Fahrenheit 451

Fahrenheit 451

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Taking place in a futuristic American City, Guy Montag is a fireman, but not one of todays time. Montag doesn’t save people from burning buildings, he actually starts fires to burn books. Houses are now made fireproof to prevent accidental house fires. Montag lives in a time where everything is placed so people don’t have time to just think, but only have time to have fun, but montag is sad and feels as though he is missing something in his life that needs to be filled.

After another day of following his ancestors footsteps in being a fireman, Montag encounters a girl on his way home from work. On their short walk home Clarisse McClellan shows some of her odd habits that she has. From then on she shows her, at the time, odd passion for nature and interest in people. She begins to open Montag’s eyes, showing him that there is more to life than just burning books.

Following his first encounter with Clarisse he finds his wife Mildred has overdosed when he returns home. Calling the emergency hotline he has two people sent over with no medical experience with a machine that exchanges her blood with others. The next day reporting to a call Montag and the other firman burn a elderly lady to death after she choose to stay with her books rather than retreating out of the building. Soon after this dramatic event Montag hears that Clarisse had been hit and killed by a speeding car. He then unknowingly, beings to look for something to make him content with life, and figures if a woman is willing to get burned alive then live without books, that there must be something in them that is worth reading.

Montag gambles everything and decides to read some of the books he has stolen through his career that he has stashed in his air conditioning vent. When he doesn’t show up for work his Captain Betty shows up and explains the history of fireman and books. Betty tells Montag that is a natural feeling to get in his line of work and has seen it before. He tells Montag that if he has stolen a book he would have to return it to the fire station within 24 hours or the crew would come burn it for him.

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When the Captain leaves, Montag reveals his hidden stash of books to his wife and tells her they must read the books to see their purpose, instead of helping she retreats and watches their oversized television. Not understanding why he would take the risk of reading books. Montag needing help remembers a man that he met a long time ago in a park. An English professor by the name of Faber. He goes to Faber’s house and asks for his help in reading. Faber agrees and reveals his own idea he has thought up, and together they make a plan to break the ordernariless and stash books in firemen’s houses. Fabor would find a retired printer and begin to reprint books. While Montag would stash books in firemen’s houses and call them in. Faber gives Montag an earpiece so he can talk in secrecy to help him in his battles against the outsiders.

When Montag returns home his wife Mildred has a couple friends over, but Montag soon becomes so disgusted with their conversations that he brings out a book of poetry named Dover Beach, by Matthew Arnold. His wife then trying to cover for him tells her friends that a fireman gets to bring home a book every year to show how useless they are. Faber through the earpiece tells Montag to go with his wife’s lie and walks to the incinerator and throws the book into it, but Mildred’s friends are extremely upset and storm out.

The next day Montag returns a book from his stash to his Captain at the firestation. Captain Betty throws the book into the incinerator and again tells Montag that books are complex and useless. Then an alarm rang and they rushed to the call to find out that the call was to Montag’s house. When he arrived he found his wife had betrayed him and was leaving with her bags in hand. Betty infuriated makes montag burn his house himself and places Montag under arrest.

Betty continuous to scold Montag, but then Montag turns his flamethrower on Betty and kills him. Montag manages to knock out another fireman and attempts to escape. Montag is then attacked by a mechanical dog from the fire station and is bit on his leg. The dog injects Montag with an anesthetic, but then montag turns his flamethrower on the dog and destroys the machine. The bite makes it hard to walk, but Montag manages to return home where he had hid some books from his wife in the backyard. He then plants them in another fireman's house and calls in the crime on a payphone.

Montag retreats to Faber’s house where he comes to find out that he has been found wanted and has another mechanical hound, helicopters, and a television crew on his trail. Faber gives him some clothes and gives him some pointers on how to kill his scent in an attempt to lose the mechanical hound and the escape. Faber tells him that he is headed for St. Louise and has found a retired printer that can help them with their plan. Montag leaves and heads for the river with Faber’s clothes as the whole city watches the chase unfold. He then escapes in the river and changes into Faber’s clothes and floats down river. He comes along an old abandoned railroad tracks that he follows where Montag finds a bunch of book lovers that have deserted normal life and created their own nationwide network of people that have memorized books. Led by a man by the name of Granger, gives Montag the job of memorizing the Book of Ecclesiastes. When soon Jets appear in the sky and obliterate their entire city with bombs and force Granger and Montag to move, restart, and rebuild.


Setting

Fahrenheit 451 takes place in a futuristic city, where the houses have no porches and are relatively plaine. Everything is new technology from mechanical hounds to fireproof houses. Everything is strategically placed or removed entirely, to not allow people to stop and think, but placed so people are oblivious to everything and go through the day always being reactive, and absolutely no books.


Characters

Guy Montag- A middle aged firman that isn't satisfied with his life. He has a wife named Mildred, that betrays him. Meets a young girl by the name of Clarisse that he befriends. He feels an emptiness about his life and looks to books he has been burning for years for the answer.

Mildred Montag- Middle aged and wife of Guy Montag, overdosed on sleeping pills, not happy with her life herself. Terribly upset that her husband is reading books. Betrays Guy and leaves him. Shallow and self absorbed.

Clarisse McClellan- Young girl that Guy Montag meets coming home from work. Opens Montags eyes about life. Is interested and has a passion for people and nature. She dies by a speeding car,

Captain Betty- Older man and boss of Montag. Attempts to change Montag’s mind about books and there purpose. Arrests Guy and makes him burn his hidden books. Killed by Montag.

Faber-Old English Professor that is shy and is afraid of the world. Helps Montag read some books and develops a plan with Montag to overthrow the ordinariness. Helps Montag escape from the mechanical hound and leaves for St. Louise where a retired printer is going to help them with their plan.
Granger- Leader of the secret nationwide Intellectuals that are trying to save books by memorization. Welcomes Montag into their civilization. He is confident, positive, and committed to preserving books.


Symbolism

At the end of the book Granger refers to the phoenix after the city gets bombed. He says, “like the phoenix, after it dies it rises from the ashes.” The phoenix symbolized societies mistakes and the death and rebirth of great things, ideas, and people. Along with the phoenix symbolizing the death and rebirth of the intellectual society, it also symbolizes Guy montag and the choice he made giving him a new happiness in his own life.



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