Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Chapter 2, Part 2 (pages 84-106) Analysis

The Sieve and the Sand

The discussion of faith between Faber and Montag and Montag's choice to preserve the Bible over other books tie into religious undertones present in the work. By the end of the novel, Montag will "become" the Book of Ecclesiastes. Faber's choice to read the Book of Job to Montag is interesting because, like Job, Montag will face sudden, life-changing adversity.

By introducing Mildred's friends, Bradbury reveals further details of the society and its ills. The reader learns Clarisse and Beatty were correct in their description of children (unobservant, unquestioning, and violent) and how they are taught (filled with useless facts from an early age and discouraged from asking "why"). Bradbury effectively reinforces how disturbed the society is due to the general lack of introspection. The poem Montag reads relates to the themes of the novel, especially the last two lines (full passage on pp. 96-97). Mrs. Phelps bursts into tears at the reading of the poem, showing she isn't nearly as happy as she seems.

After the poetry scene, Montag walks around listening to Faber talking; Bradbury here uses imagery akin to that he quoted in the beginning of the section: "The old man would go on with this talking, drop by drop, stone by stone, flake by flake" (99). Bradbury uses this process to describe the merging of Montag and Faber, like fire and water, to create wine. Given the religious undertones of the work, this might be an allusion to Christ turning water into wine.