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Transformation Of Guy Montag In Fahrenheit 451

1713 words - 7 pages

“If they give you ruled paper, write the other way”- Juan Ramon Jimenez

Ray Bradbury intentionally used Jimenez’s famous saying as the epigram for his critically acclaimed novel, Fahrenheit 451. He foreshadows the radical character change that occurs within Guy Montag as he challenges authority. Montag lives in a dystopian society, which has been taken over by government censorship, overpopulation, and control of the masses by the media. Montag is a fireman, but instead of being seen as someone who extinguishes fires, they’re used as a flamethrower that sets a flame to books instead. Books are considered evil because they make people think freely and question their surroundings. Fahrenheit’s central themes revolve around religion and conformity but mainly censorship. Montag goes about his life like any other citizen in society at the start of the book. But within a short week, he converts into a man who becomes curious of books and thinking independently making him a menace to society. The story is introduced in a short section of Montag’s life where one day he is walking home from work. On the way home, he meets Clarisse McClellan who represents the antithesis of anyone he has ever met. Clarisse is able to converse with him about things he has never considered before and this sparks Montag’s fuse for change. But most notably, two figures coincide with one another and force Montag’s thinking to change even more dramatically then his meetings with Clarisse. Captain Beatty, his boss at the firehouse also influences his transformation. He recognizes Montag’s sudden unhappiness and is suspicious of his sudden change. Beatty twists Montag’s mind, since he is a well-read man himself, but uses it to his advantage to try to convince Montag to conform. Another influence figure that coincides with Captain Beatty’s intention to force Montag to conform, is Professor Faber who preaches to Montag the importance of literature and free thinking. The two coexist with one trying to restore order and the other attempting to fight the power. But both essentially teach Montag many different things regarding literature and being an intellectual which play a huge role into Montag’s transformation taking its next step. Montag’s sudden metamorphose is a product of the following character’s influences and actions, forcing him to rebel against society and realize the crooked nature of his surroundings.

In the beginning, “It was a pleasure to burn” for Montag. He and the other fireman would burn books to show conformity. Without books and ideas, nobody is permitted to think freely and thus everyone should be happy according to the new rules of their society. Yet, when books and new ideas are presented to people, conflict and unhappiness occur which is why the government has banned them. At first, Montag believes that he is happy just like any other citizen. However, the reader quickly notices that Montag is not truly satisfied with his life after he meets his new...

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