Fahrenheit 451
The Meetings between
Montag and Clarisse
The novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is about a futuristic society that has
banned books. Firemen that start fires are used to burn the books when they are found.
One fireman, Guy Montag, remembers a time before book burning and tries to right this
horrible metropolis of zombies. An important part of the novel Fahrenheit 451 is the
meetings between Montag and Clarisse.
The meetings between Montag and Clarisse begins a series of events and changes
in Montag\'s way of thinking and lifestyle. Clarisse remarks " Are you happy? " (10).
Montag begins to realize that he is not happy after Clarisse asks the question and arrives
in his home. Montag observes " Darkness. He was not happy. He was not happy. He
said the words to himself. He recognized this as the true state of affairs " (12). Montag\'s
awareness is triggered at the point in which Clarisse states " But you\'re just a man, after
all " (7). This statement by Clarisse makes Montag think of a time when he was a child
during power failure, and he wishes it not to end.
In Montag\'s second meeting with Clarisse, the two of them find a dandelion and
Clarisse tells Montag of rubbing it under his chin. Clarisse explains " If it rubs off, it
means I\'m in love "(22). Clarisse rubs the dandelion under Montag\'s chin and Clarisse
remarks "What a shame, you\'re not in love with anyone " (22). Montag thinks that he is
in love, but realizes that he is not in love and not at all happy.
In the third meeting, Montag begins to feel that he has known Clarisse forever.
Montag states " You make me feel very old and very much like a father " (28). Clarisse
remarks " Now you explain why you haven\'t any daughters like me, if you love children
so much? " (28). Montag realizes that it is a long time since anyone has cared enough to
ask a good question rather than sit around and worry about themselves. Montag answers
" My wife, she . . . she just never wanted any children at all " (28). Eventually Montag
realizes that he must make an effort to stop the chaos of his society by bringing books
back to life and destroying the current firemen.
The meetings between Montag and Clarisse trigger an awareness and change in
Montag\'s life. Montag realizes that his life and the lives of all the other citizens are not
as great as they are worked up to be and that he is not happy at all. In the end Montag
decides that he must change the way society is run once and for all. All of this is a result
of the meetings between Montag and Clarisse.
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