What structural and literary devices are in pages 71-101 of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451?

Quick answer:

Fahrenheit 451’s second part, “The Sieve and the Sand,” contains numerous structural and literary devices. One significant structural device is flashback. Literary devices include metaphor, simile, imagery, symbolism, allusion, and hyperbole.

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Please note: The page numbers provided refer to the 1996 Del Rey/Ballantine edition, in which part 2 begins on page 71.

Ray Bradbury uses flashback for Montag’s memory of first meeting Professor Faber (p. 74). “[H]e found himself thinking of the green park a year ago….” Another instance is Montag’s memory of a visit to a church, where the images of saints were displayed (p. 95).

The author frequently uses metaphors. Montag tells Millie about the hospital breathing apparatus that restored her after her overdose, calling it a “snake” (p. 73). Referring to his difficulty in understanding the books’ meaning, he calls the content “mud” (p. 74).

Simile is also employed. One simile appears on page 73: “the parlor… was as dead and gray as the waters of an ocean….” While playing cards with Captain Beatty, Montag thinks of his fingers as animals (p. 105): “His fingers were like ferrets that had done some evil and now never rested, always stirred and picked and hid in pockets….”

Imagery is used consistently throughout this part of the novel. One especially vivid passage occupies most of page 95, in Montag’s flashback about the church visit. He recalls the visual qualities of the saints depicted there, including their “blood-ruby lips,” as well as the smells of incense and dust.

The meaning of the section’s title is provided through symbolism as well as flashback and imagery. Montag recalls a childhood experience at the beach (p. 78). The futility of constant striving to no avail symbolizes his frustrated desire to learn by reading, a frustration he hopes to overcome.

Once as a child he had sat upon a yellow dune by the sea in the middle of the blue and hot summer day, trying to fill a sieve with sand…. And the faster he poured, the faster it sifted through with a hot whispering. His hands were tired, the sand was boiling, the sieve was empty….

[T]he silly thought came to him, if you read fast and read all, maybe some of the sand will stay in the sieve.

Allusion is frequently featured. For example, Montag reads from Matthew Arnold’s poem "Dover Beach" (pp. 99–100). In several pages of dialogue during their card game, Captain Beatty alludes to numerous authors and their texts, sometimes quoting or paraphrasing a line from a play by William Shakespeare, whom he calls “Willie” while quoting from The Tempest: “A kind of excellent dumb discourse, Willie!” (p. 107).

Hyperbole is featured on page 73. Referring to the planes he hears flying overhead, Montag exclaims, “‘How in hell did those bombers get up there every single second of our lives!’”

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