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Literature Study GuidesFahrenheit 451Part 2 Montag And Mildred Read And Talk Summary

Fahrenheit 451 | Study Guide

Ray Bradbury

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Part 2 | Montag and Mildred Read and Talk

Course Hero’s video study guide provides in-depth summary and analysis of Part 2 | The Hearth and the Salamander (Montag and Mildred Read and Talk) of Ray Bradbury's novel Fahrenheit 451.

Fahrenheit 451 | Part 2 (Montag and Mildred Read and Talk) : The Sieve and the Sand | Summary



As Part 2 begins, Montag and his wife read through the afternoon. Mildred prefers her TV screens, but Montag keeps wrestling with the books. A quotation about friendship, by Samuel Johnson, reminds him of Clarisse. The Mechanical Hound sniffs at the door, and the couple argues about the validity of reading.

Montag again remembers an old man he met in the park, Faber, with whom Montag talked about poetry. Montag calls Faber to ask about books. Faber thinks Montag is trying to trick him into incriminating himself, so Montag takes the subway to visit Faber in order to prove his good intentions. Montag carries a Bible with him and actually attempts to read it on the journey. He compares the attempt to a childhood memory of trying to fill a sieve with sand. The advertisements broadcast in the subway are so loud, Montag can't concentrate. With the book clearly visible in his hand, Montag jumps up and yells for the noise to stop and then rushes out of the subway car.


Books are unfamiliar to Montag and Mildred. Mildred would prefer to avoid reading further, but Montag continues to read and reread books, prying them open and peering into their depths. He is increasingly experiencing troubling and complex thoughts, wondering about the war and its origins. As he does, he sketches in some scary facts: there have been two wars fought with atomic weapons since 2022. Not only does his culture burn books, it also has the ability to incinerate the entire world.

When Montag realizes he is not going to be able to figure things out himself, he contacts Faber. As happened with Clarisse, a conversation with a stranger has profoundly touched Montag. He is now willing to connect with the man in order to learn from him.

This second part of the book treats Montag's repeated attempts to deal with his disturbing realizations about himself and his society. They are not successful, like the sieve and the sand that give their name to Part 2, but they help to propel him toward the novel's climax.

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