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Fahrenheit 451: Montag And Society

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Curious, confused, lonely and bewildered are some of the words that can be used to describe Guy Montag in Ray Bradbury’s novel on dystopian society, Fahrenheit 451. The protagonist, Montag, stray away from the norms of society as he discovers a void in his life that can be filled with books. Unlike the rest of society, he represents many lost ideals such as compassion, desire for knowledge and a need for the company of another. On the other hand, Montag also represents some of the ideals of the dystopian society in which he functions; impatience and unidentifiable discontent to name a few. He represents the spirits of the quintessential fireman and the ultimate dissident wrapped in up in one mad who cannot decide who he is. For most of the novel, Guy Montag is an intermediate step between the ignorant book-burners and the knowledgeable rebels.

From his own account, Montag looks like the rest of the fireman. Not only does he have the defined jaw-line and dark hair to be a fireman, Montag is doing a favor to the public by burning books. He’s been in the profession for over ten years, feels wrong about what he is doing, but continues burning literature. At this point, he can be considered unsympathetic dues to the fact that he has continued to destroy homes and lives for a decade without caring. Like much of society, Montag is discontent but fails to recognize why and eradicate the problem. This is quite similar to Mildred’s problem. Attempting suicide multiple times, Mildred refuses to deal with the internal conflict that haunts her on a daily basis; she continues living life like any other woman in society. Montag also carries on a faÐ"§ade of normalcy by assuming he loves his wife and burning books without question, while it all slowly eats away at him. He can also be considered blind, like much of society. For much of the novel, Montag did not know why he was burning books other than the fact that it was his job. He remains oblivious as to why he is doing and continues to do it. Montag also seems to have a false sense of security about his knowledge, revealing ignorance of reality. During the game with Clarisse in the rain, she teases that Montag is not in love. Montag replies “I am very much in love. I am!” (Bradbury 22). Prior to that conversation, Montag also affirms his happiness by saying “Happy! Of all the nonsense […] Of course I’m happy. What does she think she is?” (Bradbury 10). This shows his naivetÐ"© on his perspective of life because at further examination among his thoughts, Montag realizes he is neither happy nor in love. He seemed so secure of his position on life that he failed to realize the brevity of reality creeping up on him. Montag seems to be a content man, secure in the knowledge that he is doing his civic duty by spraying stacks of books with kerosene, and then setting them on fire and ignoring his problems, much like the rest of society.

After meeting Clarisse, Montag questioned his quality of life which started a snowball effect to his liberation from society. He recognizes the need for companionship, which is what makes Montag believe that he is in love.



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