Stephen being happy, so what has changed he asked

Stephen Rauch

Mrs. Hentges

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AP Lang and Comp

21 December 2017

Quarter
2 Dialectical Journals

Fahrenheit
451

Section 1- The Hearth and the
Salamander

Synopsis
of Section 1 Title- The hearth, by definition, is a noun that can represent
either the floor of a fireplace or a symbol on one’s home. As the reader begins
reading section 1 they have no idea of all the events to come and how they
build on the plot. But, as the reader comes to a close, the irony in this
section, titled, “The Hearth and the Salamander” begins to show itself. In
short, the salamander is a symbol of the firemen while the hearth serves as
symbolism to the relationship of Montag and others, or lack thereof.

Journal 1-

“The
salamander devours his tail” (86)!

            Response
to Journal 1-

Throughout
the book Montag goes from enjoying his fireman position, and all the book
burning that comes along with it, to plotting attacks against other fireman and
taking revenge for their cruel acts. The reason for Montag’s shift, and why he
went from burning books to reading them, is because he realized that the
society he lives in now is a generally unhappy place; however, he can remember
society in the past as being happy, so what has changed he asked himself? He
pieces it together and realizes that because of books disappearing and
basically whipped off the earth, there must be something enjoyable about them
he just needed some proof to support his hypothesis. That’s when an old lady
decides to burn herself along with her house fill of books, this shows Montag that
there must be something truly compelling about books if she is willing to die
for them. Montag was so intrigued by her sacrifice he decides to steal one of
her books and see what the big fuss is. Compelled to end the fireman system,
Montag calls on a friend Faber and they devise an insidious plan to plant books
in fireman’s houses. This is where the quote gets its meaning. When a
salamander eats it’s a chunk of his tail, he is essentially an animal killing
itself, so when Montag plants a book in another fireman’s house he is forcing
that fireman to burn down his own house. This is a subtle but fantastic analogy
Bradbury includes to relate the firemen to animals for essentially killing
themselves. 

Section 2- The Sieve and the Sand

Synopsis
of Section 2 Title- A sieve is essentially a filter that sifts the big
particles from the small particles and in this instance; Ray Bradbury is
referring to a sieve sifting through sand. Montag recalls a memory in this
section of when he was just a little kid, playing with a sieve and some sand as
he watched the sand slowly slip through the sieve until it’s all gone. This
symbolizes how the ideas that have been drilled into Montag’s, and other
societal members, head from the government are beginning to be drained as he
realizes the importance of reading.

            Journal 2-

“…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” (78).

            Response to
Journal 2-

Throughout
the section, “The Sieve and the Sand” Montag has struck a moral dilemma
involving the book he stole from the old ladies house, and how it may be the
last bible in existence. He contemplates giving Beatty, his fire chief, a substitute
book but he realizes that if Beatty knows which book he took, then he Beatty
might think he has a multitude of books. He decides the best option is to
produce a duplicate copy. As his wife stays home with two other friends,
engrossed in television, Montag decides to take the subway to Faber’s and on
the way, tries to quickly skim the bible and memorize verses. Montag arrives at
Faber’s with the bible, alleviating Faber of his fears, and asks him to teach
him how to understand what he means. Faber suggests that Montag doesn’t
understand the real reason for his unhappiness but rather that he is guessing
the disappearance of books to unhappiness-because that’s all he knows of that
has disappeared. After some conversing, Faber finally insists to Montag that it
is not the book themselves but rather the meaning they hold. Faber goes on to
describe how other existing sources of media, such as television and radio, can
contain the same meaning it’s just not demanded anymore. The symbol of, “The
Sieve and the Sand”, comes from one of Montag’s childhood memories of trying to
fill a sieve with sand on a beach to get a dime from his cousin. He compares
this memory and the futility of the task to his attempt to read the whole bible
as quickly as possible on the subway ride to Faber’s in hopes that he will
retain some of the material. In this memory, the sand is symbolic of the truth,
the truth that Montag seeks throughout the novel, while the sieve is the human
mind actively seeking that truth. This metaphor simply suggests that truth is
elusive and impossible to grasp in any permanent way.

Journal 2B-

Do
you know why books such as this are important? Because they have quality. And
what does the word quality mean? To me it means texture. This book has pores”

            Response
to Journal 2B-

            This quote comes about when Faber is
explaining the importance of books to Montag. He says it is not the books
themselves that Montag is searching for but rather the meaning they hold. Faber
states that Montag is in search of “quality” which he Professor Faber defines
as “texture” or the details of life and authentic experience. Not only do
people need quality information but they need the leisure to digest it and the
freedom to act on it. With Faber’s comment that books have “pores” this brings
back the sieve that Montag tried to fill with sand. Just like Montag trying to
read so much in such little time, reading in general is just like trying to
fill a sieve with sand, the words sift through your mind before you can even
finish reading.

Section 3- Burning Bright

Synopsis
of Section 3 Title- Throughout the story a lot of burning takes place albeit
the burning of books, houses or even people in particular cases. This section
is when things start to get going, Montag gets arrested for the possession of
books, he is forced to burn down his house, in the process of burning down his
house he turns on his fire chief (Beatty) and burns him to ashes with the
flamethrower. From here he makes a run for it after being followed by the
mechanical hound, which was programmed to his scent, and he travels into the
country where he finds the book people, a group of highly intellectual people
that decided to run away from modern society. Throughout his stay with the book
people, he becomes very knowledgeable given all the time he has to read and
learn. This is where the section title gets its meaning. Bradbury used “Burning
Bright” as a title because not only was the city going into war and burning
bright, as they were on fire, but this could also be interpreted as Montag’s
mind burning bright or being metaphorically on fire with all the knowledge he
has acquired from books. The section of , “The Sieve and the Sand”, teaches
Montag that it is not the disappearance of books themselves causing society to
be unhappy but rather the disappearance of demand. The society he lives in no
longer demands meaning but would rather live peacefully following the conformities
set in place by the government. The people of the society Montag lives in are
unwilling to accept basic realities and hardships so they all just follow the
leader and do what is expected of them, which, in turn causes a very bland,
uniform, and indifferent community.

Journal 3-

“The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time . . . Time
was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So,
if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt
Time, that meant that everything burnt”!

Response to Journal 3-

Toward the end of section 3,
“Burning Bright” Montag floats down a river while on his escape mission from
the treacherous unknown burning city. On his journey down the river he sees the
stars for the first time in years and is finally able to think about what Faber
told him he would need, in order to regain his normal lifestyle. Through this
leisure, many thoughts run through his head and he starts to think deeply on
the sun and its burning. He first starts with the moon and realizes it gets its
light from the sun. The sun burns with its own fire and flames and is related
to time, so he thinks, if the sun burns time then time will burn away the years
and if time burns away the years, the years will burn away the people;
therefore, the sun must burn away people. Not only does Montag realize that the
sun burns away people, he realizes that fireman burn away books and houses and
therefore everything in the world is burning. Through this thought process he
concludes that because the sun will likely not stop burning then he and the
fireman must stop, if not the world will just keep burning and nobody will
understand the true happiness that comes along with a world without burning. Through
Bradbury’s use of anaphora and the repetition of the word ‘burning’, he is able
to communicate a sense of revelation that Montag experiences. Through this
revelation is a subtle suggestion that ex-firemen must redefine their ingrained
conceptions of fire and burning, therefore discovering and redefining their
identity and purpose. This is what happens to Montag as he realizes his life as
a fireman shouldn’t be to burn down buildings but rather stop the buildings
from burning down. Does Montag even want to be a fireman though, or was that
just the preconception that he had engraved in his head from a young age? 

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