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Summary of Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451


Set in the 24th century, Fahrenheit 451 informs the story of the lead character, Man Montag. In the beginning, Montag gets a kick out of his profession as a firefighter, burning unlawfully owned books and the homes of their owners. However, Montag soon begins to question the value of his profession and, in turn, his life. Throughout the unique Montag has problem with his presence, ultimately leaving his overbearing, censored society and joining an underground network of intellectuals. With his newly found pals, Montag witnesses the atomic destruction if his previous city and devotes himself to reconstructing a literate and cultural society.

At the beginning of the unique, Montag develops a friendship with his 17 year old next-door neighbor, Clarisse McClellan, whose humanistic outlook and inquisitive nature timely Montag to analyze his life. Quickly, he recognizes he is unhappy and no longer likes his partner, Millie. On the other hand, Millie hesitates to handle truth and rather chooses to immerse herself in interactive television, seashell radio, and an addiction to tranquilizers. Unsatisfied by his profession and discontent with a society unconcerned with reports of an upcoming atomic war, Montag starts to question the methods of the world. Specifically, Montag marvels why books are perceived to be so hazardous and why some individuals are so devoted to them. What power lies in books?

Driven by his increasing anxiety, Montag steals a book from a collection he is sent to burn. At the scene of the burning, Montag is shaken when the owner of the books, an older female, declines to leave her home. Rather, the lady sets fire to her kerosene soaked house and stays there as it, and she, are destroyed by flames. The female’s devotion to her books makes Montag understand that perhaps the happiness he does not have can be discovered in books. After the burning, Montag returns house, feeling ill as he relives the woman’s horrific death. He begins to understand that although, over the previous ten years, he thought he was serving society as a fireman, he was in fact simply an instrument of damage. That night, in a discussion with Millie, Montag learns that his good friend Clarisse was eliminated by a speeding cars and truck more than a week earlier. Upon hearing this news, Montag feels much more ill. He drops off to sleep that night with his taken book hidden below his pillow.

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