The Hearth and the Salamander is the title of the first section of Fahrenheit 451. The meaning of The Hearth and the Salamander can be symbolic and straight forward. The word “hearth” is a brick/stone fireplace, often with an oven, used for heating and originally also used for cooking food. Since the hearth is usually a home’s central and most important feature, which the concept has been generalized to refer to the household, as “hearth and home” and “keep the home fires burning”. The salamander is one of the official symbols of the firemen in the book, as well as what they call their fire trucks. There are ancient beliefs that salamanders live in fire and is unaffected by flames. Both of these symbols are related to fire, the image that dominated Guy Montag’s life. The opening chapters of Fahrenheit 451 talk about how being a fireman effects Montag’s life, especially after meeting Clarisse McClellan who, along with her family, lives a lifestyle that is unlawful for their time. The books that Montag and the rest of the fire department burn keeps people from knowing about the old fashion way of living that Clarisse and her folks take part of. This old fashion way the books refer to is the way we live today. Montag’s hearth (home) is greatly affected by salamander style of living he lives by. The two (Hearth and the Salamander) go hand in hand in the story.
Montag begins to doubt his profession and become more understanding towards those who want to live the old way. The Sieve and the Sand is a very straightforward and symbolic title. It refers to two events in Montag’s life that are being compared through the reader’s interpretation. As a child Guy’s mischievous cousin challenged him to fill a sieve full of beach sand in exchange for a dime. A sieve is a kitchen tool used to separate lumps from powdered material, straining liquids, grading particles, it usually has a container with small holes in the bottom through which the material is shaken or poured so of course, the more sand that the he put into the sieve, the more sand that fell through the holes. This upset Montag to the point of crying. Later in the book, Montag was on the train trying to memorize the bible in fear that he could have the last copy. He was reading as fast as possible hoping that the information in the bible would stay in his mind. An advertisement was making him loose concentration and therefore the information was slipping through his mind.
It reminded him of the “Sieve and the Sand” incident from earlier in his life that was so upsetting to him. The modern world in the novel counts on this inability to concentrate. This life without books has encouraged people to live for moment so to speak. Everywhere you go there’s mindless sound such as the advertisement that makes people to be unable concentrate and seriously think. People who can’t think are more easily controlled. Montag feel as if banning books has made people’s minds turn into sieves unable to hold thought. Burning Bright has a title that to me symbolizes how the story ends because of why it began. That being fire. However the fire I’m talking about is not just combustion. Earlier in the story Clarisse asked Guy questions that burned in his mind eventually making him question his occupation and his lifestyle. Of course there was plenty of combustion in the story with the burning of books, the dropping of bombs and the “firing” of Beatty.
Not only did this fire have a negative impact in the beginning but eventually Montag realized that setting his house on fire was satisfying. It became apparent that burning the city down was the way that the city can rise like a phoenix and become a new and free society the exiled intellectuals desired. In this story, the role of fire was divided. First you have its negative role which consisted of alienating Montag and the other people in this new modern world from the knowledge of the past. Then you have its positive role which consists of giving Guy a new start, giving him the opportunity to live in a better society. Fire did this by protecting him from Beatty, destroying his house that promoted the modern lifestyle and destroying the city the lived that way. That fire was burning bright and showing how Montag’s life would end up being better after the fiery destruction. The brightness resembled Guy’s triumph over the modern lifestyle.