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The novel starts out with a man named, Guy Montag who is a fireman in a futuristic version of America. The only thing is that firemen start fires instead of putting them out and they start the fires if the person living in that house own books because books banned and will be burned once it is discovered. He then meets Clarisse McClellan, a seventeen-year-old girl who is his neighbor a very talkative, a kind of tree hugger, and thinks a bit odd compared to everyone else. After they talk Montag goes home and finds his wife who has overdosed on sleeping pills. Montag starts talking to Clarisse more and more and over that period he realizes more and more thing that makes him upset because he feels like he hasn’t really done much with his life. After that, he steals a book at one of the places that he burned down. He soon realizes that he hasn’t seen Clarisse in a few days and finds out she left. Montag gets sick and Beatty comes over who is his boss to talk to him about the dangers of books so Montag quickly hides the book under his pillow but when Beatty and Montag are talking Mildred tries to adjust the pillow and she feels the book. Mildred freaks out and almost confronted him in front of Beatty but Montag yells at her to leave him alone so she doesn’t say anything.
One day he showed Mildred his stash of books that were stored in the air vent and she gets upset and they start reading these books. Montag then met up with a guy named fiber that he met at a park a while ago because he believed he could help because Faber had told him stuff that inclined him to think he read books. Faber agrees to work with Montag to take down the firemen so Montag is given an ear piece. The day after Montag read poetry to Mildred’s friends he goes to burn a house and when they pull up it’s at his house and he finds Mildred leaving. He soon finds out that her friends told on him and then Mildred told on him too. He is then told to set his own house on fire he then turns around to Beatty and torches him and soon the mechanical hound starts coming after him. He then goes to Faber’s house but then goes out on the edge of town by a river and meets a secret society of people like him and Faber called Deadheads. Then the city gets bombed and everyone dies except this secret society so they start to rebuild life where books are free.
The theme of this book is Distraction vs. Happiness because people were always distracted and that’s why cars drove faster, there were no gardens, there were no porches, and the furniture was not comfortable so people would get up and be more active so people wouldn’t think about things outside of the box. These people that lived that way were never happy but the never noticed that. The people that were happy were kind of outcasts that broke the rules by thinking deeper or have more intense emotion than they should like Clarisse McClellan and her uncle.
Guy Montag: open-minded Clarisse would tell him things that he could have reported but he didn’t and when she would tell him he should try something he would like, “‘Did you look out at the stretched-out billboards like I told you?’ ‘I think so. Yes”.
Clarisse McClellan: curious She likes to think unlike others or wonder around about things, “Bet I know something else you don’t. There’s dew on the grass in the morning.”
Beatty: passionate he is passionate but not in a way of being passionate about beating the system, he is passionate about his job and is in love with fire and that’s all. The author does not give an evidence of what he does except playing cards and doing his job, “Burn all, burn everything. Fire is bright and fire is clean.”
This is from pages 47-48 Guy Montag is talking to Mildred Montag about how a woman risked her life over books but Mildred doesn’t seem to understand. “She’s nothing to me; she shouldn’t have had books. It was her responsibility, she should have thought of that. I hate her. She’s got you going and next thing you know we’ll be out, no house, no job, nothing.” “You weren’t there, you didn’t see,” he said. “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.” “She was simple-minded.” “She was as rational as you and I, more so perhaps, and we burned her.” “That’s water under the bridge.” “No, not water; fire. You ever saw a burned house? It smolders for days. Well, this fire’ll last me the rest of my life. God! I’ve been trying to put it out, in my mind, all night. I’m crazy with trying.” “You should have thought of that before becoming a fireman.” “Thought! ” he said. “Was I given a choice? My grandfather and father were firemen. In my sleep, I ran after them.” The parlour was playing a dance tune. “This is the day you go on the early shift,” said Mildred. “You should have gone two hours ago. I just noticed.” “It’s not just the woman that died,” said Montag.
The importance of this passage is that Montag is realizing that books might actually be worth dying for. After that lady died he could not get over it. “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.” He seems to get upset at Mildred for not understanding the seriousness of that situation, in her defense, she is brainwashed to feel no emotion. He is just so confused about what he was missing out on that was so great. He then gets upset at Mildred for not understanding him and the lady’s reasoning. “She’s nothing to me; she shouldn’t have had books. It was her responsibility, she should have thought of that. I hate her. She’s got you going and next thing you know we’ll be out, no house, no job, nothing.” he then comes to defend his reasoning by saying, “You weren’t there, you didn’t see,” he said. “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.”. He calms down because, in the end, he knows she is never going to understand him and the lady. That scene was very important to the novel because it shows how different he is from “normal”.
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