Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451

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Words: 988
Pages: 4

Ray Bradbury
1953
In Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, Montag is a fireman who burns houses down rather than putting fires out. In his society, books are a disgrace, and they are forbidden without question. While returning home one night, Montag encounters his neighbor, Clarisse, who asks him peculiar questions about his life such as if he is happy with his life. Montag arrogantly believes her thoughts about him are silly. The next day at the station, he notices the Mechanical Hound, a beast whose sole purpose is to sniff books from houses, feeling a sudden suspicion towards him because he knows Montag has an secret collection of books. The men arrive to a house that fosters many books, and the lady inside refuses to leave. She burns her house and the books herself, but Montag steals one just in time. Returning home feeling sick, he begins to question the righteousness of his work. Beatty, the fire captain, comes to his house, somehow sensing Montag's discomfort and claiming that every firemen experiences it. He engages in a lecture about the history of book burning, telling Montag about the minorities who opposed books because they gave people knowledge that they used against each other. Books disappeared and were replaced by technology which kept people occupied so they never questioned the restrictions that were placed on their knowledge. Montag listens, dazed, as Beatty explains how "you can stay happy all the time" (Bradbury 87) if no one questions society enough to go against it. Montag recalls when Clarisse asked him if he was happy and realizes that he is not because there is no purpose to life if everyone lives the same with ignorance idleness. Wanting to connect with someone who also questions society, he contacts an old friend named Faber values books. Faber gives him an ear piece that will allow him and Montag to communicate. Montag relies on Faber to speak for him, but he has difficulty keeping control over his words. Soon, Mildred, Montag's wife, calls an alarm because she is angry with him for his rebellion against society. The firemen arrive at Montag's house which Beatty haughtily forces him to burn. Unable to listen to Faber's frantic orders because of all the chaos, Montag burns Beatty too. War is announced and Montag is hunted down. He runs until he comes to a river, finds a group of isolated men, and watches as the city is bombed. Guy Montag is a firefighter whose job is to burn books. At the beginning of the novel, he claims to wear the smell of kerosene as a perfume, but as he begins to question the emptiness of his life and the morality of the books, the smell nauseates him. Montag's longing for meaning in his life grows until he turns against the society by reading the books he is supposed to be burning. Clarisse McClellan is Montag's neighbor. She questions not how things are done, but why. Through her curiosity, Montag sees that the society's potentials that are being limited by the government and realizes that he isn't happy with his life. The team has kept a close record on her because she violates the uniform structure of society with her strange personality such as when she spends time admiring the nature while other people watch TV. Captain Beatty is boss at the fire station. He believes that fire is beautiful because "it destroys responsibility and consequences" (Bradbury 141). Although he strongly opposes books or anyone who suggests reading them, Beatty himself was interested in reading books. He uses his knowledge to manipulate Montag yet considers books weapons, which confuses Montag. Mildred, Montag's wife, is obsessed with watching the "family" on the wall TVs and doesn’t desire to have a meaningful connection with Montag. Mildred's denial of her suicide attempt reveals that she…