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In a futuristic American society, Guy Montag is a fireman that burns books. In his world, firemen do not put out fires, they start them. The people do not read books, go outside, or socialize. Instead, they watch an immense amount of television. Montag’s eyes open to life when he meets Clarisse McClellan, his seventeen year old neighbor. He finds her unique for her love of nature and people. Montag experiences unfortunate events. His wife, Mildred, tries to commit suicide when she takes a bunch of sleeping pills, he watches a woman choose to be burned alive with her books, and then he hears that a speeding car killed Clarisse.
Montag’s discontent for his life increases, and he fails to show up for work to look for a solution in books he has stolen from fires. On the day Montag misses work, Beatty, Montag’s fire chief, shows up to his house. Beatty tells Montag that it is normal for a fireman to feel this way, and he explains why books have become banned. He says that groups would objectify books that offended them, and writes would write similar books to prevent offending people. But, it was not enough and society decided to completely get rid of them by burning them, rather than keeping permanent conflict.
Beatty tells Montag that he has 24 hours to read his books and turn them in, so Montag starts a long night of reading. Frustrated with reading, Montag asks Mildred for help, but she’d rather watch television and does not understand why he would want to risk reading books. He remembers meeting Faber, and english professor, at the park, and he realizes that Faber can help him understand the books. He goes to see Faber, and he tells Montag that the value is in the awareness that they have. He tells Montag that he not only needs to read the books, but he needs the freedom to act on what they have. Faber agrees that he will help Montag with reading, and they come up with a plan to destroy the status quo. Faber will begin to reproduce books, and Montag will put them in firemen’s homes to discredit them.
Montag returns home, and two of Mildred’s friends come over to watch television. Mildred and her friends discuss the war that is about to happen, and it angers Montag. He starts to read “Dover Beach” by Matthew Arnold. The women become disturbed and leave to file a report against Montag. Montag returns to work, and gives Beatty his book, and becomes confused when Beatty tells him quotes from famous books. He does this to prove to Montag that books are morbid and cause too much conflict. All of a sudden the alarm goes off, only to find out that it is Montag’s house. When Montag gets there, he sees Mildred get in a cab wither her bags, and he concludes that she reported him. Beatty tells Montag that he must burn down the house himself, and once he does he is put under arrest.
As Beatty scolds Montag, Montag burns his superior, and knocks out another fireman and runs. Beatty sets the mechanical hound after him, and injects his leg with anesthetic. Montag destroys it with the flamethrower; then he walks off the numbness. He goes and gets his books from the backyard and goes to make an alarm call. When Montag goes to Faber’s house he sees that he is being followed by helicopters, a hound, and a news crew. Faber tells Montag that he is going to St. Louis, so Montag gives Faber money to remove his scent from the house. After Faber leaves Montag takes Faber’s clothes and runs to the river. As the city watches on television, Montag manages to escape downstream into the country until he finds “The Book People”, led by Granger. They are book lovers that hope to help mankind in the aftermath of the war. They give Montag the role of memorizing the “Book of Ecclesiastes”. As enemy jets bomb the city, Montag and his friends move to search for survivors and restart civilization.
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