“Fahrenheit 451” and Guy Montag Essay Sample
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“Fahrenheit 451” and Guy Montag Essay Sample
Throughout the book Fahrenheit 451, Guy Montag changes from a relatively “typical” fireman who follows the laws of his society into a person who challenges the laws and eventually becomes an “outcast”.
In the book Clarisse McClellan, the 17-years old girl, questions Montag about his life now and the life he has always lived. Near the start of the book Clarisse asks Montag “are you happy” (10), a question that makes him admit later on that “he is not happy” (12).
The fact that Montag actually thinks about Clarisse’s question later on and starts admitting to himself that he is not happy is a big step for Montag. In fact he shows how he is no longer living as “one” with society which focuses a lot about “happiness”. Thereby, Clarisse is the first to encourage Montag on his way to self-awareness.
After Clarisse’s question Montag starts thinking about his wife, Mildred, and whether they really love each other or not. Therefore to find out, Montag asks Mildred if she remembers where they met the first time.
The fact that Montag actually asks Mildred if she remembered where they met the first time shows how Clarisse’s question influenced Montag in many ways. Montag would not have asked Mildred about such a thing if he had not come into interaction with Clarisse, because before he met Clarisse he really did not think about how his life was. The fact is that neither Mildred nor Montag remembers where they met the first time. He realizes that he is unhappy in his relationship with his wife, Millie, who is unwilling to deal with reality and instead chooses to immerse herself in an obsession to tranquilizers the virtual world provided by her television and radio.
Montag did not read books in the start of Fahrenheit 451, but further in the book he starts to read the books he took from the burning houses, and that changed his personality and thinking about society. One night when Montag starts reading a book he stole under a fire, Mildred gets really concerned about Montag, because it is illegal to read books in the society they live in. The consequence of this behaviour could turn in to be a prisoning of Montag, which Montag does not care about.
After reading several books Montag talks with his close friend, Faber, and says to him “We have everything to be happy, but we’re not happy”(82).
What Montag tells Faber at that moment is really an expression of how he started analyzing more after starting reading books.
Although Montag’s love life changes and his view of society are changed too, this is not the only change Montag must admit. In the start of the book Montag is delighted in the work of burning illegal books and the homes of where they are found. However, as the book progresses, Montag becomes increasingly discontent as he realizes that he has an empty, unfulfilling life. A point that shows that Montag in the start of the book is happy about his job is when he hangs up his helmet and shines it; hangs up his jacket neatly; showers luxuriously, and then, whistling walks across the upper floor. To shower luxuriously needs a happy man, otherwise he could “just have showered”. The turning point of his liking about his work is when Captain Beatty arrives to speak with Montag, somehow knowing that he feels ill and would be taking the evening off. Before he leaves, Beatty makes mention of the fact that firemen are occasionally overcome by curiosity about the books that they burn and may steal one to satiate that curiosity. When this happens, he continues, they are given a 24-hour respite to come to their senses and burn the book before their coworkers must do so for them. Montag becomes paranoid that Beatty knows that he has stolen not only one, but nearly 20 books over the course of his career. Mostly the reason why he is unsatisfied by his job is because they burn books.
Near the end of the book Montag admits to himself that in his life he did something while feeling something else. Montag actually said to himself “I went around doing one thing and feeling another” (131).
To admit that you have lived your live so far without feeling it was correct, and then afterwards admit it takes a strong person to admit. Montag was astonished by his analyzing he did of his life and is confused about how it could happen. Montag says “It was only the other night everything was fine and the next thing I know I’m drowning” (131). He actually says himself how fast he changed – from one day to another – which now means that Montag is analyzing and thinking about his life as ever before. About his work, Mildred, marriage and the society he lives in.
Montag has now changed from being a “happy” man, to an aware, thinking, and analyzing human being totally different from the society his lives in. Although Montag have had his fights throughout the book, it seems to me, that the right place for Montag to be was the forrest, where he ended after running, as Faber tolled him to do, when the Mechanical Hound was after him.