Fahrenheit 451 Essay – Montag’s Change of HeartGet Your
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1 Aaron Mrs. MacDonald ENG 2D April 24, 2012 Guy Montag’s Change of Heart People always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself. This is the case as well in Fahrenheit 451, the novel, written by Ray Bradbury, is the story that follows a normal man, Guy Montag, who lived a normal life in his civilization post apocalptic as a fireman. Although where he is from, it is not a fireman’s duty to put out fires, but rather to burn books. It is because of his profession he battled his conscience to find answers to his many questions.
Throughout this book, Montag changed his perceptive on literature in his society for the better because he became a critical thinker and stopped being passive like everyone else where and actually broke away from the rules and started to read books. This is made possible through the influence of his mentor Faber, a teenager named Clarisse, and the elderly lady he was seeing perish in a fire he started to destroy the books she had. One of Guy Montag’s major influences, I believe, was the seventeen year old “social outcast,” Clarisse McClellan was to blame for Montag’s change of heart towards the rules in his society regarding literature.
Clarisse is a belligerent, curious girl. She is being viewed by the citizens of Montag’s dystopian country as anti- social because she did not conform to the society’s norms; she is often asking why something is done rather than how something is done as appose to everyone else in her environment. Although her way of living ultimately leads to her demise when she is struck down by a car, she is the major contributor for Montag’s mid-life identity crisis and the catalyst towards his change as a result. This is evident in the novel because she helped Montag realize that he was not truly in love with his wife, Mildred.
While on a walk with Montag through the rain, Clarisse brings on a superstition when she finds the last remaining dandelion in her garden. She says to Montag, “If it rubs off, it means I’m in love. ” (Bradbury 22), speaking of the dandelion of course. Obviously, it did not rub off of Montag and he was skeptical, on first, if Clarisse superstition was correct, and second, if he really did love Mildred. This happening is significant in Clarisse’s role in helping Montag on his journey to finding out who he really is because it helped Montag realize that Mildred was just like everyone else, mindless and passive.
Clarisse also helps Montag solve his inner conflict between society’s expectations and what he believes because she teaches him to be more keen and perceptive just as herself. This is apparent in when she tells Montag, “I like to watch people. Sometimes I ride the subways and look at them and listen to them I just want to figure out who they are and what they want and where they’re going. Sometimes I even go to the Fun Parks and ride in the jet cars when they race on the edge of town at mid-night and the police don’t care as long as they’re insured as long as everyone has ten thousand insurance everyone’s happy.
Sometimes I sneak around and listen in on subways. Or I listen at the soda fountain and do you know what? ” (30-31) Montag answers Clarisse’s question with a “what” and she answers, “People don’t talk about anything. ” (31) This plays a significant role towards Montag’s ultimate goal of finding himself because Montag started to believe this was completely true. For instance, when Mildred’s guest came over to visit, they went straight to the parlour so they could watch television for the people of Montag’s society are incapable of entertaining themselves.
When they were in the parlour, Montag tried to draw their attention away from the viewing screens and he achieved to do so with little effectiveness seeing how they could not carry a conversation and the words that they were speaking had no meaning. The role this quote had to play in Montag’s journey to find himself was that it became easier for Montag to see people for who they really are. For example, at the climax, Montag saw the evil in Beatty and because of this, he is able to kill Beatty with a flamethrower.
Clarisse helps Montag look around him and see everything, from the smallest snowflake to the biggest tree. Montag never really thinks about what is happening in his life, or why it seems he never shows much emotion towards anything. Clarisse teaches Montag to look around and to pay attention to what is really important in life, just not what his society tells him. Even though I believe Clarisse was the reason for Montag’s major metamorphosis, I believe that there were two additional individuals that had a role to play in
Montag’s expedition to find answers to fill the void in his life. Subsequently, Faber monumentally influenced Montag and his decisions he made throughout the novel. Faber was a retired English professor and he is the second mentor that Montag comes across. He was one of the few people who is not like everyone else because he, just as Clarisse, are intellectual beings. Faber met Montag in a park. A short discussion revolving around small-talk like the weather quickly escalates to a deeper topic and Montag and faber soon find themselves discussing Faber’s past and the history of books.
