamander burning across it" (8).
Aside from being etched in the logo of the firemen's uniforms, the salamander is also the name of their firetruck. On their way back to the station, Bradbury writes,
"They sat there looking out of the front of the great salamander as they turned a corner and went silently on" (19).
Overall, both the hearth and the salamander are significant images that symbolically represent the way that fire dominates Montag's professional and personal life at the beginning of the novel.