In "Fahrenheit 451" why is part 2 titled "The Sieve and the Sand"? How does this refer to Montag and his situation?
The second section of "Fahrenheit 451", entitled "The Sieve and the Sand" refers specifically and literally to a passage in that section where Montag has a memory from his childhood. He remembers "trying to fill a sieve with sand," because a cousin had said that he'd give Montag a dime if he could do it. But, "the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through," leaving it completely empty. So, that is the literal meaning.
Symbolically, the sieve represents Montag's desire to pour books and knowledge into his brain, but how "he read and the words fell through" without him...
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Symbolically, the sieve represents Montag's desire to pour books and knowledge into his brain, but how "he read and the words fell through" without him remembering any of it. He just kept pouring and pouring, but none of the words, or the wisdom, stuck.
Another possible symbol for the sieve and the sand is how in Montag's society, they pour all sorts of information at the kids, but it is useless information that doesn't matter, that isn't relevant to life or happiness. They do this in order to make people "feel they're thinking...and they'll be happy."