Fahrenheit 451 Research

Essay by lbdubbzz1011High School, 10th grade October 2014

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In Ray Bradbury's visionary science fiction novel Farenheit 451, the protagonist, Guy Montag, evolves from a character who accepts the laws and expectations of his society without question, to a man who is skeptical of society's true motivation.

Initially, Montag's thoughts about burning books mirrors his government role as a fireman, who, ironically sets fires and burns books, rather than puts out fires, at his government's direction. While suited up and blissfully burning a house, Montag thinks to himself that "it was a pleasure to burn"(Bradbury 3). Early on, while Clarisse and Montag are talking, she asks him about his previous experiences with burning books and if he has actually ever read any of the books. Montag responds with a jokey laugh, "that's against the law"(8). Montag's response demonstrates how absurd he thinks even the idea of reading is to him. At this point in the novel, Montag's ideas are perfectly aligned with the orders of his government.

Later, Montag joins firemen at a woman's house to burn them while the woman just sits and watches helplessly. Suddenly, Montag comes across a book and reads it for a second then his "hands closed like a mouth, crushed [the] book with wild devotion, with an insanity of mindlessness to his chest"(37). While Montag is obviously starting to get curious about books, he still doesn't care to think for himself long enough to realize that books are good and to judge his government's orders.

Once Montag is exposed to external factors which precipitate cognitive awakenings, he forms new dynamic understandings that add dimension to his character. Montag opens up to Mildred. He is thinking of all the bad things he has done and questions why he did them. Montag questions why he is a fireman, asking himself: "was I given...