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Character Development of Guy Montag

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Sai Javangula

on 18 September 2014

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Transcript of Character Development of Guy Montag

Montag is a very rigid and unimaginative man at the start of the novel, a mindless servant that did what he was told. But as the story progresses, he gradually becomes inquisitive of the world around him.
The development of the character Montag is central to the plot of Fahrenheit 451 as without this character there would be no story. The character arc of Montag throughout the novel influences the people he meets and the events of the story. Character development is the status of the character as it unfolds throughout a narrative. This is important to the understanding of Fahrenheit 451 because it helps the reader learn more about Montag and be able to relate to him and invest in the story more. Throughout the novel, Montag is the only character that develops from the beginning to the end. All of the other characters are static, meaning the story begins and ends without them changing their state of mind. The story begins with Montag, a fireman who didn't give any thought to his job, or his marriage. His transformation begins when he meets Clarisse, an open minded, free thinking girl. She forces Montag to question the world around him, including such topics as book burning and his happiness. He begins to do things differently, including reading books that he had taken from fires. He realized that, once he sees an old woman stay in a burning house for her books, that there must be something special in books. He decided he needs a teacher. He meets Faber, an old English professor, and his life takes a drastic change. His thirst for knowledge increases, and by the end, he is transformed.
Character Development
of Montag
Engagement Activity
The gradual development of Guy Montag throughout the story is what decides the events and the outcome of the story as a whole. Without the different factors of Captain Beatty, Clarisse, and Faber affecting him throughout the story, Montag might have never changed his ways and mind and would have remained a bland, emotionless character who was drawn into the same things that the rest of his society enjoyed. The inclusion of these factors, namely Faber and Clarisse, changed the way he thought and ultimately changed himself as a human by abandoning the life he led before to seek knowledge elsewhere. His character arc was the story in a sense, and is what helped the story progress forward.
5 Passages: Analyzed
Sai Javangula &
Srujay Korlakunta

The Life and Times of Guy Montag
"You laugh when I haven't been funny and you answer right off. You never stop to think what I've asked you."
This is a key moment in Montag's life because it is the first time that anyone has challenged him to think about anything. Previous to his encounter with Clarisse, he went about, doing his duties as he was told and never questioning anything. In this scene, Clarisse tells him that she had been told that fireman used to put out fires, rather than causing them to burn books. He laughs, and she challenges him to think about what she has asked him. She sparks this curiosity in him, which grows as the book progresses.
"There must be something in books, things we can't imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don't stay for nothing."
Montag had been called to burn down an old woman's house. He was watching it burn, but the woman wouldn't come out. The fact that the woman was so attached to her books that she would rather die than see her books burned. This calls him to the fact that there was something in these books that was important, that she wouldn't have died if it were otherwise. This is the start of his loathing of book burning, and it propelled him to seek out a teacher. This was what stimluated him to read books and learn from them.
"It was a special pleasure to see things eaten, to see things blackened and changed.”
In the beginning, Montag was a man who adored his job as a fireman, preferring to watch books burn to the ground that use them to collect knowledge. He enjoyed watching the house burn to the ground, fantasizing about roasting marshmallows in the flames. He is burning the old so that the new can flourish. He smelled the kerosene on him, and thought of it as a perfume. It was at this point that he ended his old ideology, for it is after this that he meets Clarisse, and his way of thinking changes forever.
"The sun burnt every day. It burnt Time. The world rushed in a circle and turned on its axis and time was busy burning the years and the people anyway, without any help from him. So if he burnt things with the firemen and the sun burnt Time, that meant that everything burnt!"
Firemen burned books. The sun burnt time. After escaping the many people searching for him, Montag began to think these thoughts, as he had learned to do from his many meetings with Clarisse. He came to the conclusion that if both of these things happened, then everything ended up burnt. He was determined that one of them had to change. And although the sun couldn't end the burning of Time, fireman could stop the burning of books.
When Montag confronts Captain Beatty with a flamethrower, the captain looks at him pleadingly, as if wanting to die. How does this act convince Montag of the dangers of contemporary society and cause him to abandon it?
Discussion Questions
Montag's colleagues are burning books. His wife is obsessed with Seashell radios and parlor walls, just like everyone else in their society. He needs to find someone to talk to, and to help him understand what he reads. He wants to find someone to communicate with about what he is reading and thinking. This is a mark of a big change in Montag-- he never needed nor wanted to think before. His thirst for knowledge is growing, and he needs a good teacher now.
"Nobody listens any more. I can't talk to the walls because they're yelling at me. I can't talk to my wife; she listens to the walls. I just want someone to hear what I have to say. And maybe if I talk long enough, it'll make sense. And I want you to teach me to understand what I read."
How do the roles of the static characters in the books (Mildred, Faber, and Beatty) affect Montag's way of thinking?Can you think of any static characters in other literature that have the same effect?

In Fahrenheit 451, the character of Clarisse plays a major role in opening Montag's mind and developing his character. Can you think of other supporting characters in various forms of media that have played a similar role?

In Fahrenheit 451, the city in which Montag lives in acts like a gated community in that it keeps the inhabitants of the city oblivious to the outside world. How does living in the city affect Montag's life and his development as a character? Does this city relate to any other structures in other literary works?
The "family" is a television program that many of the city's inhabitants watch. How does this program influence the lives' of the people who watch it, including Montag's own life? How does this program relate to some aspects of society today?

In Fahrenheit 451, Montag is married to Mildred, yet they rarely act like a family that would be considered normal today. How does the role of family in Montag's life differ than the role of family in our lives?
"When Being an Outcast Can Be a Positive Thing." Adi Gaskell on Social Business When Being an Outcast Can Be a Positive Thing Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
"11 Book Burning Stories That Will Break Your Heart." Mental Floss. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.

"True Power of Our Sun." GoSun Stove. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
"Remind a Friend Clip Art Images." Remind A Friend Clip Art Images. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
"Ladies! Your Mother and Your Husband Are in a Burning House and You Are in a Position to Rescue One Person, Who Will You Rescue?" Iretibuzz. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Sept. 2014.
In this activity, you will be making a timeline of events that Guy Montag took part in.

1. Take your slip of paper, and stand, in the correct order, so that it shows the progression of Guy Montag throughout the book.

2. Think about whether your event changed Montag's ideology in some way.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. Print.
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