They talk for hours and their conversation ultimately ends with Faber leaving Montag his contact card and Guy soon contacts him when he discovers his love for books. In Faber and Montag’s conversation, Faber says, “Do you know why books such as this are so important? Because they have quality. ” (83). The significance of Faber saying this for Montag on his quest to find answers to his so many questions is it compels him to read books. Another way how Faber influenced Montag was through the way he talked about books in always such a positive manner.
This is evident when Faber say to Montag, “It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that were in books. ” (33). Because of Faber’s constant talk of the goodness of books and what they have to offer, it forces Montag to see for himself if the testimonies Faber speaks of is true. Ultimately, Montag results in reading books and discovers for himself, first hand, that everything Faber speaks about was true and the people of his civilization are missing out on literature. The next influential character in this fiction is the unlikely teacher, the old woman.
The protagonist’s, Montag, next aid in to find happiness through books to break away from conformity is an unlikely mentor, the unidentified old lady Montag watched perish in the fire. Although the woman had a minor role to play through the novel, she had a long lasting effect on Montag choice to become an individualist. When Beatty sends Montag to fulfill his duties as a fireman by burning the elderly woman’s books, the woman refuses to reason with Montag and decides to, along with her house, possessions and her cherished pieces of literature incinerate everything in flames with a match.
This leads Montag to wonder about why someone could choose to, out of free will, die because their books where taken away from them. He might have felt he was missing out on the experience of a lifetime in books. This is obvious when Montag is talking to Mildred, his spouse, and he says, “You weren’t there, you didn’t see. There must be something in books, things we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house, there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing. (51) The image of the old lady burning in the house haunts Montag forever and made his curiosity of the content and the importance of books peak. The image of the elderly woman perishing in the burning home haunts Montag and leads him to read books so that he too may find out and be a beneficiary of what reading has to offer. After Montag witnesses the death of the old lady, he collects the remains of the paperback that could still be legible and takes them home with him so that he may discover what the elderly woman’s drive was to kill herself.
Mildred found the books Montag has in his possession and confronts him about the illegal act he is committing and he replies, “Listen, give me a second, will you? We can’t do anything. We can’t burn these, at least once. Then if what Captain says is true we’ll burn them together, believe me, we’ll burn them together. ” (43) The significance of this quote is that it shows how Montag is seriously interested in reading about books and because of what he witnesses at the elderly woman’s home and is desperate to find answers to all his many questions.
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After one has read this novel, it is clear to see Montag had many influences on him during his mid-life crisis that causes him to change his perspective on the government censorship completely. The major contributors to Montag’s new way of thinking are Faber, the ex- English professor, Clarisse, the girl from next door who is seen by all as “seventeen and crazy,” and the suicidal elderly woman who perished in a fire in attempts to save her books. These characters all had major roles to play in Montag’s life and his quest to break away from his former conformist self to a self motivated individualist.
Author: Brandon Johnson
Fahrenheit 451 Essay – Montag’s Change of Heart
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Clarisse is a seventeen year old young woman who walks with Montag on his trips home from work. She is unusual sort of person in the bookless society: outgoing, naturally cheerful, and unusually intuitive. She is unpopular among her peers and disliked by teachers for asking "why" instead of "how" and focusing on nature rather than on technology. She often skips school because she thinks it is a pointless routine, a repetition. She shows Montag that he is not in love with his wife, Mildred, whom Montag has been married to for ten years. This embarrassed Montag and he tries to deny it, but inside, he knows it is true. Only a short time after meeting Montag she disappears without any explanation, although Mildred and Captain Beatty claim she was killed in a car accident.
Clarisse represents innocence. In a society based upon blind acceptance of government policy, constant search for raw, immediate gratification, she likes "to smell things and look at things, and sometimes stay up all night, walking, and watching the sunrise". Clarisse does not accept the values set forth for her by society, and rarely takes part in activities, such as jet car racing, which appeal to the need for constant unthinking stimulation and are most preferred by the majority. Clarisse is an individual who is in touch with her own soul, and she is able to see the world around her and honestly evaluate its worth.
Her affect on Montag is huge. She is Montag's "inspriation". She is responsible for Montag's change. She also made him realize that he wasn't happy.