Fahrenheit 451: Novel Summary: Part 2A
Bradbury's next section begins with Montag sitting on his floor, reading portions of his hidden books. Though most of the writing goes over his head, Montag still realizes the importance of the literature he illegally owns. Secondly, he connects the authors of these books with Clarisse. "These men have been dead a long time, but I know their words point, one way or another, to Clarisse," he says to himself.
Soon, however, the reader begins to perceive a very ominous presence. The Mechanical Hound seems to be listening to Montag read from behind the door. Yet Montag is undaunted. He again attempts to convince Mildred that his books are acceptable, necessary in fact. Considering the coming nuclear world war to which everyone seems oblivious, Montag asserts, "Maybe the books can get us half out of the cave. They just might stop us from making the same damn insane mistakes!" In this way, Montag sees books not only as helpful tools, but as vital agents of salvation for his diseased world.
Knowing that he doesn't posses the necessary knowledge of books to change the world himself, Montag begins to consider whether or not anyone will be able to help him. Soon he remembers an incident that occurred in a park several months before. Out of the corner of his eye, he had seen an old man hide a book under his jacket when he approached. Though wary of Montag, the man, named Faber, decided to give the fireman his address for future reference. Thus, Montag had a contact person to begin his "quest." After questioning Faber on the phone unsuccessfully (Faber denies having any books), Montag finally shows Mildred his recently stolen book-the Bible. Mildred urges him to turn it in to Beatty, but Montag is reluctant, thinking instead that he can turn in another book in its place.
On the subway, Montag tries again to read his Bible, hoping that if he reads a lot at one time, some of it he will remember before he forgets it all. Bradbury uses the sieve in the sand metaphor to support this idea. What's ironic about this scene is that Montag reads about the "lilies of the field" while his ears are forced to listen to "Denham's" personal hygiene advertisements from the subway speakers. Here, the poetic beauty of scripture and the old world clashes with the mechanized message of consumption offered by Bradbury's new age of government dictatorship.