Saturday, August 21, 2010

Fahrenheit 451: The Hearth and the Salamander

"The Hearth and the Salamander" is the title of the first section of Fahrneheit 451 and is also a symbol of fire in general. The hearth, also known as a fireplace, is the heart of most homes because it was the main source of heat back when there was no electricity. Families were built around the hearth, and it is also a source of warmth for the soul of the body. The fireplace warms the home like it does to the soul. It gives physical heat to provide life to the people living inside the house, and it also provides a psychological heat to the emotions to calm the body and give a sense of safety and goodness and warmth all over the body. The hearth is also just a symbol of fire in general because it is where most safe fires are. Unfortunately, in this futuristic world in Fahrenheit 451, there is not a hearth in the Montags' home, and thusly there is not a real bonding point in the Montags' relationship which is separating them more by the day. The salamander is one of the official symbols of the firemen. The salamander is believed to live in fire and be completely unharmed by the flames. This is a good representation of the firemen because of the way they do their job. They go into places where "crimes" are taking place and burn them down without feeling anything like emotions or the physical pain from the fire. Also, "the Salamander" is the name they give to their fire truck. These symbols, obviously, both have to do with fire because fire is the dominant factor in Montag's life. Since he is a fireman, his job has to do with making fires and being around or sometimes in fires. Everything about his life circles around fire, including the fire within his body and the fire that has been somewhere else for quite some time in his and Mildred's marriage.

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