The way a man breaks the bonds

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TV walls blurring, the sound dulls out all knowledge. BOOM! The sound of University doors closing. Jets fly over a city. BOOM! The sound of a city dying. "'A man running… the running man… a man alone, on foot… watch…'" BOOM! The sound of a man awakening from his stupidity, a man at the dawn of a new era in his life. Fahrenheit 451, a novel by Ray Bradbury, has Montag, a man who becomes driven to justice, to change society from reliance on evil technologies. At first Montag was one of them, a man with one passion, a passion to burn, to destroy. He was a fireman, a fireman who burned. He loved to pump kerosene on books and homes. He watched the serpent spit its fiery venom. He saw Prometheus come down from the heavens in a blaze of glory, as he struck a match. BOOM! The house is gone, the knowledge, contained within the walls, gone, all gone.

Montag changed throughout this novel. Evil, futuristic technologies, as well as other events caused him to change. Montag wants a different world, and he sets out to get it.

At first Montag was an average fireman. He was an average guy, in an average city, with an average wife. Montag thought: "It…[is]…a pleasure to burn, to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed. With the brass nozzle in…[my]…fists, with this great python spitting its venomous kerosene upon the world, the blood pounded in…[my]…head" (3) He thought all there is to life, is TV and burning books. He liked to speed around at upwards of 300 mph, just like everyone else, hoping to hit an animal or a person, just for fun. He believed everything that was fed to him. But he changed.

TV walls are a technology that caused Montag to be the way he was, but they are also one of the reasons that he changed. The media and the government fed people ideas and beliefs, through this technology. TV is one reason he changed because he got tired of his wife watching the storyless walls.

"'What's on this afternoon?' he asked, tiredly… 'It's sure fun,' she said.' 'What's the play about?' 'I just told you. There are these people named Bob and Ruth and Helen.' 'Oh.' 'It's really fun.'"(20) This quote definitely shows that the stories on their TV's are senseless. After this chat with his wife he realized that TV isn't very interesting. He saw that the TV just feeds a bunch of mindless garbage to people. The TV drove him to change, but he didn't realize this about his world until he met a strange teenage girl.

Clarisse McClellan is an "anti-social" teenager who loved to think. She thought about the world; she thought about people. She stopped to smell the flowers. One day when Montag was walking home from work, he saw her by the corner. They had a strange conversation; she asked him a question that would change his life.

"'Are you happy?' she said.

'Am I what?' he cried… 'Happy, of all the nonsense.'" (10) It is then that he realized that he was, in fact, not happy. He realized his life, up until then, was meaningless. He started a quest for happiness. In this quest he made himself knowledgeable about the world. He tried to change it and make it better.

Technologies that depressed him even more are medical technologies. These are the sleeping pills and the snake that is used to get the pills out of an overdosed person. After talking with Clarisse he went home to find his wife, who had just taken an entire bottle of sleeping tablets. When he found her she was near death, he called the emergency hospital. The hospital sent over two technicians who filtered her blood and pumped her stomach. They said something that upset Montag very much: "'Got to clean 'em out both ways,' said the operator, standing over the silent women, 'No use getting the stomach if you don't clean the blood. Leave that stuff in the blood and the blood hits the brain like a mallet, bang, a couple thousand times and the brain just gives up, just quits.' 'Stop it!'" yelled Montag. (15) The way they described the situation is as if they are plumbers, just out on another job and not dealing with a human life close to death. Montag began to realize the faults of his society and began to think, but he couldn't think properly with all the rage inside of him. He needed to refine his thinking, but couldn't figure out how. With all of the emotional pain in him, he needed help. Montag got some help through all of this from an old man from his past.

Faber further develops Montag's evolution of thinking. Faber is an old language arts professor. He is a wise man who is a victim of this society. He knew he should have done something sooner. But when it was others he didn't speak, when it was him no one was left to speak. He called himself a coward, yet he still ventured to help Montag. He told Montag why books are so important, thus refining Montag's thinking and objectives.

"'Number one: Do you know why books…are so important? Because they have quality. And what does the word quality mean? …It has features…you'll find life…recorded details of life…So now do you see why books are so hated and feared? …Quality, texture of information.'" (83) That was the first, "'And the second?'" "'Leisure…time to think…If you're not driving a hundred miles an hour…then you're playing some game or sitting in some room where you can't argue with the four wall televisor…leisure to digest [information].'" (84) The third thing needed is "'…the right to carry out actions based on what we learn from the interaction of the first two.'" (85) Those were the things needed that Montag wanted to get. He had the first one. As we find later in the novel, he gets number two, he has all the time he needs. Yet as the novel progressed there was no mention of number three again. They never had the right to carry out what they learned while in the society. The only way they could have, would have been to break out of the society, then they would be carrying out what they learned. Montag, on his way out of the doomed city, put a book in another fireman's home, did he learn that and decide to carry it out, or did he just do it spontaneously to do some damage? An evil technology that is a very destructive force in our world and Montag's are nuclear bombs. The city Montag lived in was doomed since the beginning of the novel. There were references to jets flying over at high speeds. The enemy planes eventually won.

"There was a shriek and the jets from the city were gone…the first bomb struck. 'Mildred!'…The concussion knocked the air across…the river, turned the men over like dominoes in a line…" (159) The destructive properties of these bombs are obvious. They destroy lives. The bombs were created to kill millions of people and it does. But it hurts. These are definitely an evil technology, This helped Montag put a final closing to his changing world and made him hate his dead society even more.

Montag's world was full of evil technology. He changed because of that and other events. As he changed, he did some good, even though in his world he was the "bad guy". This novel teaches us a lot of valuable lessons. The nuclear weapons are evil in our world and his; they cause amazing devastation and pain. TV is a strange technology, originally meant to bring books to life; to be a supplement to them, to broadcast great plays, to be able to see what happens on the radio. Yet is ironic how it has ended up replacing them and life, in our world and theirs.